The past, present and future of the Baltimore Ravens’ left tackle position met this offseason.
Jonathan Ogden was the Ravens’ first draft pick (No. 4 overall, 1996) and first Hall of Fame inductee.
Ronnie Stanley is the Ravens’ highest draft pick (No. 6 overall) since 2000, and the franchise’s current and future anchor at the position.
The two got together in Las Vegas, where Ogden now lives and Stanley spent his childhood. They worked out together, hit the golf course, and of course talked some football.
So what advice did Ogden impart on the young, up-and-coming star as he tries to take the next step in Year 2?
“He told me to just keep doing what I’m doing, and just be a good teammate,” Stanley said Thursday. “Be a good teammate to your teammates and just play good football out there. He likes what he sees, so I’m happy with that.”
The two first connected when Ogden reached out to Stanley immediately after he was drafted by the Ravens. It was clear then that Stanley would be called on to be the team’s heir to Ogden’s throne.
Stanley joked that he did a toned-down workout with Ogden because the now 42-year-old “hasn’t worked out in a while.” Ogden has become a really good golfer though, and he showed the young pup a thing or two on the course.
“His [golf game] is very, very much better than mine,” Stanley said with a laugh. “Actually, he taught me how to hit the ball."
Just like in golf, Stanley can definitely learn from the master at playing left tackle. Ogden went to his first Pro Bowl in his second year.
Stanley had a very strong rookie season. He became an instant starter at one of the game's most difficult positions, but missed four early games because of a foot injury.
After returning and getting back up to speed, the Notre Dame product was the best left tackle in the NFL over the final five weeks of the regular season, according to Pro Football Focus.
His progress was clearly evident in two matchups against veteran Steelers pass rusher James Harrison. In their first meeting, when Stanley was just coming back from his injury, Stanley gave up three hurries and a sack. In their second meeting in Week 16, Stanley didn't allow a single pressure.
Stanley said his sophomore season is about picking up where he left off an continuing to grow.
“I think I just need to be more consistent,” Stanley said. “You know, really elevate my game and really showing up more on film and standing out more on film as well.”
What does he mean by standing out more on film?
“Just production,” Stanley said. “Getting the job done and making sure my guy isn’t making the play or nowhere near it.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Stanley is “super talented” and had a “really good” rookie year. Now the bar is being raised.
“For whom much is given, much is required and expected,” Harbaugh said. “We expect him to be a great player.”* *
Harbaugh said Stanley and the team are pushing to make him better in a couple different areas.
One is polishing his technique. Stanley has no deficiencies, but everything needs to get “tighter.” Then there’s his physique. Harbaugh said Stanley can still be more physically mature, stronger and better with his ability to move his feet, bend and maximize his power. That will definitely be hammered out in the weight room.
Harbaugh said that despite being in just his second season, Stanley’s mental grasp of the game is very strong, but more experience and time on the job will help in making quick decisions.
“I would say probably out of all the offensive linemen, he asks the best questions out of anybody I have been around – certainly any young player,” Harbaugh said.