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Chester, Terry Could Fill Yanda's Boots


The Ravens began their unenviable task of replacing starting right guard Marshal Yanda this week, causing a shake-up to an interior offensive line that had taken every snap together since the summer.

Yanda, who tore three ligaments in his knee against the Indianapolis Colts, left guard Ben Grubbs and center Jason Brown formed a cohesive unit that gave Baltimore a solid punch up the middle.

Now, there are a few options that could fill in for one of Baltimore's most intense blockers.

The most-likely scenario for Sunday's matchup with the Miami Dolphins is former University of Oklahoma tight end/guard Chris Chester. Another is moving right tackle Adam Terry inside to guard.

But with Terry battling a sprained right knee that has kept him out of practice, Chester emerges as the front-runner.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder was recently shifted back to tight end, but he has experience at both guard spots since Baltimore drafted him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Chester started four games at right guard last year (and one at center). Wearing his original No. 65 jersey after briefly switching to 46 three weeks ago, Chester hopes to maintain the continuity Yanda helped establish.

"It's a shame to see Marshal go through what he's going through, but I'm ready to step up," Chester said. "I'm working hard with those guys. I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity."

Blessed with the quickness and mobility of a 220-pound tight end, the size he was entering Oklahoma, Chester hasn't been able to permanently establish himself with the first-string.

A solid outing at Dolphin Stadium could solidify Chester's bid for the rest of the season.

"I'm not worried about that," Chester stated. "I don't give too much thought to things like that because I believe things happen for a reason. If I'm supposed to start, that's great. Things will work out the way they're supposed to."

Putting the 6-foot-8, 330-pound Terry at guard would create a formidable right side of the offensive line, with 6-foot-5, 340-pound Willie Anderson at tackle.

Terry had been starting at right tackle, but he was injured in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans and missed last weekend's Indianapolis Colts tilt. Terry said he would be ready to play if needed.

"I'm 100-percent until I get there and they say I can or can't go," he explained. "It's the only way you can go. The most important thing is just to prepare like I'm going to be a starter."

As the Ravens monitor Terry's condition, the four-year veteran must also think about playing a completely foreign position.

"It's not an easy adjustment; they're different positions," said head coach John Harbaugh. "Obviously, things at guard happen quicker and lower. You've got to get into a powerful position more quickly. Tackle is more of a space position, but we're quite certain he can make the adjustment."

Harbaugh, however, has yet to name a starter for the Dolphins game, as the coach is hopeful Terry can suit up.

"I don't know if there's a percentage on it right now, but there's a chance he can play Sunday," Harbaugh said. "We want to get him some work in there at guard, though, this week if we can. If we can't, he can go in there and play because he's played guard before. We just have to see how that shakes out. In the meantime, Chris will be practicing there, and if [Adam] can't go, Chris will play."

Behind Chester and Terry, Baltimore is also prepping rookie draft picks Oniel Cousins and David Hale for action, if need be. Cousins had primarily backed up at tackle and has only seen game action on special teams this year, while Hale has been inactive each week.

Whoever does play won't change the sentiments in the offensive line's meeting room. With Anderson, whose 13 seasons make him the only sage veteran, and a slew of young talents having four or less years of experience, the group had become extremely close.

Seeing a friend and teammate felled by such a drastic injury cuts deep.

"All of us in that group are really close, pretty much brothers," Chester said. "You hate to see something like that happen to someone you care so much about."

Left tackle Jared Gaither agreed, saying, "He's a great player and was a great asset to our offensive line. But, he'd want us to move on, and we're going to. We're just going to keep doing what we do best.

"We just have to get it done. You lose a soldier, you mourn, and then keep on going."

Yanda is expected to return and practice at full-speed by spring Organized Team Activities (OTAs) after rehabbing from surgery.

But in the meantime, the Ravens are confident they can fill Yanda's rugged work boots with the second incarnation of their line.

"Continuity helps, but you can't give yourself an out and say because we don't have continuity we can't play well," said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. "We're not going to approach it that way. But I think the longer these guys are together you're going to see the continued improvement. Now, we're kind of re-evolving a little."

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