Each Wednesday we'll bring you a Q&A; with a Ravens player to help you learn a little more about the team. Today's guest is left guard Ben Grubbs, who has helped the offense earn the 13th ranking in the NFL in average yards and the 10th ranking in the league in sacks allowed. Grubbs talked about his performance, his run-ins with several defensive players in the NFL and his life as a father.
Question: : How did it feel to be named to the Pro Football Weekly Midseason All-Pro Team?
Answer:: I didn't even know about it. Just being recognized is always a good thing, but I can't really focus on that because every time I watch the film, it's a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected. I just try to focus on what I can do to be a better player, and I'll let the commentators and analysts worry about all that other stuff.
Q:: You've made 38 consecutive starts since being drafted by the Ravens in the first round in 2007. Do you feel like you are giving the Ravens a good return on their investment?
A:: My performance has been kind of up and down. I'm definitely continuing to work harder and be more consistent in my play.
Q:: Who is the toughest run stopper or pass rusher you've faced in your career?
A:: Shaun Rogers [of the Cleveland Browns] is always a tough guy to block. I have to bring my "A" game every time I play against him. Casey Hampton [of the Pittsburgh Steelers], he's so short and stout that it's hard to get leverage on him. So you have to get extra low on him, and you definitely have to bring your power.
Q:: Why did you make the switch from defensive tackle at Elmore County High School in Alabama to tight end in your sophomore year at Auburn to guard in your junior year?
A:: Well, at the time, I wasn't really playing on defense, and the coaches felt like they could utilize me somewhere else and asked me if I would change positions. It was to tight end, and in my first game starting, I had a couple pancakes on one play, and it was all uphill from there. Then they moved me to left guard and the rest was history. Any chance that I could start the whole game and be on the field the whole game, that was definitely a great opportunity for me. So I definitely took advantage of it.
Q:: What was your welcome-to-the-NFL moment?
A:: My rookie year, Vonnie Holliday - when he played for the Dolphins - did a move on me, got by me and sacked Kyle Boller. He actually gave him a concussion. I'll never forget that play. From then on, I said, "That will never happen to me again."
Q:: Your father passed away when you were 5. How did that affect you in terms of raising your 3-year-old son, Landon?
A:: A lot. A lot of young kids today don't really have the guidance that those in two-parent households have. So I definitely want to be there for my son just because in today's society, there's just so much out there and it's easy for a young man or a young woman to get steered the wrong way. I just try to stay on him and make sure I'm there for him. (Editor's note: Grubbs has started a foundation to support youth in single-parent homes. On Tuesday, he distributed 100 Thanksgiving dinners to single-parent families.)
Q:: How has fatherhood changed you?
A:: You can't be selfish as a father. You have to put your children in front. My son is at the top of the list. If I'm hungry and he's hungry, I make sure that he eats first. It's all about him.
Q:: What is your go-to meal? Is there one food you will not touch?
A:: I won't eat sweet potato pie. I just don't like it - as simple as that. My go-to meal is probably fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and green beans.
Q:: Did you have a childhood fear?
A:: When I was 13, my house got destroyed by a tornado and we were inside, my brother and I. Ever since then, I've been afraid of storms. I mean, I've grown out of that now, but growing up, it was real tough for my brother and I. Every time it started storming, my brother and I would run up to my grandmother's house.
Q:: So what do you think of people who chase storms and tornadoes to accumulate scientific data?
A:: That's crazy. Suicide.