Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan couldn't wait for someone to ask him about stopping running back Jamal Lewis in Cleveland today.
"If we were playing Jim Brown right now, I promise you we would stop him. ... Now, Jim Brown is 65 years old right now," Ryan said. "But if we were playing Jim Brown right now, we would stop him. You can write that down."
Joking aside, the first meeting between the Ravens and their all-time leading rusher is the biggest matchup today when the Ravens face the Cleveland Browns.
In his first season with Cleveland, Lewis is the No. 3 rusher in the league, although 216 of his 307 yards came against the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago. He is averaging 5.8 yards a carry and has scored one touchdown.
The Ravens lead the NFL in run defense, holding teams to 61.7 yards rushing per game and 2.9 yards per carry. No starting running back has gained more than 67 yards on the Ravens this season.
"They're still a hard-nosed defense," Jamal Lewis said. "They're going to play hard, they're going to play fast. I think they're going to play me a little different than they play any other running back."
Leading up to this game, Jamal Lewis said he has nothing to prove to his former team. But Browns coach Romeo Crennel suggested that Lewis would want to have a "career-type game" against the Ravens, something that excited Lewis.
"If we can put it together, that would be great," Lewis said. "But I just know it's going to be a slugfest all day, and that's why I'm looking forward to it."
Lewis knows he will get the Ravens' best shot, especially after some of his comments got back to the Ravens' locker room.
He talked a few days ago about knowing what the Ravens defensive players "do best and what they don't do best."
"I guess he's going to expose them, then," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I guess he should go for another 200 yards, then. I mean, he knows the weaknesses, right? Jamal is one hell of a back, and [if] he said that our defense has weaknesses, then he's going to expose them. Then we'll see if we have any weaknesses."