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Insider

Baltimore Ravens have few weaknesses

10/24/2011

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag every Monday and Wednesday. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.

Q: Adam, how would rate Christian Ponder's first start? I thought he looked pretty good, especially against the Green Bay Packers' defense.

-- Doug (Minn.)

A: I agree, Doug. I thought he provided a spark for the Minnesota Vikings, even though his numbers weren't overly impressive and he threw those two costly interceptions to Charles Woodson. But there were times when Ponder made some good decisions. He helped keep the game close. Overall, it just seemed like the Vikings' offense had more energy to it and more options. It was a good first start for Ponder in most every way -- except for the final result.


Q: The Baltimore Ravens are a very quiet 4-1 and their defense has been phenomenal. What do you see as this team's weaknesses?

-- Jared (N.J.)

A: They have weaknesses, Jared, but fewer than most teams in the AFC. Joe Flacco still must prove he can be an elite quarterback, not just in the regular season but in the postseason. They could improve their scoring in the red zone; Billy Cundiff has developed into one of the league's best kickers, but they need the offense to punch it in the end zone and not just settle for field goals. And they're a bit thin at cornerback, though they do have talent. They have some holes and questions, but they aren't nearly as extensive as they are with most other AFC teams.


Q: Do you think there's still a chance for the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East and possibly the Super Bowl?

-- Scott (Penn.)

A: I like their chances of an NFC East title considerably better than their chances of a Super Bowl title, Scott. Through six games, they haven't demonstrated the consistency of a world champion. There's still a lot of time left, though, and Philadelphia should be tough to beat this week. Remember, under Andy Reid the Eagles are 12-0 after their bye week, which they're coming off of now. And under Reid in November and December, the Eagles are 65-27. So Philadelphia has a chance to make noise in its division. But the Eagles have to get a lot better to challenge a team like the Packers.


Q: Adam, what do you think the Eagles are going to do with Ronnie Brown? Will he still be a contributor or will they just look to dump him at the end of the year?

-- Jeff (Ill.)

A: A situation like this is an awkward one, Jeff. There aren't many times when a player flies to one city to start practicing, only to have to return to sender. It happened with Brown and now he's the Eagles' property. Keep in mind, he did sign only a one-year deal. And the fact that Philadelphia was willing to unload him is a sign of its long-term commitment to him. The Eagles still might have to lean on Brown at certain points this season, especially if LeSean McCoy is injured. But the Eagles also like rookie running back Dion Lewis, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him get some added chances. It looks like it will be one-and-done for Brown in Philadelphia.


Q: Just two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were atop the NFC East. Now it seems like their season is in free-fall. Do you think they pulled the switch too soon to John Beck?

-- Tyrell (N.Y.)

A: I don't think so, Tyrell, unless you think there would have been a different result with Rex Grossman playing quarterback Sunday. Beck was decent Sunday, not doing anything great, nor doing anything too bad. But as good as the Redskins' defense has been this season, it struggled to stop Cam Newton and Steve Smith. It's always easy to point at the quarterback and second-guess the decision. But Washington's loss Sunday wasn't about the quarterback change. Now, this team is losing the early-season momentum it had built up. Only winning will get it back, and the schedule isn't easy.