Chat with Jamison Hensley
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley stops by to chat.
Hensley joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun for 11 years. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he lives in the Baltimore area with his wife.
Send your questions now and join Hensley Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:00 PM)
Thanks for stopping by to chat. I will try to hit as many questions as possible. Let's get started ...
eric buffalo,ny [via mobile]
I'll tell you why the Ravens will never win the super bowl, two reasons joe flacco and john harbaugh! There the two biggest jerks in the nfl. 2 classless crybabies , the last drive against the eagles everytime there was an incomplete pass there crying and screaming at the refs. And who can forget last year when they acted like they won the super bowl both times they beat pittsburgh. Karma will always come back to get you...
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:03 PM)
I don't think being "classless crybabies," as you put it, caused Lee Evans to drop that pass in New England or Billy Cundiff to miss that field goal. And for the record, the Ravens aren't the only team complaining about the refs.
You see T.Smith busting out to a good year as season wears on for ravens?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:04 PM)
My prediction was that Torrey Smith would end up being the No. 1 receiver. He had such a good offseason and training camp. It's only two games, so I'm not going to change my prediction yet. It took him some time to get started last year as a rookie as well.
Jamison how long before we see mendenhall in the starting RB position for Steelers? You think he can overcome injury and be a solid performer? Steelers could use him back there!
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:05 PM)
Never a big Mendenhall fan. He really ran timid last year. Mendenhall showed no patience for holes to open inside and wanted to bounce everything to the outside. The Steelers' best option, in my opinion, is Jonathan Dwyer. But this is a position that the Steelers need to address next offseason.
Auto4Short (Homersville OH)
JH the Bengals have looked awful these past 2 games. When our injured CB's return, Dunlap returns, and Moch gets off his suspension can this defense turn it around and have us headed to back to back winning seasons?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:07 PM)
The key is getting Carlos Dunlap back. Before his injury in the preseason opener, he was the best defensive player that I saw during my AFC North training camp tour. The problem with Dunlap has always been injuries. The cornerbacks have looked old early this season. Getting Dre Kirkpatrick back, whenever that will be, will be a boost as well.
Andy in Hagerstown (Maryland)
Jamison, why oh why do the Ravens do this to themselves??? Last year the Ravens lost to the Jags, Seahawks and Chargers with Rice running 10 times or less. In Philly Rice was averaging over 7 yards a carry and they just stopped using him. I don't know if Cam is to blame or not, but the offense still appears to be dysfunctional. What are your thoughts?
Cole Jamison (Newark Delaware)
Why do the Ravens like to not give the ball to arguably one of the best running backs in the NFL? It seems like in almost every game once Ray gets the ball 10 times they just completely stop running him
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:09 PM)
Cole and Andy, it looks like you're both on the same wavelength here. When it comes to Rice, it seems like the Ravens try to be too cute and use him as a decoy. It worked against the Bengals, who were keying everything on Rice. At some point, the Ravens have to give it to the player who is a threat to take it to the end zone every time he touches the ball. It amazes me that the Ravens go such long stretches without getting the ball to Rice.
Mike [via mobile]
Will the bye week be an advantage for the steelers meaning will they have a better chance of beating the eagles?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:10 PM)
Never a fan of early byes. But this could come at a good time for the Steelers. It will give an extra week for Troy Polamalu and James Harrison to rest.
TeeJay (Orange, New Jerzey)
Seeing how Pittsburgh Offense has perform thus far would you say Big Ben and company are comfortable? Also if they find their running game how dangerous can they really be?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:12 PM)
The Steelers will be more comfortable in the second half of the season than they are now. That's not earth-shattering news. What has impressed me is how Roethlisberger has looked on third downs. Not sure if the Steelers will get their running game going at a high level for a extended period of time. Pittsburgh is averaging less than 3 yards per carry against two teams, Denver and New York Jets, who were average against the run last season.
Ignoring the losses the teams in the AFC North have already sustained, which remaining players do you feel each team can least afford to lose? O & D if you are feeling ambitious.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:13 PM)
Ravens: Flacco. Steelers: Roethlisberger. Bengals: A.J. Green. Browns: Trent Richardson.
So, JH, you're Cam Cameron. Sorry about that. You have a game, at home, against a potent offense, but a mediocre defense. Do you play a lot of up-tempo and try to attack the weaknesses in the Patriot secondary, or do you grind it out on the ground, and try to keep Brady off the field?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:15 PM)
Flacco is most comfortable in the the no-huddle, so that's the plan of attack you have to take, especially at home. And most people think you have to play up-tempo when using the no-huddle. That's not always the case. You control the tempo with the no-huddle. The Ravens can still control the clock and keep the ball away from Brady as long as they pick up third downs (and don't forget to check to runs) against the Patriots.
