BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens introduced their newest player Kendrick Lewis to the local media today. Lewis was a starter for the Houston Texans last year. He is expected to be a solid addition to the Ravens secondary. The team is still trying to bring former first round draft pick Matt Elam along and 2014 third round selection Terrence Brooks is recovering from an injury late in the season.
Defensive Backs coach Chris Hewitt was very upbeat and positive when he introduced Lewis. “He’s a guy that we were looking for in free agency. I think he’s a guy that’s going to come here and solidify our defense, especially on the back end. This was a dear addition that we needed for our team, as far as leadership, especially on the back end, and we’re very proud and happy to have Kendrick be a part of our team.”
Lewis talked about how his will bring leadership and play-making ability to the Ravens. “I see my ball skills as my strength. I see my knowledge, my preparation week-in and week-out, day-in and day-out – on the opponents I’m going to face as a strength.” Lewis continued; “I like to have the edge. I like to be a step ahead, so I take my film study and my notes very serious.” The fifth year safety has nine career interceptions and five forced fumbles in 69 games. His ability to create turnovers is something that is badly needed in the Ravens secondary.
He couldn’t say whether or not the Ravens view him as a free safety but Lewis did say that he was comfortable playing center-field. He also said that he likes coming down in the box and making plays like he did last year when he led the Texans in tackles. Lewis said that he is fully recovered from his previous shoulder injury and will look to “put the hat down” on ball carriers.
The decision to join the Ravens was one that Lewis consulted with former Raven Michael Oher about. Lewis and Oher played together during their college days at the University of Mississippi. Oher had great things to say about the Ravens and the city of Baltimore. That helped make Lewis comfortable with making the decision to join the Ravens.
Both the defensive mindset and the tremendous pass rush stood out to Lewis as he fielded offers from other teams. Lewis hinted that this could be a place where he could be for more than one year unlike his tenure in Houston. “Talking with my family, talking with my friends, everybody felt like this decision fits me more. I’ve been in Kansas City; I’ve been in Houston. With my nature and the type of person I am and how Michael Oher described this place to me, I feel like it’s the best decision I’ve made. I prayed upon it, and God brought me here, so this is where I’m at.”
One of the initial tasks that Lewis will be charged with is working with fellow safety Matt Elam. Will Hill took on the mentor role for Elam as he dealt with losing his starting job last year. Lewis said that he and Elam trained together in Florida a few years ago and said that he has intentions of training with him again.
The Ravens where looking for a leader and a play-maker in the secondary. Their previous Super Bowl defenses had ball hawking play-makers at the safety position in Ed Reed and Rod Woodson. Their secondary combined for six interceptions and three forced fumbles last season. Lewis had two interceptions, one of which was returned 27 yards for a touchdown last year. He also had three forced fumbles in 2014. Lewis could be the player that fills the play-making safety role for the Ravens in 2015.