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John Harbaugh: Offensive Line 'OK' Given Circumstances




Ravaged by injuries, the Ravens have been forced to shuffle their offensive line, and some of the repercussions showed Thursday night against a strong Miami Dolphins defensive front.

Baltimore's starting offensive line was, from left to right, James Hurst, Matt Skura, Ryan Jensen, Jarrod Pughsley and Austin Howard.

Four of those players are undrafted. Jensen, a sixth-round pick in 2013, is the outlier.

"I think we did OK," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"We had some guys at different positions. I don't know that James is going to be our left tackle in the regular season. I don't know if [Pughsley] is going to be the right guard as the starter. To see those guys get in there and do OK was good to see."

It was Howard's first game as a Raven, and he held up well. Howard is still getting adjusted to the Ravens' terminology and getting back into game shape following offseason shoulder surgery, but performed well in his debut.

"Austin, he's got to work his way back. He hasn't played in a while," Harbaugh said. "He's got to get in playing shape, and he'll be the first to tell you that, and he'll get there."

Hurst returned to his natural position of left tackle after starting the first preseason game at right tackle, and briefly moving to left guard. He was forced to left tackle with Ronnie Stanley (unspecified) out with a non-serious injury, and also played well.

Hurst and undrafted rookie defensive lineman Patrick Ricard (yes, a defensive tackle playing fullback) had a nice seal block that helped Javorius Allen break a 14-yard gallop.

The bulk of the Ravens' issues came up the middle, however.

Pughsley, who the Ravens added to their practice squad midway through last year, has limited experience despite this being his fourth season in the league. He's played in two career games. He struggled with giving up interior push twice on early drives.

Skura and Jensen got pushed backward on back-to-back losses on running plays by Terrance West, which went for losses of 2 and 4 yards, respectively.

The Ravens rushed for just 50 yards in the first half overall. West, who ran five times for 23 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener, had six runs for minus-2 yards in Miami. Allen had the most success in the first half, running six times for 23 yards.

The Ravens are thin along the interior after they lost starting left guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) and reserve lineman Nico Siragusa (knee) to season-ending injuries. John Urschel, who was competing for the starting center job, retired a few hours before the start of training camp.

"It's not ideal, obviously. You've got to play the hand you're dealt," Harbaugh said. "You look around the NFL, everybody has something [wrong]. It seems every team gets hit in one spot; we've been hit on the offensive line. It wasn't a real deep position for us anyway, then John retired; that was a real surprise.

"I think the guys are managing it right. You use what you have and make the best of it and see where you get; it can make you tougher and stronger and all those kind of things. I'm really proud of the way they're working at it and making it what we can. I think we're going to be a good offensive line before it's all said and done."

Baltimore is reportedly "close" to re-signing , who they traded to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this offseason and was subsequently released last week. Zuttah would help give the offensive line more depth and an experienced starter who knows the Ravens offense.

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