Each week, Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley will answer fans' questions about the Ravens. To submit a question, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your name and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.
HEY, JAMISON: : In wins against Cleveland and Cincinnati, in addition to a strong running game, we saw a healthy dose of intermediate pass routes, coupled with some quick outs, slants and even a few deep balls. It seemed that [Joe] Flacco was comfortable, and began to progress with this freedom in the passing game. However, over the past two weeks, most noticeably during the Indy game, the play-calling has shifted dramatically, and noticeably, so has the poise and confidence of our franchise QB. .... We drafted him for a reason. This year is not, and was never, designed to be a playoff run year. So, with nothing to lose and everything to gain from an experience standpoint, why are we seemingly trying our darnedest to rein in our once-aggressive and poised QB, and turn him into an over-coached, afraid-to-make-a-mistake game manager?
Erich J. Arnold, Arlington, Va.
HEY, ERICH: : From my perspective, it doesn't seem like the Ravens have reined in Flacco from earlier in the season. The difference hasn't been the playbook. It has been Flacco's effectiveness. It's strange to say, but Flacco is making more poor decisions now than he did in he first couple of games. Of course, the Ravens' running game was more dominant in the first two weeks. When the ground attack isn't clicking, it puts more pressure on Flacco to make plays.
The biggest criticism has been the increased turnovers and the lack of big plays. The turnovers will decrease as Flacco matures. But the Ravens likely won't generate big plays on a consistent basis until the team adds another play-making receiver. The rebuilding of the Ravens' offense won't be done overnight.
HEY, JAMISON: : Will someone please tell me why we still have Corey Ivy? He is the worst cover corner on our team, not to mention a horrible tackler that goes for a big hit every time when he should just wrap the guy up. He constantly gets beat, and he is always getting flagged! So my question to you guys at The Sun is: Please tell me at least three positives with Corey Ivy? (It's a trick question, though, because there are none.)
Dominic Ottone, Fallston
HEY, DOMINIC: : Instead of giving three positives, here are three reasons why fans shouldn't complain about Ivy: Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle and Fabian Washington. If all three cornerbacks were healthy, Ivy would be on the field only for special teams. Ivy is the No. 5 cornerback on the team behind those three and Frank Walker.
On most NFL teams, there is a major drop-off after the top three cornerbacks. In fact, the Ravens' opponent Sunday, the Miami Dolphins, doesn't even have a fifth cornerback listed on its depth chart. Ivy is a hard-nosed veteran who is one of the team's core special teams players. Do you really want David Pittman back?
HEY, JAMISON: : Why is it over the past five years when teams go four-wide [receivers] against the Ravens, they have no answer for it? Even when the corners are healthy?
Brian Bacon, Washington
HEY, BRIAN: : The key isn't spreading out the Ravens defense. To be successful against the Ravens, teams need to take short drops and get their quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly. When teams go four-wide, quarterbacks have to rely on three-step drops because there are fewer blockers for pass protection.
Outside of a few instances - such as Peyton Manning shredding them Sunday - the Ravens have an answer for passing attacks. Since 1999, the Ravens' defense ranks first in third-down conversion rate (33.9 percent), second in interceptions (193) and third in sacks (393). Looking at the big picture, it's hard to take shots at the Ravens' pass defense.