Marshal Yanda is never going to blame injuries for anything. After all, this is the guy who played the 2011 season finale a week after getting emergency leg surgery.
But Yanda had shoulder surgery last offseason to repair a torn rotator cuff, which sidelined him for most of the summer and* *may have negatively impacted his 2013 season.
He still went to the Pro Bowl for a third straight year, yet got the worst cumulative grades of his seven-year career from Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Now Yanda is healthy and far ahead of where he was last offseason.
"Last year at this time I wasn't even lifting yet, and this year now I've been lifting for a long time and feeling good," Yanda said.
Yanda still had some dominant games last season, and is widely regarded as one of the top offensive linemen in the game. He was voted the 55th-best player in the league by his peers.
A look at PFF's statistics say he wasn't quite the same player as usual in 2013, however. Yanda received a negative overall grade in six of 16 games. He finished with a cumulative score of 10.7. In 2012, he finished with a mark of 31.2.
Yanda gave up two sacks, three quarterback hits and 24 hurries.
"Injuries are part of the NFL. They're just a part of it, so you take it one day at a time, and you definitely do as best you can that day," Yanda said.
"Last year is done and over with. We've got a new offensive coordinator, new personnel, new guys – we're moving forward right now with the group that we've got. I like what we see; I like that we're all working hard."
Yanda is the lynchpin of the offensive line that needs improvement this year. He said he's been impressed with what he's seen from the two new pieces on either side of him, center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Rick Wagner.
And most of all, Yanda is excited about the prospect of running the ball more. Kubiak's offense is based around the ground game, which the brawling Yanda prefers over all else.
Yanda said he thinks the Ravens' running attack "could be really good" based on what he's seen so far this summer.
"We all like running the zone scheme and know that Gary is going to do that, and we're just excited," Yanda said. "We understand that we've got to pass the ball as well, but as offensive linemen, you always love to run the ball, and we're excited to do that."