Welcome to today's Ravens chat with The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. He will join us around 2 p.m. to talk about Sunday's Ravens-Browns game and more, but you can begin submitting questions now.
Welcome to the chat, everyone. We'll be starting in about five minutes. Submit your questions now.
The Ravens are planning to slowly work Bernard Scott into the rotation. Bernard Pierce has been a lot healthier this week with his strained hamstring improving since the bye week. Ray Rice's health has improved. Whether that leads to increased production remains to be seen and it's definitely safe to question if the running game is going to be upgraded given how much they've struggled through seven games. The lack of blocking, the quibbling about the blocking schemes and the lack of elusiveness and broken tackles by the backs has all added up into a lackluster running game. Scott could provide some speed on the perimeter and an ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Whether he knows the playbook enough to contribute immediately is something to keep an eye on
Jason Campbell really impressed me against the Kansas City Chiefs with his arm strength and pocket presence. He had decent timing with Josh Gordon, who's especially dangerous. Their running game doesn't do much for me since Willis McGahee is up in years and has obviously slowed down, but they have the makings of a good passing game. They're very stout upfront on defense. Barkevious Mingo is a talented pass rusher. And they have a lot of players with at least one sack, 15 overall, for 26 sacks. Ray Horton is an aggressive defensive coordinator. And Joe Haden is emerging as a lockdown cornerback. What the Browns lack is the knowledge of how not to lose games and seem to always make a critical mistake. They'll give the Ravens a tough challenge on Sunday, though.
I think he has a decent chance to get back his roster spot following his eight-game suspension, which ends next week. The Ravens can get a roster exemption for him while they figure out what they want to do. One possibility would be to cut one of the safeties, Omar Brown or Brynden Trawick, that was promoted this week, and, if they clear waivers, place them back on the practice squad. Jackson has good speed and return skills and could help the special teams in kick coverage this season. I think he's worth a roster spot, but we'll see if the Ravens have a need for him.
Yes, in a sense. I think they will continue to utilize the three-wide receiver sets, shotgun formation and no-huddle schemes that revitalized the offense in the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't see them throwing deep a ton unless the pass protection is consistent. What seemed to get Joe Flacco into a rhythm against Pittsburgh was a series of short to intermediate dink-and-dunk throws. That was an effective strategy. Other than Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, there isn't a lot of speed outside. Flacco has a proven connection with Smith, but it's been off lately as defenses have bottled Smith up. With Jones, the timing isn't there so far this season. They need to keep taking shots, but they've got to make more of these opportunities. Their lack of deep-pass accuracy has held this offense back this season.
I don't think John Harbaugh is okay with any of that as far as players complaining about blocking schemes or being slow to pick them up. What Bryant McKinnie was referencing is something Juan Castillo said when he was trying to get the players to be patient with their adjustment to his blocking principles. Because the players haven't taken to his schemes, the Ravens are going to use more of the basic approach that worked for them last season. There will still be zone-blocking looks, just not as much of them going forward
What they really need is more third-and-short, manageable situations. On third downs, they've struggled because they're constantly in third-and-longs. They've converted just 42 of 114 third downs, a 36.8 percentage. It's tough to play winning football, but your point about needing more creative ideas for those situations is on point.
According to team and league sources, the Ravens haven't displayed interest in Kenny Britt. They have a healthy amount of reservations about his character, his game and the condition of his knees. I was told they made no offer and weren't significantly involved in trade discussions. It was quiet for them leading up to the NFL trade deadline.
I take it you're a Wildcat formation fan. It's been a few years since the Ravens had Tyrod Taylor line up at wide receiver. They don't like to run a lot of trick plays, but have that kind of stuff, like all NFL teams, in their arsenal of plays. It's something they've had on the back burner. It's tough to win with gimmick plays. The Ravens' time is probably best spent on fundamentals and trying to improve their timing and blocking to improve their passing game and running game.
Jameel McClain is one of the most cooperative, introspective players on the current roster. Torrey Smith is a solid interview who makes himself available consistently. Joe Flacco has become more willing to speak freely this season. In the past, Trevor Pryce, Bart Scott, Tony Siragusa and Shannon Sharpe were some of the better interviews in franchise history during my time covering the team.
I would say the best-case scenario on Dennis Pitta's return is late November or early December. Everyone close to the situation remains convinced he'll play this year. It's just a matter of when. I would doubt it's in the next few weeks, so I wouldn't be overly optimistic. It's a process with such a serious injury, having fractured and dislocated his right hip early in training camp. He's determined to play, I can tell you that, and doesn't want to wait until next season. He's heading into unrestricted free agency and the Ravens will make every effort to hold onto him as long as he makes a healthy return.
They have run more no-huddle lately, but use it more as a method to speed up the tempo for the passing game. I think it's an okay idea, but it takes a lot out of the backs and linemen to run the football out of a no-huddle with no breaks.
I have my doubts unless he gets bigger and stronger, which may be tough for him to do. He looks maxed out size-wise to me. I know the Ravens have some high hopes for Ryan Jensen, a sleeper from Colorado State-Pueblo that they've been developing as he recovers fully from foot surgery. I could see Gradkowski and Jensen competing for the job possibly next summer.
Marlon Brown's snap counts tend to generally be higher than Tandon Doss. Brown should be making more contested catches given his size and leaping ability. I agree that Doss is emerging as a more dangerous threat in recent weeks, displaying solid hands and toughness. Against the Browns, I would go with Brown given that he scored a touchdown against them in the first game.
I believe there's a renewed sense of urgency from talking to the guys in the locker room and people around the building here at The Castle. While I see them beating the Browns in a close game, I don't feel nearly as confident about their ability to match up with the Bengals. To me, that looks like a loss waiting to happen, but that's why they play the games.
Joe Flacco does have the green light to audible, but it doesn't look like he's changing plays very often this season. What would help Joe more than increased freedom is more time to throw and better separation from receivers not named Torrey Smith
Thanks to everyone for joining our live chat. And a special thanks to Aaron Wilson for taking time out of his day to answer some questions. Join us again next Thursday for the next chat. And don't forget to join us Sunday for the live chat during the Ravens-Browns game.
Thanks for the questions, guy