FOXBORO, Mass. — As days of training camp are starting to string together in the dog days of summer, second-year cornerback Ryan Lewis is putting together an impressive stretch of practices.
Lewis picked off quarterback Tom Brady and had a pass breakup Monday night. He then broke up another pass Wednesday and delivered an impressive 1-on-1 rep Thursday when he jammed wide receiver Phillip Dorsett at the line and smothered him until the play was called dead.
With cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe and Duke Dawson viewed as locks to make the team, Lewis currently is competing with Jason McCourty, Keion Crossen, J.C. Jackson and Jomal Wiltz for roster spots while Jonathan Jones and Cyrus Jones continue to recover from injuries on the physically unable to perform list.
At 6-feet, 195 pounds, Lewis has ideal size and athleticism for the position. The Patriots convinced him to stay on their practice squad last season when the Buffalo Bills attempted to sign him to their 53-man roster. Lewis earned “Patriot of the Year” for his season on the practice squad.
Lewis certainly is a player on the rise, but he hasn’t been without some missteps. He was beat deep by Dorsett and wide receiver Paul Turner on Thursday as it looked like he had a tough time locating and adjusting to the ball.
So, how does Lewis plan to keep improving?
“The first thing I do is I watch the film, find out what I did wrong, re-write my notes, all that stuff,” Lewis said. “A lot of mental work, and then I’ll go out there and make it an emphasis of the day to keep my leverage or turn in my transition a little early, just do the little things right.”
Lewis isn’t putting too much pressure on himself as he tries to beat out his competition and crack the roster.
“We’re all here for a reason,” Lewis said. “We’re a great group of guys, great friends, and we love to compete and make each other better, and that’s what it’s all about. No matter what happens, we’re all here, and we’re all gonna give it all we got.”
Lewis has the benefit of being able to watch one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Gilmore, with whom he shares similar size, speed and agility. Lewis has been closely studying him.
“I watch him quite a bit,” Lewis said. “He’s a great guy to learn from, real knowledgeable. He’s a vet, so I just try to soak up all the stuff as much as I can.”
Lewis spent last summer with the Arizona Cardinals before he was released and latched on with the Patriots. Spending the entire 2017 season on the practice squad, Lewis hasn’t actually played in a game with the Patriots yet. He’ll have that opportunity next Thursday when the Patriots take on the Washington Redskins in their first preseason game.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images