Ravens Q&A with Mike Preston

  • Ravens tackle Michael Oher is seen here on the sidelines against the Houston Texans in October.
Ravens tackle Michael Oher is seen here on the sidelines against… (Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE,…)
January 01, 2013

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston answers a selection of reader questions on the Ravens' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Francis: Why did they even bother to play the game against the Bengals? It was a travesty from the fans' point of view. If I had paid to watch this game, I'd be asking for my money back. Don't the fans count anymore in the NFL?

Mike Preston: Francis, the only fans that really count in the NFL are the ones who pay for commercials, the corporate suites, and put logos all over complexes.  Why do you think that the teams still play four preseason games?  It is to make every dollar possible.  It is just good business, but poor as far as building relationships with fans.

The NFL has never cared about fans, only about stuffing money in their pockets.

JB: Did any of the backups really impress or surprise you in the Ravens’ loss to the Bengals?

Mike Preston: I was impressed by how hard running back Anthony Allen ran against the Bengals, and how aggressive cornerback Chykie Brown continues to play in press coverage. Allen showed a good drive by continuing to move the pile on a couple of occasions.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, all of the injuries this season have let us see what the second string can do all season.  

Bob K.: The number of penalties the Ravens commit, especially major ones, is very disturbing.  You would think this late in the season the Ravens would show more discipline and avoid these stupid penalties.  They are the league leaders in penalties committed.  Is it a coaching problem?

Mike Preston: Overall Bob, this is a coaching problem.  However, this team is still run by the veteran players, and look at players most commonly flagged for the personal foul penalties.  It is the veterans.  I am very interested to see what direction the Ravens go this offseason with a number of their veterans. Head Coach John Harbaugh will not have real control of this team until players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Anquan Boldin are no longer on the roster.  The Ravens are going to be tight against the salary cap again this offseason and these players could offer some much needed space.

Regardless, though, it is ultimately the head coach’s responsibility to control his players. The Ravens need more discipline and Harbaugh has to assert more control. Unnecessary penalties are costly during the regular season and even more in the postseason.

Richard in Dallas: Except for Christian Ponder, I'd take all the other playoff quarterbacks (including all three rookies) instead of Joe Flacco.  What does that say about the future Super Bowl hopes (and contract for Flacco) of the Ravens?

Mike Preston: Richard, I have a hard time arguing with you on this point.  Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers are elite. Matt Ryan is trying to get to that level but is still clearly a step behind by not having won a playoff game.  Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kaepernick are still young and have more developing to do. 

That leaves Matt Schaub and Flacco.  The book is out on these two and you have real questions as to if they can carry a team through the playoffs to a Super Bowl title this year. A season ago, Flacco played well enough in the postseason to get to The Show, but not in 2012.

At least Minnesota has Adrian Peterson...  

David Joyce: I would like to see the Ravens include Tyrod Taylor in certain packages.  Joe Flacco has struggled at times when the Ravens need short yardage for a first down.  Let Tyrod be the element of surprise.  In an obvious running situation he could pass to a tight end or have the option to run

Mike Preston: David, I might try the new wrinkle against Indianapolis this week because the Colts can’t stop the run, but in general, you do not take your quarterback off of the field.  Look at the mess that the New York Jets became with the Tim Tebow situation.  They ruined Mark Sanchez this season by yanking him off the field to put in Tebow.  Taylor is a good athlete but he is not an NFL level quarterback.  The Ravens need to address the backup quarterback position this offseason with someone like Mark Bulger again.

LordBern: Is it time to draft a decent second-string quarterback and groom him behind Flacco? If Flacco had gone down early in the season, I think the entire season would have been a wash with Taylor as QB. So many teams have had second-string QBs step up and do well as fill-in starters. Is it time to plan for that contingency with Flacco getting older?

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