The loss of Ray Lewis to a torn triceps means a lot more to the Baltimore Ravens than just statistics measured in pure numbers. As is the norm, Lewis once again was the leading tackler on the team and fourth in the league among linebackers. However, while the statistics will be missed, it is his intangibles that he provides on the field that will be most noticeable through his absence.
Lewis will most certainly be a loud voice on the sidelines, speaking with his defensive teammates and instructing them on what to look for and how to react. That will definitely benefit the guys with whom he has played behind, next to and in front of this season. At the same time, it won't be the same and could have an obvious effect as the season progresses.
Although Lewis wore the defensive headset while on the field, receiving instructions from his coaches, it was his incredible attention to detail in reviewing game tape like virtually no other player in the league that makes the difference. His ability to recognize offensive schemes, formations and sets and come up with the expected play to be called allowed him to yell out instructions on the fly to his teammates, moving them around at the last moment and react at the snap to make a big stop at a key moment in the game that will be most sorely missed.
Inside linebacker Jameel McClain is reportedly the one who will be wearing the defensive headset in Lewis' absence now. While McClain has learned from the best, he is nowhere near the leader or able to recognize what Ray has been doing fro well over a decade and a half.In addition, the headset shuts off with 15 seconds left on the play clock, where most of the information is revealed and where the outcome of the chess match between the offense and defense plays out.
The loss of Lewis will be felt the most in these key unpredictable situations. Unpredictable to almost every fan and even the most intelligent players on the field, but not to Ray while he was on the field. Now, we will see how important he was to the offense and how quickly they are able to learn to see what he has already seen over and over agan.