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Thursday's Mailbag!

Answering 30 questions that fans have about the Baltimore Ravens!


Here is something new we are trying out on Baltimore Beatdown. This is appearing on a Thursday due to technical difficulties, but it will normally be on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I, Victor Hensley, will be answering questions about the Ravens that fans have sent to me. I answer any question, as long as it isn't offensive. There may be a few idiotic questions involved in this, but I do my best to give an answer to any fan that wants one. This will occur every Tuesday, and I will include any question that is asked. These are mainly my opinion, so these do not reflect the views of everyone on Baltimore Beatdown. There are a lot of questions, so let's get started.

Q1: Are the Ravens considering trading for a LT?

As far as I know, the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome have not mentioned trading for a LT. There is speculation that the Ravens could re-sign Bryant Mckinnie, who would most likely act as their left tackle. The Ravens do not seem interested in acquiring a new LT in any way, shape, or form.

Q2: With the addition of Brandon Williams, will the Ravens still go through with putting Ngata at NT, or will he stay at DE?

I don't see Brandon Williams having any impact on where Ngata plays during the season. It seems as if Williams will not start any games, as they see him more as an occasional player. I think that Coach Harbaugh will stick Ngata where he will be most effective, and he will play Williams when he feels like he is ready.

Q3: With a full off-season at his disposal, what kind of offense will Jim Caldwell go with?

Jim Caldwell will run the offense the same as it was ran last season. It was effective and it won them a championship. The loss of Anquan Boldin could affect the amount of passes thrown by a small amount, but most of the offense will be run the same way. Ray Rice will still get many touches, with Pierce behind him getting a few touches here and there.

Q4: What will Courtney Upshaw's role be behind Suggs and Dumervil? Will there be a specialty package with all three of them?

Unfortunately, it seems like Upshaw could get less playing time with the addition of Dumervil. Upshaw is a young, dynamic player that had a great run with the Ravens in the playoffs last season. As far as them all being on the field at the same time, it would be very fun to see. Dean Pees will likely come up with something where Suggs and Dumervil are lined up opposite of Upshaw. Having these three players on the field at the same time could spell trouble for opposing defenses.

Q5: Will the Ravens give more touches to Pierce and balance out the run game?

I think that Caldwell will likely do this. After Rice collapsed and didn't play very well in last year's playoffs, it would not be surprising to see Pierce touch the rock a little more. Pierce looked much better than Rice in the post-season, and Pierce is a hard RB to figure out for some defenses, it would be nice to see Pierce get some more touches, something he got more and more of last season.

Q6: What numbers will Matt Elam and Arthur Brown be wearing?

Elam will be wearing #31, according to the Baltimore Ravens Roster, while Brown may wear #59, formerly worn by Dannell Ellerbe. His number has not yet been announced.

Q7: Are the Ravens going to go with a younger guy for the WR position? Or will they go with a veteran?

The Ravens and Ozzie Newsome seem like they want to see all of the young guys compete. Streeter, Mellette, Doss, Williams, Reed, and Gurley are all among guys competing for one of the starting WR spots. With all the young talent at receiver for the Ravens, it seems like they want to see what these guys can do. They have not said anything about bringing in a veteran to compliment Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith.

Q8: Terrence Cody: Eggs Scrambled or Fried?

After doing much research on this topic, I could not find how Terrence Cody likes his eggs. I am terribly sorry.

Q9: With the drafting of Arthur Brown and arrest of Rolando McClain, do the Ravens see Karlos Dansby as an option? If so, will Ozzie keep McClain, or will he cut him?

Before Brown was drafted there was a lot of speculation about the Ravens possibly grabbing Dansby. Now, it seems as if the Ravens aren't even considering him. There is a small chance that the signing of Dansby will occur.

Q10: Which RB, other than Rice & Pierce, excites you the most? (On the Ravens roster.)

Anthony Allen. Although Allen didn't get many touches during the season, he is a guy that could develop into a definite back-up RB. If the Ravens could get Allen more reps, and teach him the fundamentals a little more, we could possibly have a "three-headed monster" with Allen, Rice, and Pierce.

