Ray Lewis has been terrorizing defenses for a very long time in the NFL, and in the end will likely enjoy seeing his bust placed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. For this week, the Kansas City Chiefs are the team having to prep for his presence as the Baltimore Ravens visit Arrowhead Stadium.
Romeo Crennel is trying to turn the Chiefs' season around quickly before hopes for a playoff appearance in 2012 are lost, and defeating the Ravens will go a long way toward that endeavor. At 1-3, the team is already in a deep hole in the AFC West and the Ravens are quite possibly the best team the Chiefs will face -- along with the first game against the Falcons -- all season long.
As Crennel answered questions on Thursday's practice, he took some time to discuss Lewis' legacy and presence in the Baltimore defense.
Q: Does it surprise you that Ray Lewis is still a starter and contributor?
CRENNEL: "Not really shocking. Some of those exceptional athletes can play 15, 17 years and still play at a high level. Even though you lose a step, the thing that I think he's done, is he's been cognoscente of his body and what he needs to do with his body to allow him to play. He's dropped his weight and then he uses his knowledge of the game to put him in position to make plays. Plus, he's got some pretty good guys around him and up in front of him that kind of protect him a little bit."
Q: It does seem that he's become a student of the game.
CRENNEL: "That's what happens with veteran guys that have been around awhile. They know that they lose a step and they're not as fast as they used to be, so what they try to do, is they try to put themselves in the right position by studying tendencies and studying opponents. If you put yourself in the right position, you can still get the play made even though you may be a step slower."
Q: Did you watch him when he was in college and later wish you had him?
CRENNEL: "He's one of those football players, and that's the thing, you watch tape and you see he's a competitor and a football player who did a good job playing defense. There was some question about overall size initially, but he's come into this league and shown that size doesn't always matter. It's the heart, it's the brain and it's the intensity, play-in and play-out."