What a difference a year makes.
McKinnie is now running smoothly with the first-team offense and looks ready to go as the Ravens’ starting left tackle when the season opens.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and I’m doing a lot better,” McKinnie said Wednesday. “I’m far ahead than I have been the past two years.”
McKinnie, who re-signed for two years in early May, said he’s been present at more than 85 percent of the Ravens’ voluntary offseason activities. That has helped him get into better shape, which has left more time to focus on honing his technique with Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo.
“Bryant did a really good job,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He moved really well in this camp, as well as he moved at the end of the year last year when he started practicing so well and playing so well. He looks healthy and he will continue to work on his conditioning. That’s always for all of us, that’s always a year-round, life-round proposition. He seems to be very committed. Love the way he’s playing and his effort.”
While he admits he still wants to shed a little weight, McKinnie said he’s at least 10 pounds lighter than he was at this same point last year, and has found successful strategies for losing weight.
“I still need to drop a little lower,” he said. “But it’s definitely better than it has the past two years. I’ll continue working on cardio and stretching, but I’m just focused on getting better.”
McKinnie’s next goal is the Pro Bowl, an honor he hasn’t achieved since 2009. It’s something McKinnie talked about in previous years, and something Harbaugh has challenged him to aim for.
This year, McKinnie feels most poised to accomplish it since four years ago.
“That’s my goal this year,” McKinnie said of the Pro Bowl. “I want to pick up at the level I played at the end of last season, and even a little better. I feel like I can, I feel like that’s possible. … Right now I’m more focused so I can have a good year and be the best left tackle in the league.”
His knees, back and other joints are feeling better because of his lower weight. He says his pass protection has improved under Castillo.
McKinnie is now the Ravens’ most senior player at 33 years old. But he doesn’t feel that will limit him.
“People try to put age on things. I don’t think age really matters,” he said. “Look at what [tennis star] Serena [Williams] is doing. She’s in her 30s and look at the kid’s she’s going against. She’s the most dominant person playing and she’s 31. So what’s age really have to do with it?”