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Michael Oher, O-Line React To Trade

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Players were surprised by the move for Eugene Monroe, who is ‘good friends’ with Michael Oher.

Before acquiring Eugene Monroe, the Ravens had never traded for a player midway through a season in their franchise’s existence.

So pardon Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda’s reaction.

“Obviously a surprise,” he said Wednesday. “But part of the business.”

Yanda and a handful of other Ravens don’t know much about Monroe, who has yet to arrive at the team’s training facility.

Right tackle Michael Oher is “close friends” with Monroe, however. They played together in the Army Bowl coming out of high school and were two of the highest-rated tackles in the 2009 draft class. Monroe went eighth overall and Oher went 23rd.

Oher said he and Monroe talk all the time, but they have yet to chat since the trade.

“He’s a good guy. He’s been doing well since he’s been in the league. He’s another good player for the team,” Oher said. “He’s strong, athletic, can move. He’s a very hard worker. He works hard in the offseason.”

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens had Monroe rated “really highly” on their draft board back in 2009. He seems to be somebody Baltimore has long had its eye on. Harbaugh said conversations about acquiring Monroe from the Jaguars “had been going on for a little while.”

“He’s going to bring us a high-quality football player, a guy that we’ve had great respect for throughout his career so far in the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “We’re all very excited about it.”

The move could serve as a wake-up call to the current offensive linemen, who have struggled in the first four games of the season. Baltimore is tied for 30th in average rushing yards per carry (2.6), and 10th in sacks surrendered (12).

On Monday, Harbaugh said nobody is more frustrated with the play than the offensive line itself.

“In the NFL, every day is a new day and things happen fast and quickly. Guys’ jobs are won and lost every day,” Yanda said. “They’re always looking for ways to improve the team and rightfully so. That’s their job as well.”

Despite the troubles on the offensive line, the Ravens are 2-2 and still tied for first place in the AFC North. They acted quickly to try to improve the team and defend their Super Bowl title.

“It’s a sign that this football team wants to win and we want to win now. We’re not going to accept anything less than championship performance,” said defensive lineman Chris Canty, who knows Monroe a bit as they both played at Virginia. “Hopefully he comes in here and helps us be in a better position to win football games.”

The Ravens weren’t treating Monroe as a savior. There’s still work to be done.

“We’re all trying our hardest, and when a move like this happens, it happens,” center Gino Gradkowski said. “We get what we get and we move forward, work hard and try to fix what we need to fix.”

One primary question with Monroe’s addition is how it impacts left tackle Bryant McKinnie. There has been no transaction regarding McKinnie, but he wasn’t at his locker to speak with reporters Wednesday.

Harbaugh was asked what the move means for McKinnie.

“I think we’ll find that out. We’ll see as we go,” he said. “Obviously we’re bringing Eugene in to play. How soon that can happen remains to be seen. The main thing is that it makes us better. It makes us better almost immediately.”

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