Maceo: Mike -- Is Kelly Gregg a liability against the run? It just seem like he gets no penetration.
Charles: Mike -- I love your columns and your analysis on the radio. Terrell Suggs definitely looks more explosive rushing the passer, but when he's not getting to the QB, no one else seems to consistently. I've heard you talk about the Ravens' inability to generate an interior push. Is Terrence Cody that player or is he strictly a run stuffer at this point?
Mike Preston: Cody is a run stopper at this point, but he has the potential and athleticism to collapse a pocket and get after a quarterback -- something the Ravens desperately need. If Cody decides to control his weight and get in the weight room, he could become one of the game's most dominant tackles. With Cody, it's all about desire. If he wants it, it's there for him to take.
Brian M.: What's the reasoning for Oniel Cousins or Tony Moll not starting at right tackle? I think Marshal Yanda at guard is a key to big success for our running game. Your thoughts?
Mike Preston: I agree. Marshal Yanda is a better guard than tackle. He doesn't have quick enough feet or the long arms needed to become a quality tackle. With that said, he is the best option the Ravens have right now. Both Moll and Cousins aren't ready to be starters. If either of them did start, it might be a sad, long day for the offense and quarterback Joe Flacco. Under the current conditions, both Yanda and right guard Chris Chester have been solid.
Jeffrey: Why do the Ravens tend to take Halota Ngata off the field on 3rd down, especially in passing situations?
Mike Preston: Ngata has to improve as a pass rusher. If he ever learns to collapse a pocket, he will become the best defensive tackle in the NFL. Ngata has worked hard on his pass-rushing skills the past two seasons, but he needs to improve on quickness and technique. Also, the Ravens just have some other defensive linemen who are better pass rushers. Bob: I'm concerned that the Ravens don't have an alternative at fullback. I would like to see us try to wear down/slow down the rush by pounding the ball with [ Le'Ron] McClain behind the blocking of another bruiser. I think we should at least have one on the taxi squad. Any thoughts on this?
Mike Preston: I mentioned the same thing at the beginning of the year about obtaining another fullback. Right now, the Ravens don't have another one on the roster. If both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee cannot play Sunday, then the Ravens will make McClain the starting halfback, leaving them without a fullback. Or they might move Jalen Parmele to tailback and keep McClain at fullback. Regardless, the Ravens have little depth there. This situation could become ugly. The lack of a fullback might be an oversight by general manager Ozzie Newsome. Or maybe because the Ravens want to throw so much, they don't need a fullback. Anonymous: Any explanation why the Ravens went for a pass on their second drive of the second half on 3rd and 1.5? Ray Rice had 9 yards in two plays, then we went for a pass and had to punt. ... I don't understand how Cam Cameron abandoned the run, especially in a short-yardage situation.
Mike Preston: I'm pretty sure they will say something like the box was crowded, and they were outnumbered. Or they might say something like they didn't have the right package or sub package in the game. As for me in that situation, I do what the Browns did to the Ravens all day Sunday. They rolled up their sleeves, got in an I-formation and said, "I don't give a damn if you know I'm going to run the football because I'm going to shove this ball down your throat anyway." In shorter terms, though, I would just say the Ravens were stupid for not running the ball instead of trying to pass for a first down. Joefoss: Does Derrick Mason think he is smarter than everyone else? These temper tantrums need to stop. He'll cost his teammates a game soon. Mike Preston: Agreed. I'd like to see John Harbaugh jump in Derrick Mason's face like he did Dannell Ellerbe when Ellerbe was showboating earlier this season after a touchdown. Mason really is a nice guy and a pro. He works extremely hard during the offseason, but he needs to lose the attitude. The tantrums and whining have to stop. Right now, there seems to be a lot of bad PR circulating about Mason. Maybe it's time for his agent to step in and intervene. If the inappropriate behavior continues, it might cost the Ravens a game in the future. Eric: Zbikowski has done an admirable job filling in at FS, but he's no Ed Reed. In my opinion, Reed's presence makes QBs think a lot more about where they're throwing the ball when he's on the field. I believe when Reed gets back, the number of sacks and defensive turnovers instantly climbs. Do you agree? How do you think our defense improves and will opposing offenses change the way they attack the Ravens when Reed returns in week 7?
Mike Preston: Zbikowski had played extremely well filling in for Reed. Would Reed have an interception or two? There is very little doubt that No. 20 would have forced a turnover or two. But offenses won't change the way they attack the Ravens. You're always aware of a player like Reed or Ray Lewis, but the way to beat the Ravens is with short, quick passes and to run right at them. That formula doesn't change regardless if Reed is in or out of the game.
Dave: How much of [Sunday's] improved offensive performance was a result of Flacco improving his game, and how much was a result of Cleveland's inability to take advantage of any weaknesses?
Mike Preston: Flacco plays well against blitzing, attacking teams like Cleveland because he sees it every day in practice, and he doesn't have to think much. He gets in trouble when teams play a Cover 2 with a soft underbelly where seven or eight guys are dropped into coverage. Flacco is forced to think a lot more, and sometimes loses his focus as far as mechanics. If the Ravens played a blitzing team like the Jets or Browns every week, they'd be in the Super Bowl. Brett: Why isn't Terrence Cody playing?
Mike Preston: He did have knee problems and was too big and too out of shape. Word is he has slimmed down -- at least for Cody -- and should be ready to go Sunday. After last week, the Ravens could use another big body to plug up the middle.
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