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Inside Answers: Todd Heap



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 tight end Todd Heap, who caught two touchdown passes last week in a win over the Texans.


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

Zachary Deck, Strasburg, VA: Hey Todd, I play tight end for my high school varsity team, and we just brought in the spread offense, so I play out in the open field a lot. How do you trick defenders to get open?

Todd Heap:"I would just say, when you're running your routes, you want to stay with the same body lean. So when you're at the top of the route, you want to have your shoulders over your knees and your knees over your toes. That way, the defender is watching you, and if he doesn't see a change in your body, you can fake him out.

"If he sees your body raise up, he knows you're getting ready to cut. If he doesn't see that, you catch him on his heels, he doesn't know when you're going to cut right or left.

"Keep working hard!"

Warren Moyd, Baltimore, MD: When you came into the league, you played behind one of the league's best players ever (Shannon Sharpe). What is it that he taught you that made you as good as you are?

TH:"It was more how to take care of you body off the field that I learned from him. I learned a lot just by watching him, watching little things that he does. Some of the biggest things were just his footwork and his hand placement, and some of those aspects of route-running that I was talking about."

Irene Patterson, Owings Mills, MD: Todd, how good is it to hear "Heap" chants in another town? Congrats on the two TD catches. It must be quite gratifying to hear such chants in another town, Ravens fans are starting to travel well. Best wishes for a healthy and successful rest of the season.

TH:"I think we've got the best fans around, that's what I think. It's definitely fun to hear your name shouted out like that. We've got a lot of fans that travel, and that's pretty cool when you hear that, that they respect you in other places as well. That actually started in college, but I don't know if it carried over to Baltimore from there."

Tyler Thomas, Decatur, IL: Can we see a little dance next time you score?

TH:"Haha. No, I have not danced. Of course I've spiked it. And there's one other thing that I've done in the past, but I only bust that out for special occasions. Maybe this year."

Moncef Gridda, Chicago, IL: Todd, it seems as though you had a great relationship with Kyle Boller. It seems as though you guys rehearsed and talked in private. I was wondering how much you communicate with Joe Flacco and if you guys ever practice by yourselves or watch film alone.

TH:"Definitely. I think the biggest thing is just the communication on the field at practice, when we're getting a lot of reps together, when we're seeing a lot of different coverages out there at practice. We're able to talk and say, 'OK, we'll do this against this look, and maybe switch it up if they go with a different coverage.' That's one thing that Joe's been quick to learn, and he's been good at from Day 1."

Shaun Tracy, Fawn Grove, PA: The next game will be a true challenge to the Ravens - a face off with the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, who seem to be at the top of their game now. Baltimore has easily won against the Cleveland Browns twice this season, but yet the Browns managed to somehow knock off the Giants. Are there any plans to study the film and highlights between the Browns/Giants game, or will there be an entirely different approach to the Ravens game plan? Great game against the Texans, watch Plaxico Burress on Sunday, and let's make it 5 in a row!!

TH:"Well, you do look at previous game tape of the Giants, but not about what other teams do to them. It's about what the Giants are doing, their tendencies and things like that.

"I think we have to keep our heads on straight. They are the defending Super Bowl champs. We have to give them that credit. We've got to treat this game like that, where we're going in to play the best team in the NFL. I think that's the attitude we're taking toward this game."

Jillian Grap, Baltimore, MD: Hi Mr. Heap, I wanted you to know you're my favorite player! I was wondering which stadium is your favorite to play in and why. Thanks again, Todd!!

TH:"That's a tough one. Probably Pittsburgh's Heinz Field. It's familiar, and I've had some good games there."

Mike DiNardo, Ellicot City, MD:Todd, how are you feeling this year after being banged up last year and in the preseason. Are you healthy now?

TH:"Definitely. As good as I've felt to this point this season, and I've been feeling pretty good this whole season. Hopefully I can keep that going.

"There were a lot of things that I did in the offseason that I had to do to get my body right. With all that, you still can't predict football, what's going to happen out there. But you put in all that work to make sure that you protect yourself from the little things."

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