The offensive line seems to be one of the hottest topics and biggest areas of concern for Ravens fans and media this offseason.
Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs left in free agency, left tackle Bryant McKinnie was held out of minicamp practices for conditioning purposes and veteran center Matt Birk missed minicamp to have a procedure on the varicose veins in his legs. There appear to be a number of questions without clear resolutions.
Despite the outside concern, Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda isn't worried.
"I feel confident with this group," Yanda said. "We're going in the right direction."
The team signed veteran guard Bobbie Williams in free agency to compete for the starting left guard spot, and Yanda believes that adding him to the mix gives the group a valuable asset.
"He adds experience, definitely stability, as far as a guy that's played a long time," Yanda said. "He knows what it's like out there with live bullets."
Yanda compared the Williams signing to the team picking up McKinnie just before the start of last season. The Ravens signed McKinnie in August, and he went on to start every game at left tackle.
"He's just like what B-Mac was for us last year," Yanda said. "It kind of solidifies that spot, obviously,and definitely he should do real well there."
The strongest point along the offensive line, Yanda said, is that the group has good depth. He, McKinnie, Birk and Michael Oher are all returning starters, and those four players have eight Pro Bowl nods between them.
In addition to adding Williams at guard, they also signed veteran interior lineman Tony Wragge and drafted guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele (second round) and center/guard Gino Gradkowski (fourth round). Also, second-year linemen Jah Reid and Justin Boren have a year of experience noware also looking for an opportunity to get some playing time this season.
With all of those pieces clamoring to get on the field, Yanda thinks the group is ready to have a successful season.
"We definitely have enough guys where if someone goes down, or if something happens, then we know we'll have enough depth," Yanda said. "It's early in this thing yet, obviously we haven't even started training camp yet, so we'll see what happens. They got enough guys so we can make it work and have a successful line. "