Hey, Jamison

Hey , Jamison

January 02, 2009|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.

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HEY, JAMISON: : Why does Ed Reed always lateral the ball when he's about to be tackled after an interception? He did that twice Sunday, and the second time the Jaguars almost recovered. Does John Harbaugh tell him not to do that? Someone has to teach him to just go down and keep the ball.

Elliot Heller, Baltimore

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HEY, ELLIOT: : This is the part of Reed's game that annoys Ravens fans and coaches alike. When I asked Harbaugh on Monday whether it makes him nervous, he said: "What difference does it make if it makes me nervous or not? It's not going to matter."

The crazy part is that the players love it. In fact, they have a "pitch list" that names the players who are acceptable targets for laterals. If you pitch the ball to someone not on the list, you get fined.

Here's my suggestion: Harbaugh should have a "no-pitch list." Anyone who laterals the ball will get fined. Top on that list should be Reed.

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HEY, JAMISON: : Now that Willis McGahee has shown his true colors, how do you think this might affect the team, if at all? As for next year, the Ravens won't keep a "me" guy on this team, will they?

Jim Fantom, York, Pa.

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HEY, JIM: : I was surprised by McGahee's comments. He had appeared like a sympathetic figure earlier this season when he acknowledged that he had played like "doo-doo." Because he hadn't been a malcontent for most of the season (see Chris McAlister for the exact opposite), it seemed like a lock that the running back would return despite a lackluster season. But it could become a problem for the Ravens if McGahee continues to speak selfishly and becomes a divisive force.

The Ravens are essentially stuck in this situation. Releasing McGahee would force the Ravens to carry a huge chunk of dead money. If the Ravens cut him, his acceleration of prorated bonuses would cause the Ravens to take a $8.13 million cap hit. So it doesn't make sense to part ways with him. That is, unless the Ravens are determined to get rid of him no matter what the cost.

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HEY, JAMISON: : What went wrong in Cleveland for Phil Savage? He seemed to acquire talented players - surely that was not the issue, was it? If his relationship with Randy Lerner or Romeo Crennel was the problem, what caused the bad blood? Or was it simply a case of Phil trying to rebuild too fast and the expectation of fans in Cleveland being too high? And finally, where does this leave Savage?

Steve H?sler, Sparks

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HEY, STEVE: : I'm biased on this subject because I have always respected Savage. He manned the Ravens' scouting department that helped produce nine Pro Bowl players (Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Jermaine Lewis, Peter Boulware, Jamal Lewis, Todd Heap, Adalius Thomas, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs) in nine drafts.

Like most NFL observers, I thought the Browns were ready to take that next step into the playoffs after Savage added defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams to a team that sent six players to the Pro Bowl in 2007. But an increase in injuries and a lack of chemistry doomed Cleveland this season. It wasn't a lack of talent.

Savage will move on, and another team will benefit from the Browns' decision. I don't envision him coming back to the Ravens because their structure is set. Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston has a interesting theory on how the NFL personnel dominoes might fall. If Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli takes the general manager job in Cleveland, Savage could replace him in New England, where he has ties with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

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