Ravens Insider subscriber Q&A

Subscribers to Ravens Insider have access to the RI Club Level where they can discuss Ravens football unhindered by pesky Browns and Steeler fans. Today Aaron Wilson answers a few questions posted in there this week.

Question: I'd like to know if the Ravens' offer to Clayton is what Billick implied ($8.1) Any idea?

Aaron Wilson: The basic money was agreed upon for Mark Clayton's contract all week, but the structure of the guaranteed money, about $5.75 million, and the $2.5 million escalator clause in the fifth year were haggled over until Friday night when the deal was consummated. Perspective: It was a five-day holdout. At least it didn't last 98 days like the time Ben Dogra kept Bryant McKinnie from reporting to the Minnesota Vikings in 2002.

Question: Are the Ravens using those internal body temperature monitors like they use in Jacksonville to prevent complications from the heat?

Aaron Wilson: No, apparently that amount of technology won't be necessary. Remember, it's Maryland, not Florida. I used to cover the Jaguars, and the heat is oppressive.

Question: I 'd like to know if there have been any changes in the offensive line schemes. Have you noticed more pulls or trap

Aaron Wilson: Yes, they are able to pull more with the improved quickness at right guard after signing Keydrick Vincent from the Steelers. He has much greater movement capabilities than the immobile Bennie Anderson. Vincent isn't all quickness, he's powerful at the point of attack, too.

Question: Aaron, do you think the Ravens change of coordinators will improve their in-game adjustment ability next year. It seems that others teams always made half-time adjustments to account for our tendencies, while we did not do the same. An example that comes to mind is the Indy game, in which they came out in the 2nd half and beat us soundly after our impressive 1st half defensive showing. In contrast, we continued to do nothing about Dwight Freeny's incessant blitzing and dominance of John Ogden for the 2nd half. Even basic things - like sending a TE over to block or running right at him - were not done. Thoughts?

Also, speaking of Freeney, have you heard from coaches that they will be game-planning for him differently in the opener?

Aaron Wilson: I think Jim Fassel and Rex Ryan will make better adjustments, although Mike Nolan was no slouch in that area. Jim Fassel has seen it all, so I expect him to be able to adjust on the fly. They'll have a plan for Freeney, but remember his shoulder is bothering him so it's a fluid situation. Far too early for game-planning for Indianapolis.

Question: Any chance PJ makes this team on special teams, meaning they carry like 5 or 6 receivers including him? He's clearly outperformed DVD but it's hard to see replacing a high draft choice, and it seems all the others are locks (I'd call Hymes a lock by now). Can PJ return punts? I read that he once beat Carl Lewis in a track meet, so he must be darn fast.

Aaron Wilson: Patrick Johnson has a legitimate shot as he's a good special-teams performer. Patrick hasn't done much as a punt returner, he's better at kickoff returns, but he needs work in that area. I doubt they shelve their plan to go with B.J. Sams. He has to make it on kick coverage. He's extremely fast, don't rule him out.

Question: Will the Ravens use the shotgun this year? Given the weaknesses of our O-line in pass protection I always thought they should try that more to give Boller time, and I think I even heard Fassel in the off season say they would. But I haven't seen it practices at camp nor heard many people talking about it. If they did use it, how much would it even help (how much time does it add for the QB to throw)?

Aaron Wilson: The shotgun isn't necessary since Kyle Boller drops back from center quickly, sometimes way too quickly. They'll run it in some situations, but not a bunch.

Question: How much do you think the starters (on both sides) will play in the pre-season games, especially the last one (to which I have tickets)? Do they typically increase PT or decrease it from the first to last pre-season games? Thanks Aaron!

Aaron Wilson: The starters will play a couple of quarters as usual in the preseason game, perhaps even less in the preseason finale to protect against injuries. Remember, the starting jobs are pretty set so you don't want to risk valuable people.'

Question: Aaron, could you give us some of the different things we will see on offense this upcoming season compared to seasons past.

Aaron Wilson: Increased motion, vertical routes and timing patterns.

Question: I saw Tellis Redmond yesterday looking decent, and, of course, Abney is back and appears healthy. Did Sams' muffs against the Jet and Bengals make him vulnerable?

Aaron Wilson: I think B.J. Sams will retain his job. His fumbles are chalked up to the proverbial rookie wall more than inadequate ability or consistency. I think if the hamstring problem is more serious than he says, Sams said it's not major, he'll be fine.

Question: With these new blocking schemes we've heard about, are the Ravens coaches growing more concerned that 2 of their top 3 running backs still haven't practiced and almost the entire offense has been "installed"?

Are they still looking to pick up a player off the street like we heard they were interested in Chapman?

Aaron Wilson: They're not entirely comfortable with what's going on, but they knew it would be this way and they're pleased with what Alex Haynes, Tellis Redmon and Chester Taylor have done thus far.

Jamal Lewis will eventually be back, but rust and timing are issues with him obviously. I don't know if they'll bring in Chapman since Redmon and Keith Burnell look solid. Musa Smith's leg injury is healing slowly, so I doubt he will be a factor in the first half of the season. He hasn't made much of an impact and this broken leg is a major setback.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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