hey, Jamison

Hey Jamison

ravens beat reporter answers your questions

October 24, 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 am wondering whether the Ravens are thinking about drafting another tight end to push Todd Heap. What are your thoughts on why he is used more for blocking than what he is best at?

Jerome Cone, Baltimore

HEY, JEROME: : How the Ravens have used Todd Heap is one of the biggest surprises of the season for me. I understand the need to keep an extra blocker to protect the investment in Joe Flacco. But Heap is a legitimate playmaker in a Ravens passing offense that doesn't have many. The Ravens are doing the defense too many favors by having Heap block.

As far as the future, Heap will be 29 next season and is signed through 2011. It'll be interesting to see whether the Ravens want to pay $3.6 million to Heap next season in this new role. Either way, the Ravens need to get younger at tight end. So the Ravens will likely draft one, but it's too early to guess how high.

HEY, JAMISON: : The Ravens should consider putting Troy Smith and Flacco in the backfield at the same time. The offensive options should confuse any defense. Smith can be a runner, a receiver out of the backfield, a passer (even to Flacco!), and can take a direct snap to further confuse defenses. Few other NFL teams have a backup quarterback with the talents of Smith that allows them to create such offensive options. What do you think?

Don Gordon, Pikesville

HEY, DON: : It seems as if you're thinking like linebacker Terrell Suggs, who recently lobbied for Smith to get into games during a radio interview. It's a good bet that Smith will be on the field at some point over the next couple of weeks. Smith was just elevated to No. 2 on the depth chart, which means he is healthy enough to play again. I'm not sure whether the Ravens are thinking of using Smith and Flacco at the same time, but it's an interesting idea.

My guess is they'll have certain packages for Smith they'll use a couple of times each game. Because Smith is more elusive than Flacco, it would be a changeup for defenses if the Ravens sprung Smith in the middle of games. The Ravens could design some option plays or move Smith out of the pocket on bootlegs. The Dolphins have their "Wildcat" offense. The Ravens could have their "Heisman" offense.

HEY, JAMISON: : Sam Koch has been absolutely destroying the ball this year. I can't remember the last time I saw a punter average 59 yards a kick in a game. How does Sam stack up against the rest of the punters in the league? Is he our next Pro Bowler?

Mike McQuigg, Miami Beach, Fla.

HEY, MIKE: : Koch probably had the best punting day in Ravens history Sunday. Facing a crosswind in Miami, he hit all three of his punts inside the 15-yard line, including two inside the 7. His best was a 63-yarder that went out of bounds at the Miami 3.

That game boosted Koch to No. 1 in the NFL in net average. His 42.9-yard net average is more impressive considering it's at least a yard better than the previous bests the past three seasons in the NFL: Shane Lechler (41.1 in 2007), Dustin Colquitt (39.3 in 2006) and Donnie Jones (39.3 in 2005).

If he continues this pace, Koch will put himself in the conversation for a Pro Bowl invitation. The Buffalo Bills' Brian Moorman is the punter to beat after going to the past two Pro Bowls for the AFC. But Koch has a better punting average and net average than Moorman this season.

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