Baltimore Ravens

Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

Each week, Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston will answer questions from readers about the Ravens. You can submit questions during every game to

Here are this week's questions and answers:

The last three minutes of the Ravens-Vikings game were unbelievable. The Ravens had several breaks in this game and came through when they needed to. Appears this game may give this team some confidence just at the right time. Do you see this win helping the Ravens to continue to win the games they now need to propel them into the playoffs? -- Craig, Winchester, Va.


The Ravens have the hardest remaining schedule of the teams pushing for the sixth playoff spot. This win showed they have heart and are always going to play through the final whistle. That being said, going to Detroit this week will be a very tough game. The Lions have a nasty defensive line, led by tackle Ndamukong Suh. The offensive line has to play much better this week or Monday night will be a long night.

Can we devise a way to trick Joe Flacco into thinking that every drive is in the last five minutes with the Ravens down by four points? If so, there'd be no stopping us. -- Tom, West Palm Beach, Fla.


Flacco clearly plays better the less he thinks. Hypnosis might work.

Is there some reason that the Ravens refuse to let Flacco do a quarterback sneak on plays on which they need to gain less than a yard? He is a big, tall guy who should be able to make it at least some of the time. It certainly can't be any worse than the short-yardage plays that we do run. -- Lynnie B.

Lynnie, Flacco has not always been successful during QB sneaks. However, that being said, when you need to get 1 yard, that all comes down to the offensive line and desire to impose their will. This particular group has not done that all season. As said above, it may be a long Monday night.

If you were giving Dennis Pitta an individual grade for his play, what would it be? I know Flacco is glad to have him back! -- Jenny, Salisbury

I would give Pitta a solid B. The weather aside, he looked very tentative in the first half and clearly got more comfortable as the game progressed.

Over the past six years, I think John Harbaugh has had more offensive talent to work with than Brian Billick had to work with, but our offense has been just as poorly productive. Do you agree? -- Rocco F.

Rocco, I would actually disagree. The Ravens had a Hall of Fame tackle in Jonathan Ogden, a superstar running back in Jamal Lewis, and decent weapons like Todd Heap and Qadry Ismail. The quarterback carousel aside, the Ravens did get a worn-down Steve McNair to produce very well.

The current offense doesn't have a Hall of Fame talent at any position. The running back position has been very good, but not dominating like in the past. The tight end and wide receiver groups are comparable to a fair extent. The quarterback position has been one upgrade, but Flacco has been inaccurate and inconsistent even though he is clutch in crunch time.


I would say this is still a defensive team, and as that unit goes, so goes the Ravens. The defense isn't great, but rate it somewhere between average and good in this watered-down league.

How much of the Ravens' defensive failures at the end of games can be attributed to Dean Pees' coaching decisions? -- Bob B.

Why does everyone immediately point to the coaching? How about a defensive player make a tackle at the end of the game? How about not letting a backup quarterback and running back move down the field in the final two minutes like John Elway and Terrell Davis? The defensive failings at the end of the games is based on fatigue and poor technique. Pees has been very good for the Ravens.

Why is this team so offensively inept? You would think that they'd be a lot better, or at least more consistent, after practicing against the Ravens defense on a weekly basis. The offense really didn't come alive Sunday until the middle of the fourth quarter. If the Ravens make the playoffs, such offensive ineptitude won't cut it. Thanks and keep up the good work! -- Bruce, Towson

Bruce, as soon as the offensive line gets better, this offense will get better. It would also help if Flacco got hot early in the game. Also, both running backs -- Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce -- have not had strong seasons.

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Is keeping Jacoby Jones at the end of the year going to be a priority for the Ravens? As a receiver, he seems above average, and as a returner, he has been outstanding. Will he be too much money on the open market for the Ravens to keep? -- Bernie, Bel Air


Keeping Jacoby Jones will be tough with the salary cap, but it is clear that he sparks this team. His outgoing personality seems to irritate Harbaugh at times. It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason.

Other than the two Super Bowl wins, obviously, would you rank this as the greatest game in Ravens history? I know they had some pretty good comebacks in the early 2000s, but this one ranks up there for me. I know you've seen all of them, so what do you think now that you've had a couple days to look back? -- Bill, Owings Mills

I always think of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the 2000 season as a turning point for the franchise, and it was an amazing game. My favorite game was the Ravens vs. Tennessee in the 2000 playoffs. For the most part, Sunday's game was a terrible one for nearly 58 minutes, but it had one of the wildest and greatest finishes ever. But I don't think it will replace the Colts vs. Giants in the 1958 championship as The Greatest Game Ever Played. This one had a great ending, but was not a great game.

What is your take on Adrian Peterson's comments about Ravens fans? Don't you love us? -- Tim, Canton

If it is true that fans hit him or any other players with snowballs, then they should stay home and grow up. And no, I really don't want Baltimore fans compared to Philly fans as some suggest. Why would anyone want to be compared to that crew?

Fans should just go cheer, cry, scream, laugh, have fun, whatever, but it is just a game. For the most part, most of the fans in Baltimore, and around the country, do that. But there are always just a few knuckleheads. Hopefully, Peterson was just sour about the loss and that type of incident didn't happen here.