Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston gives his rant after the Ravens' game against the Carolina Panthers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston answers readers' questions on the Ravens' win over the Carolina Panthers and other topics about the team.
Sure, Steve Smith was the star of Sunday's win over his former team. But I really liked what I saw from Justin Forsett. Last week it was Lorenzo Taliaferro. How long can the Ravens keep up this running back-by-committee approach? -- Eddie R.
The Ravens should keep the running back by committee going for the rest of the season. It is working and they do not have a feature back on the roster.
Why do the Ravens keep using timeouts that would be useful later? For example, if they had not squandered timeouts in the first half, they would have had time to get Justin Tucker closer for the field-goal attempt. Fortunately, the loss of the three points did not hurt them [this week]. -- Jim E.
Jim, the clock management in the NFL, not just with the Ravens, has been terrible for several years now. It hurts plenty of teams. Just sit back and enjoy the follies.
What is wrong with Jacoby Jones? Receiving, returning, everything. -- Bill, Owings Mills
I think Jacoby Jones is suffering from the same thing as safety Matt Elam. He is pressing too hard to make a play. He needs to just let the plays come to him.
What was your first impression of James Hurst? Seems like we didn't hear his name much, which is probably a good thing after the years of Michael Oher's penalties. -- Ted C.
Ted, Hurst played well considering he was thrown into the fire as a rookie. The fact that you did not hear his name called often means it was a successful day for him. I am not sure how he will grade out on film, but you cannot complain with the performance he put up on Sunday.
Mike, Pittsburgh has brought back James Harrison. Is it time for the Ravens to bring back Ed Reed to help out our poor safety situation? -- Don, Charleston, S.C.
Don, Ed Reed is one of the greatest safeties to ever play in the NFL. However, Reed should have followed that ticket to paradise with a ticket to the retirement home. He is done in the NFL. If teams thought he could still play, he would be on a roster, just like cornerback Champ Bailey or any other star of yesterday.
That being said, someone buy the secondary a map. Thanks.
Justin Tucker is a great kicker, and I know it's very hard to make field goals of more than 50 yards. But the really long field goals he made with ease his first year don't seem to be automatic anymore. Is this a problem the Ravens should be worried about? -- Bernie, Bel Air
Bernie, it is something to keep an eye on. If he starts missing from inside 40 yards, then be concerned.
If the Ravens make the playoffs, do you think Gary Kubiak will get a head-coaching job somewhere? Or is he going to be here for a little bit? -- Andrew F., Ocean City
Andrew, it is very early to be making these predictions. Try this one again after the season when teams start firing head coaches.
With three home games in the first four weeks, the Ravens have looked good. But now they'll play four of the next five games on the road. How many of those games do you think they'll win? -- Josh G., Parkville
FIVE! The purple kool-aid is great this time of year. Gulp it on down, big fella.
In all seriousness, we do a predictions post every week. The NFL is hard enough to predict while knowing the injuries and the current flow of the games. Trying to predict games five weeks out is impossible. Click back early and often.
Do you think Lardarius Webb will ever get back to his previous form or are his best days behind him? -- Tim, Towson
Tim, I wish I could tell you. Back injuries are tricky things to deal with. You never know how it will respond, and apparently the Ravens didn't feel this injury responded well enough for Webb to play against the Panthers.
At the quarter point of the season, have the Ravens exceeded your expectations? Are they a playoff team? -- Todd J.
As I have said in previous Q&As, I think the Ravens are an 8-8 or 9-7 team this season. You expect teams to win games at home, and hope they win games on the road. The Ravens have seven road games to go. Let's see how they do over the next five weeks. That will tell you if they can get that magical 10th win that will make them a playoff team.