Hey Jamison

Ravens Beat Reporter Answers Your Questions

Ravens Weekend

October 03, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Each week, Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley will answer fans' questions about the Ravens. To submit a question, e-mail sports@baltsun.com. Provide your name and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.

HEY JAMISON: : I was beside myself Monday, watching the Ravens give up on an opportunity to win the game with 146 seconds on the clock. What does that say about [John] Harbaugh's confidence (or lack thereof) in the offense? I have never been a fan of the sacrifice bunt, and I will never understand the strategy of running out the clock in a tie game and possibly kicking the ball to a team that has already shown it can get in field-goal range.

David Rood, McGaheysville, Va.

HEY JAMISON: : With the score tied, one timeout left and over a minute and a half left in the game, why did the Ravens run out the clock when they got the ball back at the end of the fourth quarter? I was absolutely irate. It was the biggest mistake of the game.

Tom Quayle, Sacramento, Calif.

HEY DAVID & TOM: : I totally agree with both of you. Harbaugh was too conservative on critical decisions throughout the game, and it cost him. My philosophy is you go for the win in regulation when you're on the road, especially when you have momentum on your side.

The argument could be made that the Ravens were backed up at their 13-yard line and had only one timeout. But they had just driven down the field 76 yards on their previous series. Joe Flacco was in a rhythm, completing passes of 15, 10 and 35 yards to Derrick Mason on that drive. The Ravens need to be more aggressive in that situation.

HEY JAMISON: : Why no passes to [Todd] Heap against the Steelers? Maybe he and Flacco haven't been introduced yet or maybe there is something I am not aware of, which is entirely possible.

Larry Patterson, Chambersburg, Pa

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HEY LARRY: : There are two factors at play here. First, the Ravens' priority is to protect Flacco, their big-time investment. So, there has been a lot of maximum protection, which means Heap stays to block rather than run routes. The second part is Heap missed a chunk of training camp and the preseason because of a calf injury. It was during that time when Mason said he developed a chemistry with Flacco.

Going forward, the Ravens need to find a way to get Heap more involved in the passing attack, whether that means splitting him out wide or designing some quick-hitting plays to him. He is one of their top playmakers on offense, and it seems as if his talent has gone to waste so far.

HEY JAMISON: : I feel as if an old [Brian] Billick tactic is beginning to show with Harbaugh - making excuses for the players. For example, the penalties Monday. [Antwan] Barnes had two - a critical hold on the overtime return and his head slap in the first half. I think a clear statement needs to be made by the coach to stop the penalties. Pull the player out of the game. Your thoughts?

Norman Figgs, Bethel, Conn.

HEY NORMAN: : You can't expect a coach - especially a first-year one - to point fingers publicly at his players this early. That would only lead to another mutiny by the players. Of course, I don't see Harbaugh just coddling the players. He has tried to instill discipline through tougher practices, longer meetings and even bed checks during training camp.

Plus, Harbaugh brings intensity. When Jarret Johnson was flagged for that critical unnecessary roughness penalty, Harbaugh confronted him about it on the sideline. Harbaugh isn't going to embarrass his players through the media, but he demands accountability inside Ravens headquarters.

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