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John Harbaugh Expects Ronnie Stanley To Be A Starter


Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh expects rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley to be a starter, and Stanley has only practiced at left tackle.

Do the math and it means a battle for the starting left tackle spot is brewing between Stanley and Eugene Monroe once the veteran gets on the field.

Harbaugh wants to see the rookie put up a good fight.

"The ball is in [Stanley's] court and he has to earn it, but he's the sixth pick in the draft," Harbaugh said. "I expect him to start. That's his job is to come out here and start."

With Monroe recovering from shoulder surgery and not at Ravens Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Stanley has gotten all the valuable reps with the first-team offense. It's unknown whether the oft-injured Monroe will participate during mandatory minicamp next week.

Ultimately, the Ravens may wait until training camp to decide who their starting left tackle will be. There's no need to rush to a decision.

Stanley and Monroe could both start if Stanley were moved to left guard. The Ravens didn't shoot down the idea immediately after the draft.

However, the fact that Stanley hasn't played any left guard yet in practice is an indication that the Ravens want to get a long look at their rookie and his ability to protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside.* *Stanley also never played guard in college.

Although Jonathan Ogden played guard during his rookie season because the Ravens had veteran tackle Tony Jones, that doesn't mean Harbaugh and the Ravens would pull the same move with Stanley two decades later.

"If somebody beats [Stanley] out, or he can't beat somebody out, then that's how it's going to go," Harbaugh said. "But it's competitive. You want to start for this team? Then go out there and be the best guy and you'll start.

"It's about football. It's not about anything else other than football for us. You do what you do. You say what you say. You are who you are. We've always been about that here. You want to play? Right out there [points to the field]. Go out there and be the best and you'll be on the field playing."

Stanley was standing just feet away from Harbaugh when the head coach said those words, and the rookie agrees.

"He keeps it real," Stanley said. "That's what I expect of myself, too. … Bottom line is he wants to win games, and that's what I want to do, too."

Stanley has been impressive in his short time with the Ravens, displaying quick feet and sound fundamentals. He shined during rookie minicamp and has continued to make progress even with veterans such as Za'Darius Smith, Timmy Jernigan, Brent Urban and others in attendance. Stanley said Jernigan has been the toughest teammate to block so far.

"It's going to be a lot more physical in pads, but I think the speed is there," Stanley said.

"I think it's gone really well. It is a little bit better than I expected. I'm getting the plays down a lot better and a lot faster than I thought I would."

Stanley said he's mostly relied on left guard John Urschel for help. That's a good idea considering Urschel is the team's resident genius. Stanley also said he's been in contact with Monroe, both at the Under Armour Performance Center and via text.

"He's been very helpful and nothing but good," Stanley said.

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