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Mailbag: Will the Ravens' Offensive Line Be Solidified?

Ravens Offensive Line
Ravens Offensive Line

Mink: The Ravens have started six different offensive line combinations in 11 games and I don't think we've seen the last one yet.

Pre-COVID-19 outbreak, the Ravens' starting offensive line (from left to right) was Orlando Brown Jr., Bradley Bozeman, Patrick Mekari, Ben Powers and D.J. Fluker. The Ravens could go back to that starting lineup again. Or, now that Tyre Phillips is back from a shoulder injury, he could reclaim the job he began the season with at right guard instead of Powers. Or Powers could keep the job and Phillips could move out to right tackle.

It also remains to be seen what the Ravens will do at center. Mekari relieved Matt Skura after Skura had trouble with his snaps. But can Skura win his starting job back if he gets that under control? Undrafted rookie Trystan Colon-Castillo played well against Pittsburgh in emergency duty with Mekari and Skura on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Could he keep the job?

As you can see, besides left tackle (Brown) and left guard (Bozeman), it could be a variety of combinations against the Cowboys. The Ravens would ultimately like to settle on a starting five to allow them to build chemistry over this final stretch, however. Developing that, along with a strong run game, could be the catalyst for a playoff run.

Downing: I do think there is potential for that big touchdown to be a turning point for Brown, and I actually made that exact point on Final Drive earlier this week (see video below). I know it's been a bit of a frustrating season for the second-year receiver, but I've felt all along that he just needs a spark to get on track. That play against the Steelers was a reminder of what makes Brown so dangerous. When he gets the ball in his hands, he can change a game in an instant, and that big-play ability is exactly what the Ravens need down the stretch. Scoring a touchdown like that is a confidence booster for Brown, and I expect him to be a vital piece of the offense as the Ravens make a push for the playoffs over the next five games.

Mink: NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on Nov. 23 that the Ravens and Packers both tried to sign 32-year-old defensive tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison off the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad. Harrison was instead elevated to the 53-man roster. But that was about a week after Brandon Williams suffered his ankle injury and a day after Derrick Henry ran for 133 yards and a game-winning overtime touchdown. The situation has changed since with Williams and Calais Campbell back on the field. With those guys and Derek Wolfe, the Ravens are in good hands. Plus, for the most part, the Ravens' reserves have done well. I don't see a huge need here at this time.

Downing: Queen has a strong case for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Just look at his numbers – 79 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two sacks and a touchdown. He stepped into a starting role in the middle of a Ravens defense that allowed just 19.5 points per game, the third-best mark in the NFL. Voters will look at his production and his role as an immediate every-down player for one of the league's best defenses, and that will certainly earn him a good number of votes.

But Queen isn't a lock for the award, and Washington's Chase Young has come on strong lately after missing some time earlier this year with an injury. Young is currently the betting favorite for the award, and he has 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The advantage Young has is that he was a higher draft pick – No. 2 overall – and that draft position plays into awards like this whether voters would admit it or not. A few other candidates in the mix are Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn (he had a pair of touchdowns last week), Colts safety Julian Blackmon and Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

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