Bob in Ellicott City: Joe Flacco was on in Sunday's playoff game and showed mobility and pocket awareness not always evident. I am, however, puzzled as to why you never see Flacco doing his homework on the sidelines. All the other great quarterbacks are pouring over pictures, interpreting game schematics or talking things over with their team members or offensive coordinators. Joe is always just sitting on the bench! What am I missing?
Bob, you aren't missing anything. If that is the way Flacco prefers to operate, I don't mind as long as he is successful. Actually, about two weeks ago, some of us in the press box did notice Flacco studying photos and talking to his coaches and teammates more. Maybe he feels more comfortable now with Jim Caldwell as the offensive coordinator instead of Cam Cameron. I just hope Flacco steps up his game from this point on because he'll be contending with elite QBs, not rookies or some older ones, like Charlie Batch.
Richard in Dallas: They finally got it right with the offensive line. What is the real reason it took them so long? It can't be just because Jah Reid was hurt. They could have plugged Bobbie Williams in at left guard. If it's really only because of John Harbaugh's doghouse regarding Bryant McKinnie, doesn't he feel silly?
Harbaugh will only feel silly if they continue to improve and get better. With the changes made in the lineup, the offensive line is better, but I'm not sure it is good enough to beat a team like Denver. Instead of having a doghouse, I suggest Harbaugh either find a way to motivate the player(s) or cut him. It doesn't make sense to have a player getting paid, but no intention to use him whatsoever.
Ken in Rosedale: What are your thoughts related to Bernard Pierce having a larger role running the rock? Also, any thoughts related to Ray Rice fumbling at such a higher percentage during playoff games? How will both help if we are to win Saturday?
I start Ray Rice Saturday and keep subbing him with Pierce as usual. I then play the hottest player. It's playoff time, so there is no time to be worried about egos and sulking. If you lose, you go home. Under that circumstance, I stay with the player who gives me the best chance of winning and the other just has to settle with less carries. It's really good to have this kind of problem, if you want to call it that, at this time of year.
BobK: It appears that Paul Kruger and Anquan Boldin made statements about new contracts with their play. Ed Reed seemed like a different player than we saw most of the year, and his contract is also expiring. Do you think their play against the Colts warrants significant increases in the offers that the Ravens submit?
A lot of fans have gotten giddy after the Ravens beat the Colts, but you need to look at the overall picture as far as the team salary-cap situation, age of players and possible backups. The Colts may have been a playoff team, but they weren't that good. Kruger played well, but I want to see him do that against quality teams. Boldin also played well, but I'm not sure he is worth $6 million per season. As for Reed, the Ravens should just say thanks, but no thanks. There is no second guessing on that one.
Stan Preston: With the possibility of Ed Reed moving on, would the Ravens consider moving Jimmy Smith to safety? He appears to have the body type for that position, and he has been disappointing at corner so far. Your thoughts?
He does have the body type and certainly the range. I'm not sure that he will be a good corner yet, but I also like his potential at safety. The key issue with Smith isn't his ability, but staying healthy long enough to the point where he can grow and learn consistently.
David Saul: Terrence Cody is laughable. On one play, the Colts offensive lineman pushed Cody's head down and he fell to the ground. Kindle and Cody = worst draft for Ravens. I am surprised Cody is not called out more for his non-existent play.
David, the media has addressed Cody's poor performance for the last two years. It's horrendous, and I think after this season, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome will have to admit he made a mistake by drafting him out of his alma mater, Alabama, and let him go. The most entertainment Cody provides on Sunday afternoons is the dancing on the field. And he isn't very good at that, either.
Cathy Fisher: How is Lardarius Webb doing since his surgery? No one has mentioned this as far as I know.
Sorry Cathy, Webb and I aren't in the same social circle. I assume he is well and recovering.
Howard in Owings Mills: What do the Ravens need to do differently to beat the Broncos this go-round? The Broncos took away the run game and Flacco had a 2-second window to find the open -- or lack of open -- guy? If you were the coach, what would be your plan?
First of all, I'd show my team Flacco laying on the turf at M&T; Bank Stadium and remind them of how Denver kicked their sorry butts in the first game. I'd tell them they had to play the near perfect game, which means they can't have two major turnovers in the first half like last game. I'd play up the underdog role and how no one expects us to win, and then I would just gamble, turn it loose and play a wide-open style. The Ravens need to come into this game loose and confident. They also need to win the battle of the interior lines. They've got to be able to run the ball and stop the run, which they didn't do in the first game.
Rich Z.: What do the Ravens have to do to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos?
Rich, I'd read my answer to Howard from Owings Mills in the previous question. Prayer might work as well.