Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

December 07, 2010

Each week, Sun columnist Mike Preston answers a selection of reader questions about the previous week's game, the upcoming game and the status of the Ravens as a whole.

Jay: Why does Joe Flacco take the play clock down to 1 second every play? Is that his fault or Cam Cameron's fault for not getting the play in fast enough? It seems like he doesnt have enough time to read the defense pre-snap because he's hurrying to get the play off.

Mike Preston: Actually the Ravens usually get in and out of the huddle pretty quickly, and they work on that type of tempo every day in practice. Maybe you might be watching in the second half when the Ravens have a lead, and they are trying to intentionally run time off the clock. There have been some problems, like there are with every team, but for the most part the Ravens are pretty effective in managing the clock in a game.  

Curb J.: Mike, now what? We have a good team but not a great team. What is missing? I don't think this team can do it this year. It just seems something is missing.   Mike Preston: You are right. There is something missing. One thing is for sure -- they are missing an identity on offense. On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh seemed to suggest he wanted to go back to running the ball. In the past two years, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has tried to turn the Ravens into a passing offense. I think there should be clear-cut goals and objectives both on offense and defense. But this missing ingredient might be more than just having an offensive identity. If I knew, I'd certainly offer it to the Ravens. If Harbaugh knew, he would have implemented it by now.   Dennis: Mike, I know a lot of people will blame player execution for this loss (Landry missed tackle; Joe's short arm throw.) However, I blame the coaches. We had the Steelers down and the coaches went conservative instead of having a killer instinct to put the Steelers away. Mike, do you think Harbs' inexperience is the reason for this? I do.

Mike Preston: I believe that Harbaugh has good common sense when it comes to football and a strong feel for the game. I think he needs to rely more on his gut feelings, and impose more of his will on his offensive and defensive coordinators. Sometimes, a young head coach can be intimidated by older assistants, especially coordinators. Harbaugh, though, knows that football games are won in the trenches. He knows about having that killer instinct. There are times when he needs to step up and say, 'We're going to do it this way,' instead of going in the other direction and then having to defend his coaches.   Justin: Can you discuss your thoughts on Dawan Landry's tackling? In addition to today's missed tackle to allow [Pittsburgh's Isaac] Redman, a third string (!) RB to score, the other play that comes instantly to mind is getting completely run over in the Falcons game to allow their RB to score their first TD. These are plays that you know without a doubt that [Troy] Polamalu would make.

Mike Preston: Landry is a tough competitor and will knock the snot out of you. He likes to hurl his body around, but just doesn't wrap up with his arms. He couldn't wrap up a piece of cheese in a sandwich bag.   Charles: Is that last fumble something that would be considered Flacco's fault as Cris Collinsworth was implying in his post-game commentary? What is any quarterback supposed to do when a blitzing DB comes in untouched. He barely had enough time to set up and throw.

Mike Preston: Unless Flacco has developed a new set of eyes in the back of his head, he had no chance. Fortunately for Flacco, he only lost the ball. Polamalu can knock you into another world.   John: Mike, why does Cameron throw fade routes again and again in goal-to-go situations when it NEVER WORKS for us. He needs to go back to wine-and-cheese football on the WEST coast and give us our football team back.

Mike Preston: Now, John-John,  no name calling. The Ravens have to work on their red-zone offense. Cameron likes those fades like Brian Billick. We don't see any picks, or any floods, and very seldom does Cameron let Flacco throw inside, maybe because Flacco holds the ball too long. Regardless, the Ravens have to fancy up the play selection.   Huntman: How can the D play three levels better than it has all season and the O has a nervous breakdown? Inquiring minds want to know.

Mike Preston: The offense stunk, but also remember the Ravens defense was playing against a team that was missing several starting offensive linemen, and against a quarterback that had a broken bone in his foot, and one in his nose. The bottom line is that neither side could finish the game, a recurring problem for the Ravens in 2010. 

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