It starts, ends with Ray

FACEOFF

Who Is The Most Valuable Raven At This Point In The Season?

November 25, 2008|By RICK MAESE

If you scan the NFL's statistical leaders, it's tough to find a Raven. Impossible, in fact. Not a single one to be found in the top 10 in passing, rushing, receiving, kicking, touchdowns, sacks, tackles or interceptions.

So if we're naming a team Most Valuable Player at this point in the season, we have to look beyond the statistics. And when you do, there's really no candidate better than Ray Lewis.

The Ravens wouldn't be where they are - sights set firmly on the playoffs less than a year after the abomination that was the 2007 season - if Lewis didn't embrace the arrival of coach John Harbaugh.

Lewis took whatever Harbaugh was selling and parceled it out to the rest of the team. His energy has always been infectious, but this team would be in a much different position had Lewis shrugged off Harbaugh and formulated his own agenda.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that Lewis is playing for a new contract. At 33, his numbers are still very good and he is as drawn to the ball as ever.

He leads the Ravens in tackles and has as many interceptions as Ed Reed. Don't think he's not aware that he can drive up his market price, but his play has benefited the Ravens on the field.

His attitude has benefited them off it, which has made him more valuable to this year's team than any other player.

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