For years it seems like the Baltimore Ravens have won games by having one of the most tenacious defenses in the NFL and doing enough on offense to get by. It appears that 2012 has brought about a whole new Ravens attack.
Sure, the defense — led by veteran standout Ray Lewis — is still stingy. The Ravens have held three of four opponents to 24 points or fewer. But quarterback Joe Flacco has the offense clicking and the team has averaged nearly 33 points per game in its three victories.
Ray Lewis joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Craig to discuss how he’s played so well for so long, how nice it is to have the regular officials back, talking to the team after the season ended last year and the balance between offense and defense.
How do you explain how you’re still so good at this point?:
“I think you explain it with I’ve always had a little favor in my life. God is truly amazing. But I just love the game and I love the game to a certain extent that I make sure my body will always be at a place that when I come back, it’s always a new year. I always challenge myself, mentally and physically, to always go to another level. Never treat last year like this year. This year, I just wanted to come back and have fun again. For me to be around 17 years, trust me I’ve had a little luck going on there, too.”
Now that it’s all over, how bad were the replacement officials?:
“I just think if you’ve played the game for so long, and you guys have watched it from afar, I just think you go from two different worlds. You go from having veterans at the referee position and then you go from having a lot of inexperience there. Any time you have that inexperience with a game that’s so fast, you’re going to struggle. … Some of the calls, they still haunt certain teams. There’s a call that haunts us in Philly. … Now that the regular refs are back, I think that it’s an awesome thing.”
On the story of him going into the locker room after losing the playoffs last year and telling people not to say anything to kicker Billy Cundiff:
“Life didn’t stop. That’s what I think playing this game, as players, that we have to understand, that there is life outside of football. There’s real pain that goes on in our world and there are real people who have real-life problems. For us to be able to play that game … sometimes you have to show a bigger side of who you are. Wins and losses in this game are going to come … but you can’t drop your head as a man.”
On the emergence of quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense:
“It’s definitely not a bad thing. But when you look at every team and you assess every team, the No. 1 thing you look at when you see the ones that go all the way, they’re a complete team. There’s not one side that outweighs the other. That’s what we are trying to build in Baltimore, is that how can we balance a team together — offensively, defensively and special teams. … That’s the whole puzzle that everybody’s trying to put together, no matter what city you’re in. So, is it all on Joe? I would never put it all on one man. I think Joe understands what our offense needs to do to get it done.”
Is it a relief, though, to know that the offense can go out and put up points and you’re not always under pressure to hold teams to a low point total?:
“With the game going the way it’s going, you’re definitely going to need that, so I think every team looks for that same balance, but you guys are absolutely correct.”