Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Oct 2005

McCrary on J. Lewis: Contract is the Issue

So what's worse: being less productive this season because of rust, past wear-and-tear, and indecisiveness, or being less productive because you don't have a new contract and to avoid injury you're mailing it in? I'll go with the latter. To be fair, it wasn't Jamal Lewis who said this, but former Raven, Mike McCrary, doing his best Curt Schilling impression. I don't know how Baltimore can give Lewis a new deal when they have a better, cheaper alternative in Chester Taylor. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 25 Oct 2005

18 comments, Last at 26 Oct 2005, 8:23am by lafcadio

Comments

1
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 11:07am

what's strange is that McCrary thinks he's defending Lewis with his comments

instead, he's actually saying one of the nastiest things one could say about a player

2
by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 11:15am

What if the rust comes from spending x number of months in jail?

3
by lafcadio (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:22pm

I think McCrary wanted the fans foccuse their anger against the team management instead of Jamal Lewis. It's hard to blame an organization not to reward the kind of behaviour the ravens had and have (murder for Ray Lewis, drug for Jamal Lewis off the field, at Detroit on the field, QB problem off the season).

Contract years are said critical for players, it is the year they put up huge numbers in order to earn a fat contract and no guarantee money makes them play harder. McCrary is saying the exact opposite.

PS : I think a lot of attention is paid about the Vikes and some true misbehaviour off the field (as beating his wife, fighting in bar, be involved in a murder and some other little things) are quite easily forgotten. After all, they paid strippers to have fun. Had they make it in a mansion instead of on a boat and everybody would have been happy !

I think misbehaviour on the field must be bannished too (no fight, no trash talking, no obscene gesture to the crowd...)

I dream of the NFLG (national football league of gentlemen) where fair-play would rule !

4
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:24pm

#3

Sadly, it's more like the NFL OG's...

5
by Fiver (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:32pm

(Where have the carriage return breaks gone? All I can do is post one giant paragraph...)

There's simply no scenario where "dogging it" becomes a viable option for a football player in his contract year. If Jamal Lewis ends the season under 1000 yards, what NFL owner is going to throw big money at a guy with two ACL recontructions, a serious ankle injury, and whose last two seasons suggest he's finished? As much as Al Davis might be intrigued by Jamal's felony conviction, even Al has a scouting department that is going to see Jamal do a Gregory Hines impression every time he gets a hand-off, and they're gonna say the guy is no longer running hard or running decisively.

I don't see a scenario where Jamal would get a better offer than what he would get from performing well for the Ravens. He's got every reason to try to recover his old form for the team that has built an offense around his style and stuck with him through thick and thin.

The Jamal Lewis of 2005 isn't worth more than the veteran minimum (plus some escalators) from a team that wants to take a chance on him rediscovering his prior level of play. If he went out on the open market today, I don't think he would like what he found.

6
by Fiver (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:33pm

(Nevermind on the breaks issue. Apparently they don't appear in preview but they do on the board.)

7
by lafcadio (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:35pm

#4

National Football League of Offensing Guys ?

8
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:49pm

#7

From www.urbandictionary.com

"Original Gangsta; the real-life definition of a street-level mentality; no remorse or concessions for a person's (or group's )behavior associated with violence, sex and crime. A way of life, of sorts, that doesn't provide explanations or apologies because this is the "reality" of aforementioned subjects. The rapper Ice-T coined this term globally with one of the defining albums of gangsta rap, O.G. Original Gangsta. O.G. can also apply to a first generation item or family name, i.e. George H.W. Bush = "O.G. Bush""

IS this vaguely familiar in an NFL context?

PS. If you knew this, then I walked right into it...

9
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 2:06pm

#5, you nailed it. If Lewis is dogging it, he's only hurting his own free agent value. He has multiple factors working against him:
1. Age
2. Two knee surgeries
3. Time in jail for a felony
4. The facts that teams around the NFL have been de-valuing RBs. See, e.g., Westbrook in Philadelphia or Edge in Indy.

10
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 4:13pm

Does anybody have an explanation why Chester Taylor has not moved closer to that #1 RB role yet?

11
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 4:18pm

DPAR:
Lewis -7.4
Taylor 4.3

DVOA:
Lewis -32.8
Taylor 22.2

Yds/Carry:
Lewis 3.04
Taylor 5.77

12
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 4:29pm

Maybe it's his pass-blocking? See Ravens article in PFP 2005.

13
by J. Lewis (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 4:34pm

Come on, guys! Quit hatin' on me. Bling bling, playa!

14
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 5:01pm

Reason #5: 413 touches in 2003.

I suppose you could take a chance that he isn't suffering from Wilder Syndrome, but it's an expensive chance to take.

I guess poor pass blocking might generally be a reason not to play a superior runner, but do the Ravens need that much from their passing game?

15
by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 5:25pm

10: The same reason Culpepper hasn't been benched in Minnesota (yet). He's been good for the team for so many years, they still think this is a fluke.

It really is important, when looking at Chester, to realize that he is defended against completely differently than Lewis. Lewis is getting 8 guys in the box, with blitzes up the middle that aren't being picked up. Taylor isn't. Jamal is averaging 3.9 YPC this year when there only four down defensive lineman (ESPN Stats).

I still believe the main reason Jamal has struggled so much this year is that the entire Ravens O-line got old, quick. Ogden has been just good, and everyone else has been terrible. He also lost his excellent blocking back, Ricard. FOs O-line stats back me up here. The O-line run ranking has gone from 11th to 30th, and the stuff percentage has gone from 22% (10th in the league), to 32% (29th in the league). It's a little bit too simple to blame it all on Jamal, although he isn't playing as well as he used to. Everyone he depends on to block for him has just sucked.

When Chester carries the ball, it's more in passing situations, with less men in the box. He's obviously played better than Jamal, but most of his carries come in situations where it's easier to run. It just seems too rash to bench the player who's carried the offense the last five years because of his backups good 37 carries.

16
by Ryan Carney (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 10:26pm

The main reason for the lack of interest in the position of running back is that there are so many good guys in the league right now that can get it done cheap. There is an emergence of backups like Lamont Jordan who teams like in the free agent market because they are 26, but have bodies like 23, this may have started with Priest coming to KC from Baltimore. Its not that Jamal is old (27, although he's not young), its just that there are hungry backups and 12 guys in Denver that can be quality backs in this league. To give a list of teams with two viable backs as is...Pittsburgh, Tampa, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Carolina (despite injuries), and there are others like Tennessee who have a back that starts and a back that has started before. It seemslike allof a sudden these guys are a dime a dozen, so guys like Jamal can't afford to dog it, nor will he if he ever wants to see the starting lineup of my fantasy team again.

17
by lafcadio (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 4:38am

Thanks.
I learned something today. As I'm in my daily English course, what does "barking" mean ? Is it like shooting ? Or maybe it is the word used for dogs.

Thanks.

18
by lafcadio (not verified) :: Wed, 10/26/2005 - 8:23am