Hey , Jamison ! Ravens Beat Reporter Answers Your Questions

HEY JAMISON

November 20, 2009|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. Write Hey, Jamison! in the subject field and provide your name, the city you live in and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.

HEY, JAMISON: : In the past few games, there seems to be no continuity to what the offense is trying to do. Whether it be run, pass or establish a good mix, it all seems so disjointed.

Do you think this is a result of poor game-planning by Cam Cameron? Joe Flacco appearing to be lost lately? Receivers who aren't getting open? Or the line seemingly not being able to block anyone on passing downs? Or maybe a mix of all four, but I am interested to hear your opinion.

Michael Sadler Baltimore

HEY, MICHAEL: : It all boils down to having an identity. Last season, the Ravens had a rhythm offensively because they prided themselves on being physical and running the ball down defenses' throats. Now, watching the Ravens' offense is like sitting through an episode of "Lost." You just can't figure it out.

The Ravens will use an unbalanced line (putting a sixth offensive lineman on the field) once and forget about it the rest of the game. They will go no-huddle a few times and then get away from that, too. And when it looks as if the Ravens are moving the ball, they commit a penalty. Derrick Mason said they have shot themselves in the foot so many times that he wonders whether they still have a foot. There's just no flow to the Ravens, and Cameron has to fix it.

HEY, JAMISON: : Is Billy Cundiff also expected to handle kickoff duties? Can Sam Koch kick off?

Philip Dell Severna Park

HEY, PHILIP: : Cundiff will handle kickoffs. It's actually one of the facets that separated him from Mike Nugent in the tryouts. Obviously, the Ravens had to release Steve Hauschka because of his field-goal kicking. But Ravens coaches were pleased with his kickoffs. With Hauschka, the average starting field position for Ravens opponents after kickoffs was the 25-yard line, which ranked 11th in the NFL.

As for the second part of your question, the Ravens talked about Koch kicking off when they drafted him. But he has never done it as a Raven. I always thought it was curious that they didn't allow him to try during the preseason, especially when they didn't want to use another roster spot for a kickoff specialist when Matt Stover was here. The Ravens didn't need Stover anyway, right?

HEY, JAMISON: : How could the Ravens get the ball on the opening kickoff and appear to not know that they needed to start fast? The first three plays should have been ingrained; they should have hit the plays like a knife through hot butter. Do you see any end to the malaise that is affecting the team?

Adam Panarese Pasadena

HEY, ADAM: : I used to think it was malaise. Now, I think it's the other "M" word - mental. There are times when a team hits a rut and starts feeling the pressure of failing to get out of it. Players will hear about the problem from the media, coaches and friends. This is when a team starts to press to fix it, but the problem only gets worse. I saw the same thing happen with the 2000 Ravens, the team that went through a five-game touchdown drought. I believe the Ravens will start scoring early again when they stop thinking about it. At this point, the Ravens' best option might be Dr. Phil.

HEY, JAMISON: : What is the real story behind Chris McAlister and the Ravens? It seems the media/reporters know more than the public about C-Mac and his relationship with the Ravens. Just a bad teammate? Injury? All but the New Orleans Saints took a pass for most of the year. What is the real story?

Doug Marshall Anderson, S.C.

HEY, DOUG: : McAlister is one of the most charming players you'll ever meet. But he was his own worst enemy at times. You only have to look at what has been printed to see that. In 2003, McAlister was suspended by Brian Billick when he skipped team meetings on the Ravens' trip to San Diego. At the end of the 2004 season, McAlister spoke out about a division in the locker room. That was likely true, but teammates didn't like his going public with it.

And last season, McAlister knocked heads with coach John Harbaugh, a rift that led to McAlister getting cut this offseason. With his track record - and questions about his knee injury - teams weren't going to look at McAlister unless they needed to do so. With two cornerbacks hurt, the undefeated Saints needed to do it.

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