Your thoughts on D.Pitta so far and his outlook for rest of season for Ravens? He remain a big offensive target for them?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:16 PM)
It will be tough for Pitta to keep up this pace, but he has certainly become the go-to tight end in this offense. Pitta and Flacco are close friends, and you can see how much Flacco trusts him on he field. So, Pitta will get his catches, but don't expect 104 catches (his current pace).
Because of the refs poor performance leading to added game times, the cable coverage of the later games was delayed. I was unable to watch the Steelers game until the end of the Ravens game. In total, I missed 10 minutes of the first quarter. Will the NFL return to the bargaining table to stop this problem before it hurts ratings?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:18 PM)
The NFL has taken hard-line stances when it comes to labor issues. They will only take action when fans stop watching games. And, even though I think the replacement refs are comical, most people are going to still watch.
Raymond Rice (Rockville, Md)
Hello Mr. Hensley, Im a 1st time res ponder though I read your blog everyday. You have some real characters that visit your blog and I'm amazed you still have a full head of hair after a year of working with them. Why does Cam Cameron receive ALL the blame for the Offense's ineptness and John Harbaugh receive none? Isn't Harbaugh ultimately responsible for all decisions regarding the entire team? It just always seemed backwards to me to hear Ravens fans criticizing the OC for all failings and the HC just continually making excuses each season for the same problems. Is the tail wagging the dog in Baltimore?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:20 PM)
I couldn't agree with you more in terms of accountability. Remember a few years ago when Harbaugh told reporters that he was going to have more involvement with the offense. So, Cameron is the offensive coordinator but Harbaugh knows the game plans heading into these games. So, he has to take some blame as well when the Ravens ignore Rice.
C.K.Wallace Jacksonville, fl. [via mobile]
I have a gut feeling that the Steelers run game will improve once Mendenhall returns. I think they wait until after the bye before they play him, James Harrison and Polamalu. Also, what's the deal with the Steelers lack of being able to aquire a solid cornerback since Ike T....or for that matter a good db over the last 20yrs?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:21 PM)
Not sure I agree with you about Mendenhall. But the Steelers have to improve because their run game really can't get worse. As far as the cornerbacks, the Steelers' track record is to draft them in the middle rounds and develop them.
Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Last week was the first time I've seen Cleveland's offense look promising since the Derek Anderson pro bowl year. Was that a sign of things to come or an aberration?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:23 PM)
The Browns' offense will be up and down all season. That's what happens when you have such an extremely young offense. They can look like Pro Bowl players one week and a work in progress the next. But last Sunday's game showed the promise of Richardson and Weeden. They have given the Browns some hope that they will score points this season.
Congratulations to you and your family on the new arrival. Now, do you really believe the Browns are the worst team in the league?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:24 PM)
If you looked at my power rankings, I have the Browns at No. 29. So, I don't think they're the worst team in the league. Based on the first two games, they are better than the Raiders, Chiefs and Jaguars.
How's the new addition to the family, great I hope! How good are the Browns chances of knocking of the Bills this week? Can the Browns Def. stop CJ Spiller like they held BJGE? Thanks!
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:25 PM)
If Spiller runs like he has the first two games, the Browns will have lots of trouble. Cleveland essentially has the same run defense as last year. It's actually worse when you consider DT Phil Taylor is out. This has to be the Browns' biggest concern going against the Bills.
Ziggy Hood seemed to be in the best football shape of his NFL career. However, I have not seen this translated to the field yet. What is your opinion of his play for the first two games??
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:26 PM)
Hood has been invisible this year. He's a good role player but he isn't the player that the Steelers envisioned when they used a first-round pick on him.
Weighing the usual offensive woes when playing in prime time versus the Ravens good home record, how do you feel the Ravens come out of the next 2 games in terms of winning or losing?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:27 PM)
My predictions come out in two days in my Fearless Friday Forecast. It should be posted around noon. Now back to the chat after that commercial interruption.
bradblackandgold (Berkeley, CA)
What do you think the Steelers can do to improve upon the running game? Just keep at it?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:28 PM)
That's all they really can do. You're really going to have to worry if the Steelers struggle to run the ball against the Raiders. Oakland ranks 29th in run defense and it has given up 4.7 yards per carry.
Which Bengals'WR is most likely to start opposite AJG by the end of the season?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:29 PM)
The safe bet is Armon Binns. But it really does look like this will be a rotation.
