Welcome to the latest 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 Tom Zbikowski, who returned kicks in Saturday's Divisional playoff game against the Titans.
* *[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.]
Matt Nowicki, Dunellen, NJ: Hey Tom. You've had a great season so far and you are my favorite player! I just wanted to know how did you adjust from being a punt returner at Notre Dame to becoming a kick returner in the NFL?
Tom Zbikowski:"You have to have more patience to let your blocks set up. It's more like a set play. You can't just take off left, right, or middle. You just have to get all the yards you can on a punt. For a kickoff, you have to know the type of blocks you're going to be running off of."
Rory Henry, Naperville: Dear Tom Zbikowski, I'm in Kindergarden, and we're learning how to spell our WHOLE names. My question is how old were you before you could write out your WHOLE name?
TZ:"Ha! That would have to be kindergarten when I learned to spell my last name. Or so I was told. My parents told me that, but then again, I'm the youngest, so they could have told me it was the fourth grade just to kid me. I'm pretty sure it was around kindergarten, though."
Kate Henry, Naperville: Dear Tom Zbikowski, Are you exited about possibly playing your buddy, Trevor Laws, in the Super Bowl?
TZ:"Ah, the Henry family checked in. You know what? I just saw him last week. Trevor and I were roommates at the Senior Bowl, and he was one of my best friends. When we played the Eagles the last time, he came out to dinner with me and my parents. And even in Nashville, coach Harbaugh let me stay an extra night because I had a bunch of family in. So, when I tried to get a flight back to Baltimore, they were all booked. I just flew to Philly and stayed with Trevor.
"And we have talked about how crazy it would be to play each other in Tampa. But, first we have to get past the Steelers. Then we'll really talk about it."
Shannon Harvey, Baltimore: Welcome to Baltimore Tom, We are so happy to have you here. I watched you in your college years and remembered saying "Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to see him in a Raven uniform", and here you are. Anyway, you are such an amazing football player. My question is, do you feel that you being such a talented boxer helps you on the football field and vice versa? Thank you for taking my question, and I hope to see you here for many, many years. Good luck!
TZ:"Well, I do some things in the offseason that keep up with boxing, just to spar every once in a while. It's a different type of being in shape. I try to get as many rounds as I can, whether that's two or four or whatever. Once you've been a boxer, it always stays with you."
Dennis Allen, Panama City, Panama: Hi Tom. I have been your fan since you were on ND but here and there are very different things. I really like the way you play the game. What type of opportunities the Ravens give you on defense?
TZ:"Last week, I saw just about everything. They tell you when you get here that you have to know all the positions on this defense. That's what we're working towards all year as backups. If something happens, you have to step in and make plays, no matter where that is. That's what a good defense is. You have to keep rolling if someone goes down."
Tom Springer, Glen Burnie:After losing so many guys on defense in Nashville and Rex Ryanthrowing so many crazy defenses out there, what is that like?
TZ:"It reminds you how fun and versatile this defense is. There have been times when I've been put in for a blitz, or Haruki [Nakamura].A lot of times, it's just about who's closest to Rex on the sideline. You're never going to just sit there on this defense if you're not playing. Something is going to happen along the way when you'll get tossed in there."
Bam Henry, Baltimore: What goes through your mind as you began to field a kickoff? Any pre-kick rituals or prayers or words to yourself to get you ready for the kick?
TZ:"I hate to say it, but I am the worst person to talk to when it comes to those things - whether that's in boxing or football. I just put on my gear and go out and play. Nothing big."
Whitney Sullivan, South Bend, IN:Why did you switch your jersey from 25 to 28 before the season started??! I had to replace the custom made one I got of you.
TZ:"Oh no. I'm sorry about that. I honestly didn't think of that when I switched. The situation came about when we re-signed Evan Oglesby, who was 25 when he was here a few years ago. I'd always been No. 9, but couldn't in the NFL, so as long as the number looked decent, I'll be fine. E.O. asked me for it, and it didn't matter to me at that point."