Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

November 20, 2012|The Baltimore Sun

Gerald in Lancaster, Pa.: It's time to stop sugarcoating the Ravens' deficiencies just because we got the win. The fact is, Joe Flacco doesn't perform on the road. What was that play at the two-minute warning? A planned QB sack? Flacco all but kneeled down while Torrey Smith was wide open to the right. Can you imagine Tom Brady taking a sack and punting the ball to the opposition when a first down seals a victory?! The D isn't good enough his year to play this type strategy.

Mike Preston: Gerald, no, I can't see Tom Brady taking a sack and punting the ball in a similar situation Joe Flacco is no Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. He is playing poorly on the road and well at home, which is why I had no problems with him taking the sack. You answered your own question. He is no Tom Brady.

Andy in Hagerstown (actually sunny Key West): I have to ask about the systemic issues with our offense under Cam Cameron and John Harbaugh. I believe our ranking is 20th now. Have we really shown any significant progress since Cameron and Harbaugh have been here? Isn't it time for the Ravens organization to hope that a Norv Turner becomes available to run our offense? After all, Harbs always says we are looking to improve our football team.

Mike Preston: Every year, there are high hopes for the offense. Every year, the Ravens start off strong and they fizzle. Personally, I think Flacco has hit his ceiling with the offense and this offense is limited. I thought he had taken a major step this season, but he is back to being inconsistent. But, I'm also a big picture guy. The Ravens have been to the playoffs every year under Harbaugh, Cameron and Flacco, and a couple more key receptions or a made field goal puts them in one or two Super Bowls. In two AFC championship games, coaching didn't cost them, player execution did. We can get frustrated with certain aspects of the Ravens, but they usually overcome them.

I assume if the Ravens look to replace Cameron, they will look either up or down the hall to Jim Caldwell, the team's current quarterbacks coach. But I don't think that Cameron will be going anywhere.

Howard: Happy Thanksgiving! I've recently heard your concern with paying Joe Flacco "elite" QB money when the Ravens discuss his contract situation. My question to you is this: how can you not pay him what he wants? Flacco controls the dice. He and his agent know the Ravens don't want to go back into the draft for a QB? Flacco wins games. He doesn't make mistakes. Continue to get the guy more weapons. He will keep winning games!

Mike Preston: Flacco is a good quarterback, certainly one that can win the Super Bowl, but he isn't elite. Elite quarterbacks perform at a high level on the road as well as home. I would pay Flacco what he deserves and he should get paid as much as any quarterback in the top 5 to 10 range. As far as the draft, there is plenty of talent out there. All you had to do was watch Monday Night Football and watch that kid from the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, play. He is in his second year and threw the hell out of the ball. Whenever change is a possibility, fans love to say, "well, who can we get better? There is no one else out there."

They said that about Brian Billick, and the Ravens hired Harbaugh, and Billick can't get another job. Everyone is replaceable.

With that said, I have no problems with Flacco coming back. He has a strong arm, unselfish, modest and plays within the system. He is a team player. I hope they re-sign him, but the Ravens have to be careful about the price and not mortgage away the future. You don't pay a quarterback for being elite when he just becomes a game manager on the road or in certain situations. I don't think I'm asking for anything out of the way, Howard.

If Ray Lewis is able to come back late in the season from the triceps injury, do you think he will try to increase his playing weight again since he was getting pushed around frequently at the lighter weight? If he can return, it might work to his benefit, as he would not have been able to increase his playing weight during the season if he was healthy.

Because of inactivity, I assume Lewis would come back heavier if he returns this season. It would definitely help him because he was getting pushed around earlier in the season. A lot of people like to say the NFL has become pass happy, but the NFL is a league of opportunity. If you can't stop the run, teams will stay on you until you find a way to stop it. I think Lewis rolled the dice, and he lost when it came to weight reduction. He wanted to improve his chances of staying on the field in third-down situations, but it cost him when it came to stopping the run.

Mike B.: How good do you think the special teams have been this year compared to past years (including the 2000 season)? How good can they be and do you think they'll continue to play this way?

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