Hey, Jamison


November 14, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

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

: HEY, JAMISON: : If it's Rex Ryan's defense and Cam Cameron's offense, then what the heck is John Harbaugh's role in these two units for the entire season and in the individual game plans? Brian Billick was criticized for the team's lack of offense through the years. Was it just that he picked poor offensive coordinators? Please explain the head coach's role and what influence he has on the two coordinators' game plans and in-game play-calling.

Larry "Moose" Miller, Towson

HEY, MOOOOOSE: : Harbaugh is a constant presence in the building, flashing in and out of meetings. But Tuesday night is when he has his biggest influence. That's when Harbaugh calls Ryan, Cameron and special teams coach Jerry Rosberg together for a coordinators' night. He makes sure that all the game plans mesh.

On game days, Harbaugh always has his headset on and interacts with his coaching staff. While Cameron and Ryan make the calls, Harbaugh is still the head coach and has the final say. There are times when he'll tell Cameron that it's time to take a shot downfield. Or he'll let Ryan know that they've got to shut down the run on this first down. Throughout the game, Harbaugh is repeatedly giving input, which is just a reinforcement of what the coordinators agree on Tuesday night.

That's the biggest difference between Harbaugh and Billick. It seemed as if Billick was heavy-handed when it came to the offense. He let the offensive coordinator devise plays, but it was still Billick's game plan. Harbaugh seems to take a big-picture approach.

HEY, JAMISON: : Do you think the Ravens' long kicker, Steve Hauschka, will have a chance to stay on the roster? Why did they send Matt Stover out to kick the other long field goal? Do you think John Harbaugh will do that again?

Mike Singer, Ellicott City

HEY, MIKE: : The Ravens will make a concerted effort to make Hauschka active, although keeping a second kicker active is a luxury not too many teams can afford. Hauschka proved he could be a valuable commodity beyond that 54-yard field goal. The rookie placed all seven kickoffs inside the 4-yard line, including four in the end zone.

The big question is why Harbaugh didn't use Hauschka for the 50-yarder that Stover eventually missed. According to Harbaugh, the long kick was in the range that Stover conveyed to him. If the NFL's third-most accurate kicker says that, you tend to believe he'll make it. But since he missed it, Harbaugh might go with the younger leg for kicks of 50 yards and beyond.

HEY, JAMISON: : Is this the Ravens' best offense ever?

Donald Evans, Hampstead

HEY, DON: : This year's offense could go down as the second best. The one in 1996 was more dangerous and talented at wide receiver, offensive line and even quarterback. Joe Flacco could develop into a special quarterback, but Vinny Testaverde threw for 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns in the Ravens' inaugural season.

Testaverde had the NFL's strongest arm and could fire downfield to big-play wide receivers Michael Jackson and Derrick Alexander.

The offensive line in 1996 was so stacked that Jonathan Ogden played left guard. The only problem with that team was the offense averaged 23.1 points per game and the defense allowed 27.5 points.

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