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Inside Answers: Justin Bannan


Welcome to * *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 Justin Bannan responding to questions about his performance against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.**


[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]

Timothy Tilghman, Baltimore, Maryland: How is the team's morale after losing two straight nail biters? I personally think it will help groom you guys for the playoffs. Is there any chip on the team's shoulder about our last two games against Indy?

Justin Bannan:"It can. Sure, you use that for extra motivation, you can. I think we definitely remember it when we start watching film. We'll watch the games from when we play them.

"Definitely last year was really tough. They jumped on us real quickly. Bottom line is, after you think about all that stuff, it really doesn't matter once the game starts, the whistle blows. You've got to focus and you've got to play football."

Ron Moore, Stewartstown, Pennsylvania: Justin, The picture of you on the Ravens website shows a tattoo on your left arm as you hold up your interception. What is that tattoo? From here it looks like a chipmunk holding up a football. Any coincidence?

JB:"Uh, no. That's a Viking. It's something I got a long time ago. It's just part of my family heritage. I'm Norwegian, and that's basically all it symbolizes."

Marc-André Dandenault, Montreal, Canada: Who is the best offensive lineman you have faced in the NFL?

JB:"In my career, I'd have to say one of the best ones would probably have to be Will Shields from the Kansas City Chiefs. I know I faced him as a young man when I was rookie, and I thought he was very good, very strong and really tough. Other than that, I just remember he jumped on me just because I was a rookie, and I had a long day, so it'd be Will Shields."

Matt Duren, Denver, Colorado: How did it feel to get your first career interception? I saw the game and thought you looked very excited. You are my favorite pro football player!

JB:"It was pretty crazy. Haloti tipped the ball, and it just fell to me. I'm glad I hung on."

Katrina Carter, Gaithersburg, Maryland: It's now been two weeks in a row that our big guys up front have had picks! Which is great. Were you surprised when the ball was coming down right to you? And were you worried about holding on to it once you took off running, since being a running back isn't your specialty?

JB: "It was the first for college and the NFL. The point I was at, the way I was turned, I was thinking, 'Try to get to the sideline.' I had to kind of back track and try to get around Kevin Mawae and he took my leg out. I didn't have time to think. The ball fell in my hand I was like, 'Oh boy, got to get going.' It was easy to start running, and you try to do the best you can. You just don't want to fumble it."

William Ramsel, Hereford, Maryland: Another tough loss with the Ravens only giving up 13 points. The last 2 weeks the Ravens D has had a chance to "save the day" so to speak and win the game with a stop. Both times (in OT against Pit) and Sunday, we failed to do so. What can the Ravens D do differently next time to try and hold on to the victory in the 4th quarter?

JB:"When it comes to that, bottom line is I think we need to put our heads down and keep working, pay attention to detail more. Obviously, you have a few plays off here and there, but we are so close. You look at both of those games and they very easily could have gone either way.

"I think we're on the right track. I think our offense is on the right track – they're going to get better and better. I think we'll just get better and better on defense. We'll just keep plugging away and it's going to turn to our favor."

Traek Wells, Roseville, Minnesota: Justin, what's up man? I'm a die-hard fan of the Baltimore Ravens and I know you guys are a 3-4 team. What's it like playing the defensive tackle position on the 3-4 defense? Do you have a lot of responsibility being a nose tackle?

JB:"It just depends on the call. It could be a wide range of responsibilities. It could be a 2-cap which would mean you're playing up on the center and you're basically in control of the center and trying to pressure either way, and just don't let anything go that way. Or, getting a play where you can drop into pass coverage, sometimes on defense, or you're spying on the running back to make sure he doesn't go through a screen. Or you may have to slant to a certain gap.

"The Ravens' defense isn't necessarily a strict 3-4, so there are a lot of things you can do."

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