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Young Offensive Linemen Prepping For Increased Roles

Posted Oct 24, 2012

Jah Reid or Gino Gradkowski could be mixed into the offensive line rotation.


Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens may shuffle the offensive line as they come out of the bye. He specifically said he could insert some of young offensive linemen to see if he can find a better mix up front.

The Ravens have already seen what Ramon Harewood has done in his five starts at left guard. Bobbie Williams and Bryant McKinnie are hardly young guys anymore.

So it seems Harbaugh is referring to second-year player Jah Reid and rookie Gino Gradkowski.

Reid has yet to be activated for a game after missing much of the summer and the first few weeks of the season with a calf injury. Gradkowski has been active for every game, yet limited to special teams duty.

Both youngsters are prepping for their time on offense.

Reid said coaches always remind players that it’s a competition to get on the field. For him, it’s also been a matter of getting healthy.

“I finally have my legs back,” Reid said. “I’m working and in football shape. As soon as I’m able to step on the field, I’ll be pumped. I’ve just got to keep working and hopefully I can show something to the coaches to get me on the field.”

Reid said he’s been working mostly at right tackle and left guard. He began his NFL career at right tackle, but was shifted inside this offseason and considered the leading candidate to succeed Ben Grubbs before his calf injury.

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Reid was active for all 16 games last season and saw some offensive action during jumbo packages. He said he likes playing inside at guard because “you’re really mashing up against somebody.”

“I’m more poised in my sets, more confident in myself, coming off the ball,” Reid said. “[I’ve improved] everywhere. All around, I feel like I’ve made leaps and bounds. I’ve just got to carry that onto the field.”

Gradkowski is considered the Ravens’ center of the future, but he’s also been working at both guard spots to provide depth and allow Baltimore to activate just seven offensive linemen on gameday.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Delaware product isn’t as physically imposing at Reid or Harewood, but coaches like how quickly he has picked up the game.

“There are things I need to work on, different techniques and things like that,” Gradkowski said.

“But we have great veterans on this O-line – Matt [Birk] and Mike [Oher] and Marshal [Yanda]. All those guys have been helping me out a ton. That’s huge for me as a rookie to have those kind of guys in the meeting room with me to help me along.”

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