Mike Preston answers fans' questions in his weekly Q&A

November 15, 2011|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

As he does each week after a Ravens game, Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston fields your fan questions about the team.

Eric in Jacksonville: Mike, this question sums it all up for Ravens fans: What the hell?

Mike Preston: I feel your pain, my brother. My only consolation is that I got paid to watch that performance turned in by the Ravens.

It was not fun to watch. Raking leaves might have been more exciting. 

Alicia K.: Why does a team built to run the ball go on the road against a pathetic Seahawks team and attempt 50-plus passes? Is Cam Cameron an offensive guru who was trying to outsmart a marginal team or is he just offensive?  Thanks.

Alicia, if they took a survey of the Ravens players, most of them would agree that what John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron did Sunday by tossing the ball around the park more than 50 times was inexcusable, unpardonable and unforgivable. I assume that if the Ravens don't go far in the playoffs, there will be severe repercussions for the offensive shortcomings, and a lot of fingers will be pointed at this game. This game was never out of hand for the Ravens, and there was no reason for them to abandon the run so early.

You know it. I know it. The players know it. In hindsight, Harbaugh and Cameron know it.

Zaineb: I know that the blame certainly has to go around for yesterday's loss. But at some point, can we say that if David Reed didn't fumble TWICE and give them those 6 points then we win the game? Does Harbaugh make the right move allowing him back in the game after that? Should we expect to see him in uniform this Sunday?

No, we just can't say that if Reed didn't fumble twice the Ravens would have won. It's not that simple. The play calling was poor. The team's best offensive ball player carried the ball only five times. The Ravens dropped a lot of passes. The Ravens defensive line got physically whipped. Seattle exposed the team's weakness as far as linebackers who can cover.

Hold up for a second. Let me catch my breath...

Ok, go...

The Ravens gave up a lot of big plays in the first half. The quarterback had an off day. The Ravens missed two field goals. The Ravens committed stupid penalties.

Now, for Reed, put him back there and give him another chance. If he stinks again, say goodbye and call him a cab.

Tom Collins: Mike, what exactly is it about the 4-3 defense that gives the Ravens so much trouble and why does it seem to be so hard for the coaching staff to figure out how to score against it? What should they be doing differently? How much of a role did the 4-3 play in the loss to the Seahawks?

To borrow Ray Lewis' favorite line, the bottom line is that the Ravens can't run against it. It's not just one thing for the failures, but a couple. The teams the Ravens have played this season have good defensive linemen, which is one of the reasons you run a 4-3 over a 3-4. The Ravens have an average offensive line, and at times just can't handle the match-ups. The Ravens have also struggled getting to the other team's middle linebacker and cutting off his pursuit. I think, because the Ravens struggle running the ball against the 4-3, when they fall behind, they panic and start throwing the ball all over the place.

Against Seattle, the Ravens abandoned the running game by the second quarter, and then it was bombs away. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens play Sunday against the Bengals, who also play a 4-3. The Bengals have an athletic front four and they always do a good job of taking running back Ray Rice out of the offense. They play two-deep coverage, and that has been a pain for Flacco.  I suspect that the Ravens won't get away from the run so early this week because they blew it in Seattle.

Ron from Owings Mills: Why doesn't Harbaugh understand the importance of winning the field position battle in games?  The Ravens were always in poor field position starting offensive drives, while the Seahawks started most of their drives in favorable position.

As a former special teams coach, I'm sure Harbaugh understands the importance of field position. The Ravens averaged only 7.5 yards on four punt returns and they lost two kickoffs because of fumbles. They also missed two field goals of 50 and 52 yards, which gave Seattle good field position. Ravens place kicker Billy Cundiff has been reliable, so I have no problems with Harbaugh allowing him to attempt the two long field goals. Overall, it just wasn't the Ravens' day.

Lamont: What happened to Jimmy Smith?  Is he in the doghouse or just way down the roster?  Thought he would at least play the nickle with Chris Carr struggling so badly.  Do you think he would have done a better job of covering their tight ends and why does it seem that the Ravens’ coaching staff isn’t using its most physical corner?

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