At age 37, Ray Lewis' productivity is showing signs of major decline.
Lewis, according to what many former players and current analysts have told the Baltimore Sun, is no longer winning the battle at the point of attack as often and his play has suffered because of it.
“He's outmanned at the point of attack,” said retired Ravens offensive lineman Wally Williams, Lewis' former teammate. “He's not as physical. You see a lot of Ray on the ground, on his back. He gets overpowered and stuck to blocks.
“You can't expect a guy to not lose a couple of steps with all the wear and tear on his body. You're not accustomed to seeing Ray have so many problems. It's glaring, it looks really bad.”
Last Sunday, the interior of the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line pushed Lewis around and engaged him far more than in the past. Some of that is natural, as Lewis enters the twilight of his career, that he would not be the same type of dominant player he was 10 or 15 years ago. Still, former Bucs and Colts coach and current NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy said Lewis still can contribute quite a bit.
“People are getting up on Ray and blocking him. He's not the same player he was 10 years ago. When I was coaching, I told the guys, 'If we don't block Ray Lewis, he will make every tackle.'
“He had big guys in front of him and he didn't have to take on a lot of blocks. That's not his strength. It's tougher now for him. It's a young man's game. It's hard for me to believe it was 2003 and I was coaching him in the Pro Bowl. Is he the same player now as he was at 27? No, but he still brings a lot to the table. I would be surprised if they don't get this run defense squared away.”
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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com