Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

September 18, 2012

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston answers a selection of reader questions about the Ravens' 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

John in Westminster:  NFL Officials 24, Ravens 23. What is your call, Mike?

Mike Preston: John, my call is very simple. The officials stink, and it will be that way until the regular guys come back. With that said, I think the Ravens should stop whining and complaining, and just play. The referees are trying hard, but they are replacement officials. If I was John Harbaugh, I’d tell my players to pipe down, play and not let the officials get so deep into their minds that it affects their play on the field.

The bottom line, if I can borrow that from Ray Lewis, is that the Ravens need to make enough plays so that it takes the game out of the hands of the officials. It’s not like these guys are just cheating the Ravens. They spread the wealth as far as ruining every NFL game. Some people say the refs are inconsistent. I disagree. They are consistently bad.

Nick: Ray Rice ran all over the Eagles, and Joe Flacco had accuracy troubles in the second half at times. Why not give Rice the ball more? I would have thought they learned their lesson last year.

Mike Preston: I thought that myself, but they apparently think Joe Flacco is in the same class with Tom Brady.


Flacco is a good quarterback, certainly good enough to win a Super Bowl, but there are times when you have to take the ball out of his hands. Throughout the preseason and even the first half Sunday, Flacco has played well.

I’m not going to say he is still inconsistent like previous years. I think he just had a bad half. It happens. It’s up to assistant coaches -- CAM CAMERON -- to pull the plug on Flacco every once and a while.

There are some quarterbacks you live and die with even on bad days, like Peyton Manning, Brady, Drew Brees and Eli Manning. I’m willing to live with Flacco, but I’m not going to let him kill me.

No way.

JJ in Colonial Beach, Va.: Where was the hurry-up offense for the Ravens?  Why did they seemingly go away from it when it appeared to work so well in Week One?

Mike Preston: We never seemed to get a straight answer on that from Harbaugh. He alluded to Lincoln Financial Field being a loud stadium, so I assume that was the reason. When you watched that game Sunday, you left with a lot of questions because the Ravens got out of sync. But let’s not forget the defense. That group has given up more than 400 yards in each of the first two games.

I knew the Ravens would struggle this season, especially early, but that group has some serious problems.

Hopefully, no one will blame the performances on the officials. They are the scapegoats for the losers every week.

Alan: After the refs properly overturned the call that Michael Vick had fumbled, why wasn't intentional grounding called? It appeared that only offensive linemen were near the ball and it landed behind line of scrimmage. Tougher to score if the ball had been moved back.

Mike Preston: When you’re that close to the end zone, there is always a receiver in the area. Plus, how can you prove it was grounding? The ball did slip out of Vick’s hand before he pushed it forward. Regardless of what anyone says (see Ray Lewis), the officials got the call right.

They were two of 100 for the day, but they got that one right after they initially screwed it up.

Jami: The pass to Jacoby Jones late in the game in the end zone appeared as a TD on every replay or it was at least a pass interference on the defender.  The defender never had his back turned to the ball and was tangling with Jones all the way.  How is this not called correctly?  I felt that was the end of the game for the Ravens.  CBS actually acted like it was never an issue and the right call was made.  The only thing I saw on the play that could have been overturned is that Jones' foot looked close to the sideline.  I feel the Ravens beat themselves in this one, even if the stats appear a little lopsided.

Mike Preston: Jami, it was pass interference on Jones. After the game, the Ravens complained about the Eagles mugging their receivers down the field. Well, why didn’t the Ravens do the same thing to the Eagles? I’ve seen Michelle Obama give harder fist bumps to the president than the Ravens cornerbacks when it comes to being physical with receivers (apologies to Lardarius Webb).

You can push off when the two players are close to each other, but you can’t get caught with your arms extended. Jones had his arm out and that’s why he drew the flag.

Bob K.: Could you please tell me why John Harbaugh did not use his two timeouts at the end of the game?  Had he used them quickly, he may have been able to force a fourth-down punt.  What was he saving them for?

Mike Preston: I really don’t know. As of today, he still had two left from that game.

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