Safety Kendrick Lewis Taking Command In Secondary

Safety Kendrick Lewis didn't like what he saw in front of him.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith inched away from the line of scrimmage before a play in Saturday's practice, and Lewis promptly yelled to him to change position. Smith adjusted  based on Lewis' call, illustrating how quickly the new safety has settled into the Ravens defense and taken charge in the secondary.

"He's very definitive," Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said. "He's not wishy washy. Boom, I make the call, we play it, and I like that. That's what you want back there."

Lewis' leadership on the back end of the defense is part of the reason the Ravens brought the six-year veteran to Baltimore. He had a reputation as a vocal player during his time as a starter in both Kansas City and Houston, and the Ravens needed that kind of presence at safety.

"We had heard that he was a very intelligent football player, but there are a lot of guys that are intelligent football players and you find out maybe they're not," Pees said. "He's everything as advertised and more." 

Lewis, 27, has started every game he's played since 2011, and he's in line for that role again this year. After the Ravens signed him in March, he was quickly inserted into the starting lineup.

He started throughout  offseason practices and has taken all the free safety reps with the first-team defense. The Ravens are still determining whether they will  start Will Hill or Matt Elam next to him – they have split first-team reps – but Lewis looks like a lock for the starting lineup.

It's a much different situation compared to last year, where the Ravens had Elam, Hill, Terrence Brooks, Darian Stewart, Anthony Levine and Jeromy Miles rotate at safety throughout the season. Lewis has brought stability to the position that the Ravens have looked for since having Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard on the Super Bowl XLVII team.

"I'd like to have two guys [instead  of a rotation]," Pees said. "We rotated [last year], because we had to rotate. It wasn't because I sometimes wanted to.

"I really do think that if you have two guys that establish themselves, they get used to playing together, they get used to communicating together, guys get used to hearing the communication from them."

In addition to his knack of understanding the defense and communicating to the secondary, Lewis brings a ball hawking mentality to the field. He forced five turnovers last year with the Texans, and he showed that ability with an interception of quarterback Joe Flacco in training camp practice.

He has consistently put himself in good position around the football, and the Ravens have high hopes for what his arrival means for the defense.

"I really like the way he's playing right now," Pees said.

The Ravens continued the 2015 training camp with practice at the Under Armour Performance Center.

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