*For the next edition of Inside Answers, where we've taken questions from fans and brought them to a top performer in the Ravens' most-recent game. *
Here's defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who is turning in a Pro Bowl season for Baltimore.
[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]
Aaron Watkins, Piqua, Ohio: Dear Haloti, I am huge fan of yours and love to brag of how the Ravens have the best D-Line man in the NFL. I have two questions for you. First, do you think you get proper recognition for your play on the field? And, how do you feel giving up personal awards and league recognition for allowing the defense to flourish? Thank you for your response and I will continue to vote for you in the Pro Bowl ballot.
Haloti Ngata:"I think it's not smart to play this position thinking you deserve all the credit. For me, I always play that up that we never get recognized, both the O-line and D-line. I'm just happy when our linebackers are making plays. I have to holdup two linemen or stay in my gap so they can make those plays. I'm fine with not getting recognized."
Robby Jennette, Delmar, MD: I play offense and defensive tackle on my middle school football team. Have you ever scored a touchdown in your football career?
HN:"Well, I scored in high school, but it wasn't for offense. I was still on defense. For one, I recovered a fumble, and for another, I got to the quarterback, stripped him and ran it back like 53 yards. Other than that, you could count my rugby scores as offensive ones. For football on offense, that day has yet to come."
Fred Parsons, Glen Burnie, MD: I play a sport in college and me and my teammates are real tight on and off the field. I was wondering if that is how it is in the NFL or is it just while you guys are playing football?
HN:"We're definitely tight off the field. I do different things with all the guys, offensive and defensive. It's great because we have so many different personalities, different backgrounds and values. You can learn a lot about your teammates off the field. Lately, I've been going to some of our guys' radio shows, going out to dinner, whatever. I actually went hunting a few times with Jarret [Johnson], too. Our guys are a lot of fun."
Chester Williams, Fort Washington, MD: Haloti, congrats on the big win. I am literally speechless after that performance (from cheering so hard and the amazing performance from everyone!), but I would like to know what your pregame ritual consists of.
HN:"Actually, nothing. Really. I stretch and get into a hot tub. They're all business, but I don't have ritual."
Anthony Miller, Baltimore, MD: Haloti, congratulations on your awesome season so far. This is my question for you. I notice that some times you drop into a type of coverage, is this a designed defensive play, or are you just deciding to drop back on your own to make a play?
HN:"First of all, that's a part of Rex Ryan's defense. I've never done that until I came here. I was talking to my college coach a while back, and he said, 'I guess I was using you the wrong way.' But, I've been playing linebacker, dropping in coverage, doing all sorts of things here. It's fun to play on a defense like that."
Ammon P.W., Waianae, Oahu: Wassup Haloti? I was wondering how it is now that you're leading the d-line since Kelly Gregg has been hurt. You should be going to the Pro Bowl this year. Keep it real! Polynesian Braddah!
HN:"Well, we haven't skipped a beat not having Kelly in the lineup, which is a credit to [Justin] Bannan. He's played great. So, when Kelly does come back next year, we're going to have so much more depth. He's such a good defensive tackle, one of the best in the league, so I can't wait to have him back in our group. But, we're still getting the job done."
Warren Moyd, Baltimore, MD: Haloti, I'm about your size and I too play defensive tackle. I've noticed that not a lot of big guys have speed like you do. What is it that you do to be as fast as you are for a big man?
HN:"It's not really about speed for big guys like us. You have to be quick, for sure, but speed down the field isn't what you want to really focus on. I work on my explosiveness, like when I'm coming out of my stance and trying to get after the quarterback. Being quick with your hands is also important."
Josh Moore, lowndes GA: Mr. Ngata, I am a senior in high school and I am playing in the championship game this week. It's one of the biggest games I have ever played in, and I was just wondering how you prepare for a big game like this one because I am very nervous
HN:"Good luck. I try to treat every game the same. The biggest one I've played in as a Raven was the playoff game [against the Indianapolis Colts] two years ago. Going into that one, I just remembered what got me there. I thought about the talents that I had and told myself that we deserved to be there. That gave me confidence."
Chris Bridner, Ellicott City, MD: Hey Haloti. First off, let me say that I am telling every person I know to vote you for the Pro Bowl because I have never seen someone be such an unsung hero as you have been for our team. My question is - if you ever score a touchdown when you are in on an offensive package, will we get to see a dance?
HN:"I might do a dance or something. We'll see. Sounds like the fans want to see one."
You can vote for Haloti and your other favorite Ravens for the Pro Bowl by clicking here!