Each week, Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley will answer fans' questions about the Ravens. To submit a question, e-mail email@example.com. Provide your name, the city you live in and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.
HEY, JAMISON: : I've read multiple reports that Paul Kruger has refused to play special teams, which is why the Ravens have kept him off the active roster for each of the first three games of the season. Have you heard the same, or does he just not have the skill set to do so? If it's the former, I think this guy needs to be kicked off the team. If it's the latter, then when do you expect him to ever get on the field given our depth at the position? Frankly, I think it was a wasted second-round pick. We should have selected the best big corner we could get and hope to develop him.
Ralph Totoonchie New York CityHEY, RALPH: : Wow, Kruger has been inactive for three games and it's turned into some sort of conspiracy. Believe me, there's no grassy knoll over at The Castle. It amazes me how many fans are fixated on Kruger. It's even spread to the Totoonchie residence in New York!
Since joining the Ravens beat in 2000, I've never heard so much interest about a rookie being on the bench. No one was writing in when defensive lineman Dwan Edwards (second round, 2004) was inactive for 12 games in his first season. No one was burning up the sports talk airwaves when offensive lineman Adam Terry (second round, 2005) sat for nine games during his rookie year. Why are people so enthralled with this year's second-rounder?
The way I see it, the game-day decision comes down to Kruger or Antwan Barnes as Terrell Suggs' top backup. Because Barnes is more valuable on special teams, he plays. Barnes is second on the team with five special teams tackles. So keeping Barnes active makes sense. Kruger had a solid training camp and preseason. But this is a numbers game on Sunday. Kruger is simply the odd man out. "At some point in time, he's going to be really important to us," coach John Harbaugh said Monday.
HEY, JAMISON: : Do you find that it's more challenging to write about the team when they are playing so well on both sides of the ball, there are very few injuries, and the attitude in the locker room seems so positive?
Steve Hasler SparksHEY, STEVE: : This is a beat writer's nightmare. No one is acting up (psst, Ravens, Chris McAlister can still be signed). No one is crying about a lack of carries (ah, the good old days with Jamal Lewis). Maybe that's why everybody is so hyped on Kruger-gate.
Honestly, it's easier to cover a team that is winning than one that is losing. I remember 2007, when the Ravens lost nine straight games. Reporters walked into the locker room that season and we talked to each other because no players wanted to chat with us. I did learn a lot about how my fellow reporters were doing, like Ed Lee's poker game and Don Markus' soccer team. Believe me, I'll take the wins.
HEY, JAMISON: : Is it true that the players declared "inactive" on game day don't get a game check? If so, are the coaches hesitant to put an injured veteran on the inactive list for that reason?
Shawn Walker AnnapolisHEY, SHAWN: : All players on the 53-man roster get paid whether they score the game-winning touchdown or are declared inactive before the game. (These rules don't apply to reporters. If I decide to be inactive on game days, I will likely get a nasty phone call from my sports editor instead of a fat check.)
NFL players' salaries are broken down over the 17-week season. So a player receiving the rookie minimum is guaranteed to make $18,235 each week as long as he is on the roster (and it's guaranteed for the entire season if he is on the season-opening roster). Also, practice squad players make $5,200 per week - and they're the equivalent of cheerleaders come game time.
Deciding whether to play an injured veteran is mainly between the player and the team doctors. Most players want to suit up because teams won't keep injury-prone players the next season.
HEY, JAMISON: : Why is it that if the defensive player touches, grabs or in any way comes in contact with the offensive player's face mask, it is a 15-yard penalty, but if the offensive player stiff-arms or pushes off the defensive player's face mask it is OK, no penalty?
Steve Noyes Bel AirHEY, STEVE: : Funny you mention this because stiff-arming is supposed to be a point of emphasis for officials this season. We'll see if it's called. For me, there are too many rules being "emphasized" or added in the NFL. Sure, it's for the players' safety, but football is meant to be rough, brutal and nasty. Let's keep it that way.