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Training Camp Best Time To Evaluate Ravens Offensive Line

Posted Jul 14, 2014

With the pads coming on, the Ravens offensive line will be put to the test in training camp.

The Ravens offensive line has received positive reviews so far this summer. But with each of those thumbs up came a caveat.

They weren’t in pads.

With training camp officially just more than a week away, the time for judging the Ravens offensive line is rapidly approaching.

Once the pads are on and more contact is allowed, the offensive line will get everything the defensive line has to offer. Then coaches, front office personnel, media and fans will have a better idea of how much progress has been made and whether more changes need to come.

“I like the offensive line,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the end of minicamp. “From what you can see, they’re in sync, footwork looks good, assignments look very good.  We’ll find out when the pads come on.”

No other position group is under the magnifying glass more than the offensive line this summer. The unit struggled last year to pave holes for the running game and protect quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens averaged a league-low 3.1 yards per carry and Flacco took the second-most sacks in the league (48), only trailing Miami’s Ryan Tannehill (58).

Baltimore has since undergone an offensive transition.

New Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak brings a new blocking scheme. The Ravens traded for starting center Jeremy Zuttah, regained left guard Kelechi Osemele after he sat out most of last year with a back injury, and inserted second-year tackle Rick Wagner on the right side in place of departed Michael Oher.

Osemele particularly drew praise during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp. He looked healthy and was moving around well. Zuttah and Wagner also got positive reviews as the newcomers. Zuttah impressed with his intelligence inside and Wagner was better than even Kubiak expected.

But Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda knows there’s a lot more work to be done for his unit before the regular season begins.

“It’s going to be a whole different element with the pads and just getting the timing down and stacking days and building a football team,” Yanda said. “It starts in the offseason, and it definitely starts come training camp on who we’re going to be and what we’re going to be about.”

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