After working with the second teamers throughout most of training camp, Bryant McKinnie was back in the starting lineup for Thursday night's preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McKinnie started at left tackle and Michael Oher moved to right tackle, which were the positions that the two linemen played last season for the Ravens.
"It definitely felt good because I just wasn't used to not being with the first team," McKinnie said after the game. "I think the first unit did pretty good, but we still have some work to do."
McKinnie's return to the starting lineup still comes with a caveat, as starting right guard Marshal Yanda had the night off because of a minor leg injury. Yanda's absence at right guard was filled by veteran Bobbie Williams and then rookie Kelechi Osemele took over at left guard.
When Yanda returns, it's unclear who will be the odd man out of the starting lineup.
"We have a little ways to go, we're still a work in progress," McKinnie said about the line overall.
A focus of McKinnie's throughout the offseason has been his conditioning because he's struggled with keeping his weight down in recent years. With the Ravens running more no-huddle offense this year, McKinnie wanted to see how he handled the uptempo pace Thursday night.
"That was my main concern because I knew it was going to be fast paced and I felt pretty good out there today," McKinnie said. "I wasn't winded at all."
McKinnie even saw the no-huddle working to his benefit because the defense got worn down on the long drives. The Ravens had five scoring drives of at least 80 yards in the 48-17 victory.
"It worked in our favor because they didn't have time to sub out, and the defenders were getting tired," he said. "[The defender] was actually more tired than I was. When I saw him getting tired, it actually gave me more energy."
McKinnie's play against Jacksonville is a step in the right direction to win back his starting job on the line. He has performed well in the three preseason contests and says that he's far ahead of where he was at this point last year when the Ravens signed him and he went on to start every game at left tackle.
"I'm definitely in a better position now than I was a year ago, and now I can just keep getting better and better," he said.