Q11: What do you think Christian Thompson's role will be with the addition of Huff and Elam?

I don't see Thompson seeing the field much, unless it doesn't work out with Huff or Elam. Huff and Elam will hopefully play the safety position with perfection, making Thompson's role very limited.

Q12: What is the status on the extensions of Michael Oher, Dennis Pitta, and Arthur Jones?

As far as I know, Oher and Jones are not free agents, and they will be with us next year. I am not sure about the contact developments with Dennis Pitta, but it seems as if all three men will certainly be on our team next year. Nothing to worry about there.

Q13: Who will be competing for the LT spot?

I see the two main candidates as Mckinnie or Osemele. Of course, Mckinnie will have to be re-signed if he wants to be the starting LT. Osemele played LT all throughout college, making him very familiar with the position. At LT next season, I see KO holding it down.

Q14: Which position did the Ravens reinforce the most during the off-season so far?

The Ravens mainly focused on the defense, which now looks stacked. It looks like they mainly reinforced the S position, as it was much needed after losing Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed. They added two big guys, Michael Huff and Matt Elam. These two guys have high expectations, as they both are young with great potential.

Q15: Thoughts on taking Matt Elam over Manti Te'o?

Taking Elam over Te'o was a decision by Ozzie that I thought was genius. We needed a LB bad, but the Ravens decided to wait. As they say, good things come to those who wait. The Ravens were able to snag LB Arthur Brown in the second round, after taking Elam in the first. To some, Brown is arguably better than Te'o. The Ravens decided to address the need of a safety first, which helped them out in the long run.

Q16: How many wins do you think the Ravens will get next season?

Since we have not seen the full roster yet, it is hard to say. At this moment, the defense seems better. With this better defense, I see the Ravens winning 9 or 10 games. My opinion could change after training camp and pre-season, but I think that this number will be about right.

Q17: Do you think Joe Flacco has the capability to throw for 4,500+ yards and 35+ TD's this season?

Does he have the ability? Yes. Will he? Probably not.

Joe Flacco only threw for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, the best ratio in his career. Flacco seems to be climbing the ladder and getting better each year, but I don't think he is quite at that level yet. I am a huge Joe Flacco fan, but this is a little much for him at this point in time.

Q18: Why did Joe Flacco receive such a big contract if he is not one bit elite and worse than Tony Romo?

To start, Flacco is much better than Tony Romo, and that's obvious. Romo chokes in big situations, while Flacco rises to the occasion, just like he did against Denver in the AFC Divisional Round.

The main question here is, is Joe Flacco elite? The word "elite" seems to be thrown around a lot. To be elite, you must be a winner in the playoffs. Joe Flacco has proved that he can win in the playoffs, as he showed this past season. Joe Flacco has won 9 playoff games, the same as Peyton Manning and 7 less than Tom Brady. Joe Flacco may not be elite yet, but he sure is making his way there. He is already on the bus to Elite Street; it's just a matter of time before it gets there.

Q19: Who is more valuable: Joe Flacco or Ray Rice?

This is a hard question, one that needs to be thought about. Flacco is the manager of the offense. He is the one that calls the plays, throws the passes, and organizes the offense. Ray Rice, on the other hand, is the man that scores most of the touchdowns on the ground, he gets many first downs, and he makes game changing plays.

As of now, I'd have to say Rice is more valuable. Rice is a Pro Bowler, a game-changer, and one of the best RB's in the NFL.

Q20: Do you feel that the supposed Ravens demise because of Joe Flacco's contract is greatly overrated?

Yes. Many Ravens fans like to over exaggerate when it comes to Flacco's contract. There were many people saying Joe was the reason why the Ravens lost so many players. In the end, the Ravens have had one of the best off-seasons so far. I guess Flacco is to blame for that, as well?

Q21: Will the Ravens win a Super Bowl again in the next five seasons?

I am hoping so. They have a great chance, especially with Pittsburgh being hurt in their division. The Ravens are now looking at possibly winning their division each of the next five years, which would put them in the playoffs each of these years. All the Ravens have to do is keep working, play well, and keep their eyes on the prize.

