Ravens - Lions Q&A Part 1

Once again, RavensInsider and RoarReport.com (Scout's Lions site) pull off a meticulously planned question and answer series. In part 1, Aaron Wilson of RavensInsider answers questions about the upcoming game from fans of the Detroit Lions. Look for part 2 soon when staff of RoarReport answer questions from Ravens fans.

Question: What are the biggest weaknesses of your defense? Are there certain situations or schemes the Ravens D seems to have more trouble with?
Answer: Nickel back Deion Sanders is 38 years old and is suspect against slot receivers. He can be beaten on crossing patterns. Plus, Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister has trouble with two routes: the double move and post corner.

Question: Who would the Raven fans rather see playing QB, your starter or our starter?
Answer: Wow, a tough question. Neither alternative is really desirable. I guess Joey Harrington. At least he was a first-round pick. Anthony Wright completed 71 percent of his passes last game, mostly safe, short stuff. Harrington is pretty erratic.

Question: What do you perceive is the reason for Detroit's sluggish start on offense this season?
Answer: Joey Harrington and the offensive line aren't really equipped to run the West Coast Offense. Harrington is too inaccurate and some of the blockers aren't good enough pass blockers. You would be better off with Jeff Garcia if he was healthy. You can tell Steve Mariucci doesn't trust Harrington because of the ultra-conservative approach.

Question: What are some of the reasons for the Ravens early season struggles? Is it just the quarterback situation or something else?
Answer: The offensive line is horrible, way too old. Jamal Lewis isn't himself after a prison term and ankle surgery. The Ravens have had issues at quarterback, too. Jim Fassel isn't being allowed to change the bad game plans, either.

Question: Tony Siragusa and Joey H seem to be good friends. If Joey gets cut, do you think Goose would lobby for Joe to find work in Baltimore?
Answer: Tony Siragusa has no pull here. He's an ex-player, a loud-mouth who wouldn't be called upon for a recommendation. I'm not sure if he even watches film anymore, too

Question: Cincinnati is 4-0. Baltimore is 1-2. Marvin Lewis was the reason for the success of years before, right?
Answer: Marvin Lewis was a major reason for their success, but it had more to do with Ray Lewis being in his prime and a fearsome defensive line than anything else.

Question: Who do you think the Ravens would rather play against, Harrington or Garcia?
Answer: That's easy. Joey Harrington. Jeff Garcia beat Baltimore last year in Cleveland and nearly beat them in Baltimore. He's a dangerous quarterback.

Question: Who do will score more points? Lions and Ravens Offense Or.... Lions and Ravens Defense
Answer: The Ravens' offense will score more points, set up by Lions turnovers.

Question: What are the Ravens / Lions Keys for victory?
Answer: Here's what I wrote about that:

How the Ravens can win:  1. Bait mistake-prone quarterback Joey Harrington into a critical mistake. Although the Ravens have yet to intercept a pass (Where is safety Ed Reed?), Harrington has already thrown five interceptions and figures to put the ball in the air today at home to his bevy of talented receivers. He has only three touchdown passes despite having three former first-round receivers to throw to and talented tight end Marcus Pollard. Even without Charles Rogers, the Lions have plenty of weapons.

2. Pound the football. This is the Ravens' top strategy offensively even though the running game hasn't looked so sharp or productive. Jamal Lewis might or might not be on the verge of a breakout game. There's only one way to find out. Give him the football, but mostly on the perimeter because the middle appears impenetrable.

3. Open up the passing game. Anthony Wright is obviously not an All-Pro passer, but he's a pretty smart quarterback with a strong arm. The Ravens should give him more chances to throw long to Derrick Mason and Todd Heap. They shouldn't be so conservative. Wright can throw deep if given the chance.

How the Lions can win:  1. Smother Jamal Lewis with inside penetration. Massive defensive tackles Shaun Rogers and Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson represent a tough assignment for center Mike Flynn and guards Edwin Mulitalo and Keydrick Vincent. Linebackers Boss Bailey and Earl Holmes can fill gaps quickly, too.

2. Isolate their slot receiver against Deion Sanders. Sanders looks uncomfortable playing against the slot as the Ravens' nickel corner. He prefers playing outside and is still getting the hang of his new role. Mike Williams or Kevin Johnson could get the start in place of suspended bad boy receiver Charles Rogers.

3. Establish the run with Kevin Jones. Jones isn't off to a great start with 147 yards and one touchdown, but seems to play much faster on artificial turf. Jones has speed that the Lions aren't utilizing.

Question: What will the Lions have more success trying to do against the talented Ravens D? Go to the air or run. Also what should we run or pass to, outside or inside?
Answer: The Lions should throw inside against Deion Sanders. He can be exploited.

Question: How do your CB's match up against our WR's in your opinions?
Answer: It's a fun matchup to watch. The Baltimore cornerbacks are very athletic, and Chris McAlister is big and strong enough to match up with the Lions' wideouts.

Question: Should our D try to create havoc on QB Wright or let him sit back there and just rush the front four? Such as would it be better try and force mistakes or let him make them himself?
Answer: I think it's a better approach to blitz Anthony Wright. He can get on a roll otherwise. He gets rattled sometimes and throws into coverage when pressured.

Question: Why is Brian Billick still employed? The guy is an offensive coach that hasn't once produced an NFL caliber offense with the Ravens. The Superbowl was won on the backs of a defense that Billick had nothing to do with. Does he get a pass because of Boller's suckitude?
Answer: Brian Billick has a career winning mark, that's why. Kyle Boller and the quarterbacks' issues could eventually be hung on Billick. There is less rope than there was a year ago.

Question: Is anyone confident that Wright can develop the kind of chemistry he had with Marcus Robinson, with Derrick Mason?
Is there any evidence of this in a practice or the grapevine?
Answer: There's some optimism that they could have great chemistry. It will be hard to approach what he had with Robinson, though.

Thanks for the questions and enjoy the football game.

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

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