Brian (Dover, DE)
Will Haley open up the passing game more in coming weeks?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:30 PM)
The short passing game seems to be the staple of the Haley offense this year.
Any sense whether the Ravens passing on multiple third and short situations was Cam Cameron or Joe changing the play? Cam never seems to be on the hot seat despite consistently inconsistent playcalling - do you think that changes this season?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:31 PM)
I'm hoping we will get that answer tomorrow when Cameron talks to the media. Harbaugh was asked that question on Monday and he sidestepped it.
It seems like the Browns coaches talked up Jordan Cameron nonstop during the off-season and pre-season. Then when the games count, Cameron has been stuck to the bench. What gives?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:33 PM)
Don't be surprised if Cameron is the primary tight end by the end of the season. Going with a veteran like Watson doesn't help this young team going forward.
Hey Jamison, my girlfriend has recently fallen in love with Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens. But I keep a strict San Francisco 49ers / Patrick Willis household. What do I do???
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:34 PM)
I think you can co-exist. That is, unless she starts doing the Ray Lewis pre-game dance before going to bed. That's when it becomes a problem.
is PGH OLine concerning enough to derail the season?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:34 PM)
The Steelers' offensive line has been questionable for years, even during their Super Bowl ones. They seem to make it work.
what are the chances T. Suggs returns by the time the steelers and ravens meet for the first time?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:35 PM)
Not likely. Don't expect to see Suggs before December. So there's a chance that Suggs could play in that second meeting.
Greg (Jersey City)
Do you see Brandon Weeden's next game being more like week 1 or week 2?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:37 PM)
Depends on whether the Browns can keep Mario Williams off Weeden. Throwing under pressure is Weeden's biggest challenge.
James (Stonehenge, England)
Assuming Terrell Suggs gets back (if only as a situational rusher) by mid November, what record do you see the Ravens needing at that point to make a run for the playoffs?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:38 PM)
I don't see Suggs coming back until December, when the schedule gets really tough for the Ravens. Their home games that month are against the Steelers, Broncos and Giants. The Ravens need to get some wins early because it will be tougher later.
John (A Table at Starbucks)
It seems that Brandon Weeden has gone from unrealistically bad (5.1 passer rating) to unrealistically good (114.9 passer rating). Which do you think is less unrealistic?BTW...I didn't get a chance last week to congratulate you and your wife concerning Jackson. Congrats and best of luck with diapers/all-nighters and driver's licenses, etc... It's all worth it from all I've heard.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:40 PM)
Thanks John. The realistic hope is for Weeden to be somewhere in the middle. He's in a tough situation with a young offense and lack of speed at wide receiver. What Weeden has to avoid is the costly mistakes. He didn't throw an interception last week, which was huge.
After their devastating defeat in the AFC Championship Game last year. Do you think the Ravens will get retribution when they battle New England this Sunday?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:41 PM)
The Ravens can certainly win, but they can't get revenge. A regular-season game doesn't make up for the AFC championship.
Basballguy (Arlington, TX)
JH - (Congratulations on the baby). Do you seem parallels between this year's bengals and the 2010 team? I feel like i'm in for a long season.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:42 PM)
Thanks Baseballguy. The Bengals haven't looked good at all this season. Cincinnati can right the ship if it can get the defense back on track. The offense was good last year, but it was the defense that made the Bengals a playoff team last year. I wouldn't write off Cincy just yet.
Isaac (El Monte, CA)
Jaminson, are you at all worried that the Ravens total defense is ranked 27th......are you kidding me....that worries me a little bit, the ravens secondary has been torched the last 2 gaems..
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:44 PM)
When the season started, I saw the Ravens as a middle-of-the-pack defense. So, I am surprised about the amount of yards given up. But I'm not surprised that they have slipped from last season.
The NFL is not going to budge. Why ask? THEY WILL NOT BUDGE
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:45 PM)
I agree. But that still stinks for fans paying to watch these games.
Is it just me or should Burfict be playing more.. Can he play middle over Maualuga?
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:47 PM)
Maualuga will be the starter at middle linebacker for this season. Next season, that might not be the case because he's a free agent. It looks like they will ease Burfict into the lineup as an outside linebacker.
Andrew H (Baltimore)
Who will have the better game? (Joe Flacco or Tom Brady) and (Andy Dalton or RGIII)?.... This is also a Fantasy Football question
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:49 PM)
My ranking would go like this: Brady, Flacco, RG3 and Dalton. Of course, there is a disclaimer: I'm awful at fantasy football.
Jamison Hensley (ESPN) (2:50 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. Hope to see everyone next week at the same time. Have a good rest of the week.