THE J-TRAIN RUNS OUT OF STEAM

Lombardi's Way THE J-TRAIN RUNS OUT OF STEAM

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In 2003 Jamal Lewis, powered by a very effective zone blocking offensive line was for all intents and purposes the Ravens’ offense.  Kyle Boller was in over his head as a rookie starter and Anthony Wright really wasn’t much better.
 
Lewis flat out carried the offense.
 
The J-Train rambled through 2003 like a high powered locomotive but when January 2004 rolled around, the Titans had an answer for Lewis in the Wild Card Playoff Game.  For a couple of seasons, the Titans and their defensive coordinator Jimmy Schwartz designed the blue print to control Engine 31.
 
Defenses dared the Ravens to throw the ball and committed eight defenders to Lewis.  The pounding took its toll and Lewis’ career took a nose dive.
 
This week the J-Train traveled the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to Cleveland, a destination where former Ravens seemingly go to die. 
 
But this former Raven hasn’t gone quietly.
 
Lewis is still talking about how he needs 25-30 carries per game to play his best and wear down opposing defenses in the fourth quarter the way he once did.  Yet Lewis averaged only 2.9 yards per carry between his 21st and 30th attempts in ‘06.  Overall in the fourth quarter he averaged 3.1 yards per carry and that number fell to 2.6 yards per carry when the game’s outcome was within 7 points. 
 
He criticized the Ravens commitment to the run yet on third down Lewis averaged only 1.9 yards per carry.
 
It’s a little tough to commit to the run with those number there Jamal.  Perhaps Lewis hasn’t heard of the ill-conceived concept of beating a dead horse.  At times he ran like one.
 
In 2004, Lewis injured his ankle.  He was incarcerated after that season and could not rehabilitate the injury properly so his 2005 season suffered as a result.
 
In 2006 he proclaimed himself fit and ready to go.  Then after another sub par season suddenly ankle bone spurs were to blame.
 
Oh and there’s more.
 
Besides the Ravens’ alleged unwillingness to stay with the run, now we learn that Lewis viewed his blocking in Baltimore as less than desirable. 
 
 â€˜â€˜The first question I asked [upon arriving in Cleveland] was how is the offensive line?’’ Lewis said during a conference call Thursday from his home in Georgia. ‘‘They made a good addition [in guard Eric Steinbach], and they’re looking to make more moves. It looks like they’re committed to running the football.

‘‘That’s what I was looking for the last three or four years in Baltimore, but no moves were made there. That was one of my main concerns [about the Ravens]. Talking to Phil Savage and the offensive coaches, it looks like they’re making the moves to put things together.’’

 
Is this guy kidding?
 
Oh and there’s still more…
 
When asked about his speed from inquisitive reporters wondering if he had indeed lost a step, Lewis served up this gem.
 
‘‘Right now because of scar tissue my 40 wouldn’t be the best. If I had to run a 40 for you, I’d be in the high 4.3s or low 4.4s, if that’s what it’s about.”
 
High 4.3’s?
 
Yeah, right…maybe while driving his Lamborghini.
 
This man is either in serious denial or dangerously delirious.
 
Excuses after excuses pour in from Lewis.  He refuses to be held accountable and to make matters worse, he throws his former offensive line and organization under the bus – make that under the train.  This is the same organization and collection of teammates who stood by his side when he was in the substance abuse program and when he was slapped with very serious drug trafficking charges.
 
This is the same organization that has paid him $40 million during his career.
 
How soon they forget.
 
Thanks for the memories Jamal, however tainted they may appear for the moment.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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