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Crushzilla
06-13-2007, 01:36 PM
A writeup in Cleveland about their new dealer. I MEAN... running back.

Lewis savoring fresh approach
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tony Grossi
Plain Dealer Reporter

The first thing that strikes you about Jamal Lewis is his height.

This football giant who tormented the Browns for 500 yards rushing in two games in 2003 is a couple of inches shy of 6 feet tall.

But as Lewis approaches, two features captivate you. His arms are like overstuffed pythons dangling from his upper body. His calves are the size of melons.

"The [expletive] will run over you," Jim Brown said with a chuckle after the first practice at Browns minicamp on Tuesday. "Got good speed. Knocks people down. He's what you call a horse."

Indeed, Lewis was the workhorse of the Baltimore Ravens for six seasons. He rushed for 7,801 yards and 45 touchdowns, won an NFL rushing cham pionship and a Super Bowl ring.

Here, the question is whether he has enough gas in his tank to lead Baltimore's division rival out of the wilderness. No player on the Browns is being counted on more heavily in the coming season than Lewis. There is no Plan B if Lewis blows a tire over the long 2007 season.

"I don't wonder if he has the gas. I'm counting on it," new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said in an interview last month.

Lewis does not bristle at questions about his durability or speed. He is eager to prove the doubters wrong on the field.

"That doesn't fuel me," he said. "I know what I have to do. I know what I'm capable of. I'm still young [he'll be 28 on Aug. 26]. I still have a lot of energy.

"Over the years, you have backs like Warrick Dunn and Curtis Martin . . . a lot of guys over 30, 32, that had over 1,000-yard seasons. I think organizations, when they do have a back pushing 30, they kind of weigh them down and just shorten the carries. I have a lot in the tank. I'm still young and ready to roll."

Lewis rushed for 1,132 yards his last season in Baltimore, and it was considered a bad year. He played most of the year shot up on Novocain, he said, to dull the pain of bone spurs in an ankle.

"I didn't have full range of motion in my ankle, so if there was a cut I needed to make, I couldn't make it," he said. "There were a lot of things I couldn't do."

Lewis was always more than a power back. He had the cutback ability to make defenders miss in the open field and turn 10-yard gains into longer romps.

He believes that part of his game will return after off-season ankle surgery. He said he is more than 80 percent recovered and expects to be completely healed by the start of training camp next month.

"He still has that cutting ability to plant quickly and get through a hole," coach Romeo Crennel said. "He's going to be a strong runner, hard to tackle. He's kind of compact, well built and he has enough power to run through arm tackles. I think that he'll be interesting once we get the pads on."

Lewis' ankle cleanup is one source of optimism for his first season in Cleveland. Perhaps a larger one is a change of scenery from the purple haze of the Ravens.

"I needed a breath of fresh air, a new look, a fresh start," he said.

Lewis soured on the Ravens because he sensed they wanted to throw the ball more and cut down on his carries. He did not see a commitment to the running game reflected in any new investment in the offensive line.

"Those years in Baltimore we never made improvements in the offensive line," he said. "And to have a power running game like we had, I just didn't see how you didn't.

"When I came here and Phil Savage said he was making improvements in the offensive line, the actions spoke louder than words and that's when I said this is where I want to be. No, I wasn't surprised to see them draft Joe Thomas."

What has surprised Lewis was the amount of young talent he has seen on his new team.

"There's a lot," he said.

And he likes what he's seen of the offense being installed by Chudzinski.

"This offense is way more than what we did in Baltimore," Lewis said. "It's more motion, more pass plays that I'm involved in. It's more versatile -- run, pass, a lot of shifts, a lot of disguise.

"It's not predictable. Defenses are not going to know what we're coming with."

Except when the Browns elect to run. It's going to be Lewis, Lewis and more Lewis. That's the way he likes it. And without another proven runner on hand, that's all they've got.

http://www.cleveland.com/sports/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1181723785108010.xml&coll=2&thispage=1

Umm... this should scare the hell out of Brown fans...
"I don't wonder if he has the gas. I'm counting on it," new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said in an interview last month.
Except when the Browns elect to run. It's going to be Lewis, Lewis and more Lewis. That's the way he likes it. And without another proven runner on hand, that's all they've got.
It doesn't matter how much faith you have there, Robbio, you need someone when Jamal eventually blows an ACL. Jamal Lewis is a capable back. No doubt. He some studs in that line in Baltimore, though. He has a career YPC of 4.3 and everyone has seen what he's capable of when healthy. There is no denying, however, that when you put THIS much stock on one guy... Things are going to go bad.

Its all part of Cleveland's losing philosophy :thumbsup:

stlrtruck
06-13-2007, 02:35 PM
What has surprised Lewis was the amount of young talent he has seen on his new team. "There's a lot," he said.

Yes that may be so but they've had talent on that team before and it's gone no where. The problem with the talent pool for the clowns - is that it's in Cleveland!!

revefsreleets
06-14-2007, 04:27 PM
I have a couple problems with this. First, I'm pretty sure that Cleveland's OL, although improved, still isn't going to be that great, which means he'll have to work a lot harder for his yards this year. When the losing sets it, and, let's be honest, it's Cleveland, and the losing will set in, this guy is going to be a problem in the locker room.