Lewis showing signs of wear

Recent games have shown that Jamal Lewis is starting to feel the effects of Baltimore's over-dependency on him.

Updated: November 21, 2003, 12:59 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
Jamal Lewis has certainly been getting his share of carries this season. Despite Lewis' sore right shoulder that's not getting any better with each hit, the Ravens aren't concerned about wearing their main offensive weapon down. Lewis is on pace to carry the ball 384 times, and while that's not a record-setting pace, it is an awful lot of carries for a man who winces every time he gets hit.

His workload wouldn't be worth talking about if his performance wasn't suffering, but lately he hasn't been nearly as effective. In his first seven games he averaged 140 yards a game, but over his last three he's averaged only 90 on 3.7 yards per carry.

Jamal Lewis
AP PhotoDespite a sore shoulder, Jamal Lewis will continue to be the focus of the Ravens' offense.
To put that in perspective, averaging 90 yards a game would produce a 1,440-yard season, so he hasn't exactly hit the skids. And during that period he's gone up against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins, two of the better run defenses in the league. But when you add his recent fumbling problems to the equation, it becomes clear that his overuse could be hurting him more than any defense could.