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  1. #1
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    Question When it's all said and done...



    How will you regard Ray Lewis among the other great linebackers in NFL history?

    Is he #1?

    Is he even in the top 3?

    Discuss.




  2. #2

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    Great question...I personally owe Ray a retraction of a lot of unspoken suspicion I harbored about both his performance and attitude. I don't think either was stellar last year but the bottom line is that he's human. He's playing like a man on a mission.

    I love to see him prove folks wrong who say he's lost a step. "Lost a step"...what does that mean with regards to Ray anyway. The fact is he starts his first step earlier than most defenders because his relentless game study has put him in a position to diagnose plays earlier than his contemporary peers.

    There will always be flash in the pan players who tease with there natural talent. Remember folks saying that Randy Moss would be the next Jerry Rice. Please...hopefully that nonsense has stopped.

    Glad to see folks succeed based on hard work and love/respect for the game.

    I want to see Ray continue his renewed vigor when we hit a bump in the road or if we have to rely on our back up QB for a few game stretch.

    To your question....he's the best LB I've watched as an adult. For so many reasons...perhaps the best one is that he's a coach on the field.




  3. #3

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    If we can go deep in the playoffs this year and he makes big plays like he did on the 2000 playoff run, then there is a good chance that he'll be remembered in that way




  4. #4

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    Very tough question. I would have to say top 3, behind Butkus and Taylor. The generally regarded top 3 might be some combination of Singletary, Lambert, Butkus, Taylor, and Lewis. I've seen them all play, many in person -- they were all outstanding players. Junior Seau be arguably be somewhere on that list and Ehrlacher could develop into a all time great as well.

    In my likely biased opinion, Ray should have been #1 had he retired a few years ago. Because Ray arguably has made a bigger impact on the 10 other guys than any any other LB. There is an electricity on the Ravens Defense that is apparent when Ray is in the game. Of course, the flip side was Ray's moping in 2004/2005 and his impact on clubhouse chemistry, which has to be taken into consideration when assessing an entire career.

    This would be an interesting question to for the 2006 post season. Ray looks rejuvenated, and all that "lost a step" bullshit talk has ceased.





  5. #5
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    Re: When it's all said and done...

    I agree with some of you. If Ray gets his groove back, this could be the year that makes or breaks him as the greatest linebacker ever.

    I remember Joe Montana in the late 80s with the 49ers. He had already been in the league 10 years or so and had won 2 Super Bowls, but he had run into some problems. For one, he seemed fragile after the hit by Jim Burt. Couple that with a devastating loss to the Vikings in the first round of the playoffs in '87 and it seemed like his best days were behind him. But then he took a 10 win 49ers team to a Super Bowl title in '88 and in '89, he was masterful on a level no quarterback I've ever seen has ever achieved in the playoffs. He ran up 55 points in the Super Bowl with a solid 10:00 remaining in the 4th quarter and suddenly, he had taken that extra step that made him the definitive best ever in many people's eyes.

    I hope Ray is able to take that same step sometime soon. He's had his bumps in the road, but if he can get back to the rampage-style linebacking he was once known for, and it gets highlighted by another Super Bowl title, he'll make that leap ahead of all the other LBs that came before him. Maybe even a leap so large that there would be very few detractors.




  6. #6
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    Re: When it's all said and done...

    I would put Ray first among MLBs, with Singletary second and Butkus third. It's really, really hard to measure players across different eras, and those three players were each dominant in the era in which they played. I think if Ray (or Singletary) had played in the era of Butkus, they would have been superior to him... but that's not a great criteria to use.

    However, when rating LBs as a whole, I'd put Lawrence Taylor in the top spot. He was a rare specimen who actually changed the way a position was played, like Kellen Winslow did for tight ends. And no one has quite measured up to him since.




  7. #7

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    I considered Ray Lewis the #1 linebacker I've seen when he won a second Defensive MVP Award after the first time critics and fans thought he'd "lost a step".

    When Ray Lewis went down after a few spectacular games in 2002, he was well on his way, IMHO, to completely rewriting the book for the linebacker position.

    I think his subsequent performances have taken on greater significance in my eyes because he was not only able to return from injury time after time with renewed intensity on teams that were "offensively challenged" to say the least, but he was still able to be an impact playmaker that teams always account for when gameplanning.

    Also I think when it comes down to it, I consider Ray Lewis #1 because he combines the most complete and finely-tuned set of skills I have ever seen at linebacker. His Speed, Strength, Athletic Ability and Mental Acumen are all top notch. But what truly sets him apart from others in the linebacking fraternity is unparalleled ferocity, supernatural instincts, and unrivaled passion, leadership and work ethic.

    Definitely the easy choice for Greatest Raven Ever, much less linebacker.

    UNLEASH THE BEASTS!!!!




  8. #8

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    Great point about 2002. What he was accomplishing after the team was gutted was truly amazing. I think he was clearly headed for the defensive MVP that year. I think if he had 3, it would be hard to argue against him.




  9. #9
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    Re: When it's all said and done...

    Ray has picked up his game this year on the field. Don't know about the leadership component. What I hope as he tries to reassert his leadership on the team is that he doesn't try to make this be all about him. Its one thing when he wasn't the seasoned veteran in 2000 to be that self-oriented, its another when you are the senior leader. For example, not sure that ripping the ball from Kelly Gregg's hands is a sign of teamwork

    Ozzie said it well -- "Its just not Ray's defense anymore. Its the Baltimore Ravens' defense and everybody is participating."

    I honestly think that the raw talent on this year's defense is a step above the 2000 team and that this could all click.

    Secondary -- is probably a tie with the 2000 version, right now and with the emergence of the rookies could be significantly better over time
    Linebackers -- probably a tie
    Defensive line -- now behind the 2000 version, but this could change over time.

    Here's hoping for no touchdowns scored by the Browns this week!




  10. #10
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    Re: When it's all said and done...

    Top Ten somewhere. One of the few benefits of getting old is being able to see a lot of the great ones play when they were at their prime.

    Butkus is number one, not even close. Backs would literally fall down rather than have Butkus hit them. He was feared like no linebacker after him, and maybe no linebacker before him. (I'm not THAT old, so I don't know)

    The one thing that will always hold Ray and LT back in these imaginary "greatest ever" ponderings is character. Fair or not, that issue drags them down.
    ENFORCE THE 1ST AMENDMENT WITH THE SECOND, NEVER DISARM




  11. #11

    Re: When it's all said and done...

    I disagree. What happens between the lines is all that matters when judging an athlete, otherwise Lawrence Taylor (crackhead) and even Johnny Unitas (cheated on his wife numerous times) wouldn't be mentioned in "greatest ever" debates...

    This ain't Sunday School, it's grown men playing a grown man's game... Chris Redman had "character" to spare... That ain't gonna get him to the Hall of Fame, unfortunately...LOL

    UNLEASH THE BEASTS!!!!




  12. #12
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    Re: When it's all said and done...

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and many would agree with you - up to a point. (When it comes to things like sharing a foxhole or picking out a babysitter and the equation changes really fast.)

    In the minds of many, the phrases 'Knife murderer' and 'drug addict' leap out. When it does, I suspect many people mentally change their vote when asked to nominate anything to do with "great".

    To some of us, character DOES matter. Fortunately, Eric de Costa seems to be one who agrees and you are starting to see the results in the makeup of the players who we sign lately.
    ENFORCE THE 1ST AMENDMENT WITH THE SECOND, NEVER DISARM




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