Q22: Who are the 5 best Ravens players currently?

In no order, I would have to say:

  • Torrey Smith
  • Ray Rice
  • Joe Flacco
  • Terrell Suggs
  • Haloti Ngata

There are many Ravens that are too young to put on this list, or I have not seen them play with this team. Elam, Canty, Dumervil, and Brown could all be players that appear on this list in the next few years.

Q23: How well do you think the Ravens defense will be with Lewis and Reed gone?

Even though two of the greatest defensive players ever are off the team, the defense has the potential to be better than last year. With the additions of Huff, Elam, Brown, Canty, Dumervil, and Spears, the defense looks like it can be faster and stronger. Also, Webb should be returning this year, making our secondary more dangerous than last season.

Q24: Did you like who the Ravens drafted?

Yes, here is what I think of the first & second round picks.

Matt Elam- A dangerous safety with a mentality like Ed Reed. Elam has the potential to be a ball hawk, something the Ravens are used to with Reed. Elam is a very hard hitter, something that Bernard Pollard was for the Ravens. Matt Elam fills a big need, and he looks like he could be a little bit of both Pollard and Reed combined.

Arthur Brown- A small, fast linebacker. Brown may look small, but he can hit hard, along with force a few turnovers. He has been compared to Ray Lewis, as he looks just like he did when he came out of college. It will be exciting to watch Brown develop as a young ILB.

I would give the Ravens an "A," since they were able to fill many of their needs, and get a few steals in the draft. S Matt Elam (Florida), LB Arthur Brown (Kansas State), DT Brandon Williams (Missouri Southern State), and WR Aaron Mellette (Elon) were among my personal favorites in this year's draft

Q25: Where do you have Joe Flacco in your Top 10 QB Rankings? What are your Top 10 QB Rankings?

Here are my Top 10 QB Rankings (unofficial):

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Peyton Manning
  5. Joe Flacco
  6. Eli Manning
  7. Matt Ryan
  8. Matt Schaub
  9. Russell Wilson
  10. Jay Cutler

Q26: Will Matt Elam and Arthur Brown be able to fill Ray Lewis' and Ed Reed's shoes?

It will be a hard task, but I think Elam and Brown could be the next Reed/Lewis duo. Elam looks a lot like Reed, while Brown is just like Lewis was when he came out of college. Both rookies know they have big shoes to fill, and they are going to try their best to do so. Only time will tell whether the two men can step up and be the next Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

Q27: Who has the best chance at winning the third WR spot?

I see the winner of the third spot being LaQuan Williams or Tandon Doss. Both guys got to see the field a few times last year, although they never did too many significant things on the offensive side of the ball. If I had to choose one of these two guys to win the spot, it would probably be Doss. Doss just needs to work on not dropping the ball, which could ultimately be his downfall as a starting WR.

Q28: Will the Ravens be the first team to go from winning the Super Bowl to going 0-16?

Highly unlikely. If you look at the AFC East, a division that they are playing, they play the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets. It is easy to see them winning all three of these games, but they will at least win one, which would make them 1-15 at the end of the season. I think they'll go over .500 with ease.

Q29: Do you think that Rolando McClain will make it to Training Camp?

At first I thought he'd be released quickly, but I think he will be. The Ravens seem to want to give him another chance after his awful mistake a week ago. I like him as a player, and it would be exciting to have him on the team, as long as his off-the-field issues are resolved.

Q30: Will the Ravens keep 2 FB's, or will they cut Leach?

I see them keeping both FB's. Leach is arguably the best FB in the league, and he helps make Pro Bowl RB Ray Rice look so well. Leach is an excellent blocker, and the Ravens wouldn't want to lose that kind of talent.

That is the end of this week's Tuesday (Currently Thursday) Mailbag. Since it is the first one, we are looking for feedback. We also would like to have a clever name for this, so tell us what you think! I am here to answer your questions, so go ahead and begin asking them for next week. Hopefully all your questions for this week have been answered.