Season ending injuries are heartbreaking for the fans, team, and undoubtably the player, but the players who were on the brink of a breakout year/were fighting for consistent playing time, it stings just that much more.
2017 was an injury riddled campaign for the Ravens which saw them have a league high 15 players on IR before Week 3 even began last season, and nine of those injuries happened between June and the end of the preseason.
Losing valuable practice and game reps can be career changing, which makes the comeback year one of the most important years of a career.
Here’s my list of returning players with the most to prove in Training Camp:
Lewis, a 2016 4th Rd Pick, has played well when on the field for the Ravens at both Left Tackle and Guard. However, the key for him is when he’s on the field. In his rookie season Lewis played 10 games with 8 starts, but missed the last six weeks of the season with a sprained ankle. Heading into 2017, he was slated to be the teams starting left guard until a preseason shoulder injury left him on IR for the entirety of 2017.
Lewis missed a few days of mandatory minicamp earlier this season as well with back spasms; though the injury hasn’t given him any issues through the beginning of training camp, so he should be in the clear.
With his health status far from certain the Ravens did what any smart organization would do, and drafted a couple of Offensive Lineman in case Lewis isn’t ready to go. The most notable addition was Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown. If Brown plays his way into a starting roll, that could actually see Lewis bump inside to center, which is something the Ravens have already been experimenting with early on here in training camp.
Whether he ends up playing at center or his original position of left guard, it seems that Lewis will still likely start somewhere along the Offensive Line in 2018, but the question is where. Keeping Lewis healthy is important for the Ravens as, even though a small sample size, he has proven to be an adequate piece along the offensive line for the Ravens.