Each week, Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston will answer questions from readers about the Ravens. You can submit questions during every game to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are this week's questions and answers:
I thought that it was curious how John Harbaugh called his final timeout with a lot of time left on the play clock. Do you think this is because he did not trust Joe Flacco not to snap the ball on fourth down? Harbaugh was clearly telling him not to snap it and then called timeout to be sure. Is this play a continuation of Flacco not listening to coaching? Flacco's refusal to play wide receiver also comes to mind. -- Tristan, College Park
Tristan, Harbaugh referenced this particular issue in the postgame news conference. He said he was nervous someone would flinch (probably Michael Oher), there would be a false start, and then the Ravens would have to go for it on fourth down. That makes sense.
There is obviously an issue between Flacco and the coaching staff. It does not seem to matter who the offensive coordinator is, who the quarterback coach is, and the head coach hasn’t changed. Flacco seems to believe that he can carry this team. And the Ravens as an organization, despite what the ridiculous price tag is for the quarterback, seem to think otherwise.
I also firmly believe Harbaugh is a good coach on Monday through Saturday, but he makes a lot of questionable decisions on game days.
Both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have been ineffective. Neither one has much juice in their legs. Why don't the Ravens sign a free agent or grab someone off the practice squad? If we do make it to the playoffs, we won't get far without a running game. -- GC, Hanover, Pa.
Who do you propose they grab in free agency or off the practice squad? Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith are available, but they all seem to be a little past their primes. It would take someone too long to learn the playbook at this point anyway. Your conclusion about not making it far in the playoffs without a running game seems logical, but nothing is logical in the NFL these days. Offensively, it has become 7-on-7 or flag football.
Mike, I certainly see the Ravens are not running the ball well, but I cannot understand why Rice is not his usual factor in the passing game. Your thoughts? -- Dennis M.
Dennis, I wish I could explain that. You see occasional flashes of the old Rice, but at this point, Rice just looks kind of old. Rice had a huge number of carries in college and has had a ton of carries in the NFL. There are only so many hits the human body can take. Also, teams have taken safeties and isolated on Rice at times to take him out of the passing game.
What has happened to Terrell Suggs? He's still playing, right? -- Bill, Edgewood
Someone needs to put an all-points bulletin out for No. 55. There was a sighting on a couple of plays against Detroit, but the most memorable play was Reggie Bush flying by him for a touchdown when Suggs lost containment. A few weeks ago, he was a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Now, he is on the missing persons report.
Did it look to you like Calvin Johnson was pulling a "Randy Moss" and not really trying on some of those dropped passes? I'm not going to take anything away from him because he's an awesome receiver, but by the second half it looked like his heart wasn't in it anymore, which was good news for the Ravens secondary. -- LordBern, Bel Air
I would say Johnson actually played better in the second half, in terms of production. The drops in the first half were an incredible break for the Ravens. The thing the Ravens did best Monday night was punish the receivers when they caught the ball. There were big, hard, legal hits across the board. It was impressive. The Ravens seemed to take the fight out of all of the Detroit pass-catchers.
After playing well in his debut, Dennis Pitta had just two catches on Monday night. What should we expect from him in the final two games? -- Joey, Parkville
Joey, Pitta was doubled covered most of the evening. When a weapon gets taken away, another needs to step up. It was sad that Torrey Smith did not have a bigger day, but Jacoby Jones stepped up.
I would expect that Pitta will get a couple of catches each week and keep getting worked into a full-time role in the offense. If the Ravens make the playoffs, his role will continue to expand.
The Ravens secondary seems to be underrated to me. Jimmy Smith is finally getting some due, but Lardarius Webb has been playing well lately, too. Where would you rank the Ravens secondary among the teams in the AFC? I think they're becoming one of the best in the last half of the season. -- Steve, Dundalk
Steve, the Ravens secondary played one of its best games of the season against the Lions, right up there with the effort against Houston. Smith has emerged as the team’s top performer in the secondary, and Webb does an excellent job of taking away the slot receiver. The Ravens were very aggressive in run support against the Lions.
Did Ray Lewis meet with the team Monday night or have anything to say with the guys before or after? -- Dave B., Minturn, Colo.
Old No. 52 spoke with a couple of players before the game on the field, but that was it. And no, he didn’t touch the goal posts with any magic water or lay hands on an upright.
Doesn't this seem like the 2000 and 2013 seasons combined? All the field goals and breaks for the Ravens. I think we will be in the Super Bowl again. What do u think? -- Mark H.
No, and I am not booking a hotel room in New Jersey yet.
Looking ahead to Sunday, the Patriots are banged up. It's always a dogfight between the Ravens and New England, but I think we have the homefield advantage and momentum. Thoughts? -- Tim J., Perry Hall
We go through this almost every week. Cheap plug alert: check out the official picks from The Baltimore Sun's football experts later this week!