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Michael Oher A Pro Bowl-Caliber Right Tackle

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Michael Oher says he prefers RT, and wants to stay there as long as he's a Raven.

Over his first four seasons, Michael Oher’s career has been less “Blindside” than it has been either side.

Oher has flip-flopped every year, from right tackle as a rookie to left tackle in 2010, then back to right in 2011, and over to the left last season.

Now Oher finally appears to have a home. The man the hit movie “The Blind Side” was named after is anchored to the other end of the offensive line – the right side.

While that’s supposedly not the position he was born to play – according to the book and movie – it may be a better career move for Oher.

“I’ve always thought Michael Oher’s potential is the sky is the limit,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.

“Michael Oher is a Pro Bowl tackle-type guy. We have always believed that. The fact that he can settle down on the right side now is probably something that will help him have the chance to achieve that.”

Oher said he had dreams and goals coming into the NFL of being one of the great tackles. He didn’t specify on which side, though the prevailing thought was that it would eventually be on the left.

But due to injuries and roster moves, the Ravens relied on Oher’s versatility to plug holes. His ability to shift back and forth became one of his greatest attributes.

Unselfishly, Oher did it for the team. Over and over, he repeated that he was willing to play wherever the team asked and needed him, that he didn’t have a preference between left and right.

After all the bouncing around, Oher now has a preference as he heads into a contract year.

“As long as I’m in Baltimore, I would prefer to be on the right side,” he said. “I’d prefer to be a right tackle. I think I’m better over there.”

Oher played all of last year’s regular season at left tackle. He received a -11.5 grade from Pro Football Focus, the fourth-worst score among all left tackles with at least 10 games played at that position last season.

At the start of the playoffs, Bryant McKinnie was inserted back into the lineup and Oher moved to the right side. Over the next four games, Oher’s pass blocking improved dramatically. Among right tackles in the playoffs, he had the third-best grade (4.5).

Now Oher can carry that over to this season and finally focus on honing his craft at one position. Even when McKinnie was held out of practice at the start of training camp, Baltimore used Kelechi Osemele or rookie Rick Wagner at left tackle and Oher remained on the right.

“If you can focus at one position, you can get better at one position,” Oher said. “That’s all you have to think about.”

Oher still has a very quick first step. He’s never missed a start in his NFL career, and he looks fit and healthy once again. In practice, he’s held up well against talented Ravens pass rushers, including Pro Bowler Elvis Dumervil.

Perhaps the greatest peace of mind comes from knowing where he’s going to be in 2013.

“Probably for the first time I’ve been a Raven, I know the position I’m going to play this year,” Oher said. “I guess that’s a good thing, but I’ve still got to get better and work hard every day.”

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