Welcome everyone to The Baltimore Sun's live chat with Aaron Wilson. He'll be joining us around 3 p.m. today to answer your questions about the Ravens' upcoming game against the Detroit Lions (and whatever else you'd like to ask him). You can begin submitting questions now.
Hi, guys. Just got back from watching early portion of practice. Elvis Dumervil (ankle) isn't practicing. Brynden Trawick (ankle) returned to practice. Everyone else is practicing. And, in case you missed it, Calvin Johnson said he's prepared to show Matt Elam his "old-man strength" Monday night. Lets get started with questions.
He misspoke obviously. A lot of these young players aren't familiar with the ages of veteran players. As a rookie, he just knows Calvin Johnson has been in the NFL since he's been in high school. Not making any excuse for him, what he said wasn't good at all, but Calvin Johnson is going to play well regardless. Although Elam was mostly complimentary and later Tweeted how he meant no disrespect, it's too late. That said, I don't believe Calvin Johnson needs more motivation. He's plenty motivated enough. In talking to him on a conference call today, I got the sense that he was amused, not angry. He made it clear that he's not worried about Elam and why should he be? Elam hasn't made an impactful play all season, with no interceptions, two pass deflections and very few hard hits. So, Calvin Johnson won't be losing any sleep over this. We're expecting Elam to address his comments today during open locker room in a little bit.
Elvis Dumervil obviously has more than a bruise. He's got to have a sprain as well, which is what we were initially told. Not practicing today would lead me to think he's still bothered moderately by it and they are hoping to build in as much rest as possible. I'd be shocked if he's not playing Monday night and at a decent mobility level.
I think he does a nice job of shadowing receivers and has made a lot of progress. The next step is making more big plays. What got glossed over a bit Sunday was how he got beat on an inside move by Jerome Simpson for a touchdown. I think he's beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and has become a legitimate starting cornerback who's worthy of a second contract when his rookie deal expires. He's also matured a lot off the field.
I've covered one game at Ford Field, the infamous 'malice in his heart' game. It's super loud and the noise ricochets against the walls. They're a fairly fired-up, juiced-up crowd
It's a much different kind of spark he provides, a more tangible one in terms of yards, catches and touchdowns as opposed to the emotional impact involved with Ray Lewis' return. It's different because one player (Pitta) is quiet, laid-back and in his prime whereas Lewis' skills had declined, but he was still an important leader who got by on the field through his knowledge of the game. It's different.
The pass rush has become pretty stagnant with Terrell Suggs slowing down and not having a sack in five games and Elvis Dumervil hurt for the past game-and-a-half. They'll need to blitz to create pressure again. The four-man rush has hit a wall. Until Suggs and Dumervil snap out of it, or Dean Pees starts bringing more fire blitzes inside with middle linebacker Daryl Smith, I don't see the pass rush hitting stride again. Especially against quarterbacks with quick releases like Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady. Andy Dalton is a different story.
The Ravens are underdogs, as they will be for almost any road game, because of their 1-5 road record and proven inability to perform in the clutch away from M&T Bank Stadium. They've earned a bit of doubt in Las Vegas. The Lions perform much better on a fast turf at Ford Field.
He's a strong safety who told me basically that he prefers to play there and feels like he's playing out of position. I want to see what he would be like at strong safety operating as a run support enforcer and blitzing a lot, which is a role where James Ihedigbo has thrived. It's far too soon to give up on him. His rookie season has been impacted extremely negatively by having to play free safety right away and replace an inept Michael Huff after one game. Lets see what they do with him in the offseason before we pass judgment on him.
It was definitely better, but I would keep in mind that's a bad Vikings defense and factor that into your evaluation. I wouldn't start guzzling the Kool-Aid just yet because there are still issues with Joe Flacco's streaky game, the offensive line, Ray Rice not breaking tackles and a lack of a proven slot receiver. I think it's an improvement, but we've seen enough evidence that this offense has real problems that can't all be fixed during the season.
I did pick the Ravens, didn't feel very confident about my prediction, but I think they've got a decent chance of making the playoffs. It's going to take a little bit of good luck, but I feel like they're got at least a 60-40 shot of making it.
Yes, I think they're not being aggressive enough. That old cliche about a prevent defense preventing victory comes to mind. You have to keep covering and rushing in this league. Otherwise, you're a sitting duck.
I don't think they're necessarily built for a long run in the postseason given their fundamental flaws as a team that lacks a running game, commits too many turnovers and is vulnerable to deep passes on defense. That said, it would never shock me that with their playoff experience and how this league works that they could get on a roll in the playoffs and make some noise. To say it's likely, though, would be a stretch.
They really like you (Joey Flacco). You work very hard, treat people well, are positive about your teammates and don't throw people under the bus. You've delivered a Super Bowl victory and you've excelled in the playoffs. I think you're well-respected.
I really think it's Miami. I can't see anyone else like the Jets or Chargers getting back in this thing. It's Baltimore or Miami, and the Ravens face three first-place teams. Their tiebreaker head-to-head over the Dolphins looms large
Thanks, Aaron, for taking some time to answer questions today. And thank you to everyone else for stopping by to chat. We'll do it again next week, but first, enjoy Monday night's game.
Thanks, guys. Enjoy the game