Inside Answers: Mark Clayton


Welcome to 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 wideout Mark Clayton, who caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in Baltimore's win over the Browns last week.


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

Troy Thompson, Baltimore, Maryland: Mark, my son and I attended your football camp this summer and had a blast! One day you and Vernon Davis were taking some throws from Joe Flacco and every one witnessed your speed and Joe's arm strength. How can both Joe's arm strength and your speed affect a game?

Mark Clayton:"First and foremost, it opens up our offense. If you have a guy that can get down the field fast and a quarterback that can put the ball downfield on a line, that's a great weapon. It gives us more of a variety, as far as our play-calling goes.

"You can send somebody deep and throw it, act like you're going to throw it and put the ball on an underneath route, or even clear out a safety to run the ball. There are a lot of options, and Joe can definitely make that throw.

"Oh, and thanks for coming to the camp. I'm having it again next year, so come back and bring your friends."

Ron Spencer, Baltimore, Maryland: Hello Mark. Are you still an avid Madden player, and if you are what system do you play the game on?

MC:"Actually, I'm not playing as much as I used to. But I do still play. You can't just stop. I'm an XBox guy."

Bernie Zaworski, Elkridge, Maryland: I think that to the general fan, a wide receiver is supposed to catch the ball and make plays down the field on defenses. I am curious to know how much of your practice time includes downfield blocking on DBs and perfecting route running?

MC:"We spend quite a bit of time on route-running and blocking. Maybe half of the plays we have are running plays, so we're always practicing out blocking technique at those times. We're always making sure we're in the right position to spring a running back and make that perfect block. The coaches tell us if we're not holding the football, we're a blocker.

"Route-running just comes with the position. From the stance, to getting in and out of your breaks, everything. We're looking at everything."

Mark Harrison, Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Mark – Can you share who was your favorite college player you watched when you were in high school?

MC:"Oh man, Peter Warrick was my dude. He could really change a game for Florida State."

Irene Patterson, Owings Mills, Maryland: Mark, it was very exciting to see you finally get a receiving TD after a dry spell and have a multiple catch game. What's the possibility of you throwing out of the Suggs package? Best wishes for an excellent second half of the season.

MC:"Of course I'd love to throw the ball. I played quarterback in high school, so I can still throw it. We'll just have to see. We've done some fun things with this offense."

Josh Drumheller, Amherst, Virginia: That catch was phenomenal [Sunday]!!! But my question is, what was the best catch of your career anywhere from high school to college to now?

MC:"Well, there are a lot of great catches. One that stands out from college was a late 59-yard touchdown against Colorado my junior year. They were coming back from way down, but I took a short pass from Jason White, made a cut and was gone. That put them away, so it was fun."

Will O'Hara, Kelowna, British Columbia: I know some wideouts have a reputation for talking trash. Are there any DBs that get an honorable mention for it, as well?

MC:"I really don't do a lot of talking on the field, so guys don't really talk to me. I think if a receiver is talking trash to a defensive back, they always talk it back. But I try to let my play talk for me."

Kevin Swann, Baltimore, Maryland: I play wide receiver at Lake Clifton High School. I'm No. 11. It seems like every time I drop a pass I lose confidence. Can you help me think of a way not to lose my confidence in my ability?

MC:"You just have to keep going at it. It's just like shooting free throws. Nobody in basketball has ever gone 100 percent on free throws over a season. If you drop a pass, just know that you're going to get another chance. Keep your head up!"

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