Jake: Should Cam Cameron be fired?
I do know there wasn't the chemistry needed to be successful, and someone has to be accountable. If Cameron is fired, from the outside looking in, it wouldn't be surprising. As of early Monday morning, I suspect the Ravens might be looking for a new OC and Cameron might be looking for a new job. If they can't find a better replacement, Cameron probably stays. If they do, he'll be seeking employment elsewhere.
I hope the Ravens, regardless of any decision, do a thorough evaluation.
Jack Robinson: I understand you don't change quarterbacks lightly and I did not advocate a change during the season. But based upon what you have seen, is Marc Bulger a better quarterback than Joe Flacco? I saw Bulger years ago and he was impressive.
Mike Preston: I saw Bulger in training camp, and thought he was better than Flacco. I still think he is better than Flacco because of his quick decision-making and ability to make tight throws in small windows. I understood and agreed with the Ravens' decision to stick with Flacco, because he is their long-term answer. But after three years of watching Flacco, I don't have the confidence in him to believe he is the answer. I would try to re-sign Bulger, and have an open competition at quarterback next season.
Bryan: The Ravens have had this knack for creating terrible situations for themselves through conservative play calls. Is the source of this mentality just Greg Mattison and Cam Cameron, or is it John Harbaugh? I feel like Harbaugh is the only explanation for the meltdown of the entire team in the second half.
Mike Preston: If we're talking about the second half of some other losses, yes, I would agree that the Ravens lack a killer instinct. But if you are talking about Saturday night's game, I put this squarely on the shoulders of the players. They committed the turnovers. They lacked intensity. They choked when the Steelers made plays in crunch time.
This one wasn't on the coaches. It was on the players.
RavenRick: Hey Mike, can you possibly explain how, when in prevent defense on 3rd-and-19, we allow a 58-yard bomb? Does Mattison not remember the New England loss or the lucky excape from Houston?
Mike Preston: That should never happen. It's inexcusable. I can't blame it on Greg Mattison. The Ravens rushed three players because the goal was to get the Steelers to throw underneath. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball early because it was a jump ball. Regardless of a four- or five-man rush, that ball was gone long before there would have been pressure. Second-year cornerback Lardarius Webb blew the play. He didn't turn his hips and run. The only rule Webb had to abide by was not allowing the receiver to get behind him, and he failed there.
The last time I checked, Mattison didn't play defense. He made the right call. The Ravens failed to make a play in crunch time.
Jason: Is this an end to an era of Ravens playoff runs? Most players are past their prime or free agents.
Mike Preston: The Ravens draft well enough to always be competitive. They have to find a way to take it to the next level. The Ravens are right back to where they were at the end of last season. I don't think there is anyone in Baltimore that can tell me the Steelers, Jets and Patriots are that much better than the Ravens. Offensively, the Ravens have to improve and become more consistent.
Unfortunately, it has been that way since 2000, and it is painful now because the team has invested so much in their offense the past three seasons.
Jason: Will Ray Lewis retire? How about Ed Reed?
Mike Preston: Lewis won't retire for another year or two. With Reed, no one knows for sure. He could retire next week, and un-retire the next. But we do know that when Reed retires, there won't be much fanfare. I think he'll just give general manager Ozzie Newsome and Ray Lewis phone calls, and tell them he is done. Do I believe he could play another year at a high level? Yes.
Ioannis: Todd Heap and Le'Ron McClain aside, all of the Ravens' starting offense made critical errors in the second half. They lacked focus and belief, and I cannot help but believe that such a collective collapse mirrors the approach from the coaches. Like our coaches, our offense finds ways to lose games. The undermanned Steelers instead assume the personality of their coach and find ways to win. How can we fix that?
Mike Preston: I think the Steelers have a system in place, especially on offense, where there are no stars. The only one is Roethlisberger. In the Ravens-Steelers series, the Steelers makes plays at the end, and the Ravens usually choke, whether it's a missed block, a penalty, botched catches or something else. You can't do anything about it -- you just keep working. There is no magic formula. You just remember the bad taste that a loss leaves in your mouth, and you work harder to never allow it to happen again.
MissRay27: Who will be back next season, if there is football? What positions will the Ravens target in the draft?
Mike Preston: Without a new collective bargaining agreement in place, it's hard to predict who will or who won't return. Of the starting veterans, I have to question the return of Kelly Gregg, Matt Birk, Willis McGahee, Josh Wilson and Dawan Landry, and that's based on various reasons from contract to age to quality backups.
As far as the draft is concerned, the Ravens have needs for an outside pass rusher, a left offensive tackle, a speedy wide receiver and a big, physical cornerback. The positions listed were not based in the order of need.