It's a question I've heard so many times since Ray Lewis retired. And it's one I just don't understand.
"Who's going to replace Ray Lewis?" That's what so many people have asked so many times. Over and over. All spring and summer.
Well, I have the answer.
He was such a unique player and force, on and off the field, that you can't just "replace" him with the player who's now in his spot. It's not possible. That is not a realistic expectation.
The Ravens know this. Any team would know this. You can't expect Daryl Smith -- or anyone else -- to be Ray Lewis.
Every player in the NFL brings something new to the table. Smith is a solid veteran linebacker who will do good things for the Ravens. They've also got a bunch of other good linebackers who can help the defense. They'll do good things for the Ravens.
For those of you old enough, remember what happened when Doug DeCinces replaced Brooks Robinson at third base for the Orioles -- the pressure he took? Every time DeCinces didn't make a play, people would scream that "Brooks would have made that." Yes, they were right. But was it fair to make the comparison? No, and that's probably what helped the Orioles decide to trade him after about four years, and why DeCinces fared so much better with the Angels.
The expectations were totally unrealistic. It's the same situation here, things I heard people saying and read people writing after the Denver disaster the other night.
Hall of Famers aren't that easy to replace, and to expect someone to walk in and be Ray Lewis isn't right or fair. No one's going to come in and play like Ray Lewis or lead like him. But they'll do the best they can.