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Ravens Q&A with Sun columnist Mike Preston

Baltimore Sun reporter

Each week, Sun columnist Mike Preston answers a selection of readers' questions about the Ravens latest game and the upcoming game. This week, the Ravens beat the Browns 20-10 to clinch a playoff spot and are playing AFC North rival Cincinnati Sunday. This week, Preston's conversation this week focuses on the coaches and their effect on the team, Ed Reed's laterals, and, perhaps most importantly, whether the Ravens can beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in Indianapolis if that's the playoff matchup facing the Ravens after Sunday's games.

Rob: Some coaches better than others adapt their scheme to meet players' strengths. In your opinion do the ravens coaches do that or do the players have to adapt to the system they are in?

Mike Preston: Rob, you probably know the answer to your own question, especially on offense. You have the same passing scheme despite the new additions. I don't think the scheme is sophisticated enough to fit the talent on this roster. But we'll find out soon in the post season. That's when it counts the most.

Mike: When will either the coaches, players, front office, or owner sit Ed reed down and tell him do not lateral the ever again? This is going to cost us a game one day

Mike Preston: Never. Ed Reed does whatever he wants to do because the coaching staff and general manager won't reprimand him because they are afraid he'll flake out on them. It's all part of the star system in the NFL, and the Ravens have a couple of them who are virtually untouchable. Reed is one.

Blaine: All season long it seems that Joe Flacco is oblivious to the fact that it is a good thing to throw the ball away rather than take a hit, take a sack, or complete a pass behind the line of scrimmage that has little chance of going for positive yards. It happened again a couple of times in the Browns game. Is Joe just being stubborn, trying to make something happen on every play, or is there something else going on?

Mike Preston: Flacco is Flacco. On some plays, he looks like Joe Namath. On others, he looks like Joe Palooka. Get used to it. We'll be having these up-and-down rides probably for a few more years.

EC I know you like the run game, Mike, but what do you think of the Ravens playing prevent offense and prevent defense at the same time with only a 10-point lead? Do we want these coordinators making decisions for our immensely talented team in the playoffs?

Mike Preston: When you play a team like the Browns, you can be soft on offense and defense with a lead. When you play a team with a quarterback like a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady, both units have to continue to attack. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they haven't learned that lesson yet. Hopefully when the postseason gets here, they change their thinking.

Johnny St. Paul Looking ahead, can we beat Indy in Indy? I have nightmares.

Mike Preston: Sure the Ravens can beat Indy, and Indy can certainly beat the Ravens. I don't like the matchup with Manning on his home turf. And for some reason, the Ravens always get away from the running game too quickly. With that said, this is probably the year to take on Manning and the Colts because the Colts have been hit hard by injuries. The nightmares won't go away, though. As long as the Colts have Manning, they are a pain.

Zoo: Why do the Ravens have such a problem getting Anquan Boldin to contribute in the passing game? It seems that they've reduced his routes to the sideline stuff that Mason does. His receptions and yards aren't there like they should be. I know it's a run-first team, but it seems like Flacco even prefers Housh to Boldin as of late. We traded for him, so what's up?

Mike Preston: Read the answer to the first question.

Brian: Harbs lost another challenge even after extra time from an encroachment penalty. Does he get poor advice from upstairs or what? His success ratio on them is pathetic.

Mike Preston: Against Cleveland, Harbaugh made the right decision. We didn't get a chance to watch the play again in the press box, and I don't believe the Ravens assistants got a chance either. There wasn't any replay on the Jumbotron at the Stadium. Cleveland didn't have the firepower to compete with the Ravens, so Harbaugh knew this might be their only real chance to score a touchdown. He made the right move, but in the future, he has to get better input from his assistants in the press box. They've made some poor decisions, and it filters down to the head coach.

Scott: Is the offensive line capable of blocking long enough to allow Joe to take some shots deep down field? I just don't understand the lack of the deep ball to help open up the run.

Mike Preston: Against the Browns, the Ravens took three deep shots down the field. The pass protection, though, is an issue. Flacco made some big plays out of scrambling. The Browns didn't blitz a lot, but sometimes got pressure just by winning one-on-one matchups. It's an area the Ravens need significant improvement heading into the playoffs.

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