Thursday, March 8, 2007

Jamal Lewis in French: le terrible

Jamal Lewis fits the profile of the over-the-hill running back, following the same career path of so many before him. A promising start, a rapid decline.

One problem. He's only 27.


How is that possible? Lewis has been around forever, and he certainly ran like a member of the over-30 club in 2006, when he single-handedly held the Ravens back with his awful 3.6 per-carry average -- and this behind a legitimately good offensive line. Of course, 3.6 was an upgrade compared to his 3.4 average in 2005.

Put a good running back on the 2006 Ravens and they probably would be designing Super Bowl rings right now.

So, of course, who would want Lewis but the Cleveland Browns, who are to running the ball what Charlie Brown is to kicking it.

Over the past five years, here are the Browns' ranks in yards-per-carry: 29th, 22nd, 27th, 15th, 24th. I guess when you've had guys like Lee Suggs, William Green and Travis Prentice as your leading rushers, Jamal Lewis looks like a step up.

The Browns might have an improved offensive line, with the return of LeCharles Bentley from injury and the addition of Eric Steinbach in free agency. But unless Lewis discovers the fountain of speed in the offseason, I don't think it'll amount to much.

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