Skip to main content

Offensive Line Playing Exceptionally Well To End Season


The Ravens expected the offensive line to be the strength of the team coming into this season.

All five starters were returning from last season, and the unit had paved the way for a powerful rushing attack that powered the offense in 2014.

Visions of a dominant front never came to complete fruition because of injuries that started all the way back in training camp. The Ravens ended up playing just three full games with the offensive line they expected to have at the start of the year, and the group was constantly in flux.

But lately the group has stabilized.

The lineup of left tackle Kelechi Osemele, left guard Ryan Jensen, center John Urschel, right guard Marshal Yanda and right tackle Rick Wagner has played together for three straight games, and the group had one of its best overall showings in Sunday's win over Pittsburgh.

"The whole offensive line played exceptionally well in this game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "You're talking about a really good [Steelers'] front we're going against, pass rushers and run defense, one of the top fronts in the league."

The line paved the way for running backs Buck Allen and Terrance West to pick up 121 rushing yards, and the unit also allowed just one sack on quarterback Ryan Mallett.

"He really had a lot of breathing space, and that's a credit to the offensive line," Harbaugh said.

The development of the new-look line is an encouraging sign going into next season, as the Ravens have found some young players who could move themselves into starting roles.

Urschel has been consistent since starting center Jeremy Zuttah went on injured reserve in Week 11. Osemele has shown the ability to be a starting left tackle in the NFL. His audition has gone well since a shoulder injury landed Eugene Monroe on injured reserve.

Jensen stepped into the starting lineup when the Ravens wanted to give Osemele a shot at left tackle, and he's more than held his own at left guard. Jensen has proven himself as a bruising run blocker the last two games.

"Man, this guy – what he gets beat one week, he cleans it up the next week," Harbaugh said. "[He is a] smart, tough, very aggressive player."

Wagner has also come on strong lately. He's been solid in his second year as a starter, but Wagner has battled through minor injuries all season. He returned this year from a season-ending Lisfranc foot sprain that he suffered last December, and he didn't even miss a game.

Wagner fought through issues all season, and he's currently playing his best football.

"Rick probably played his best game of the year," Harbaugh said. "He has had all the bumps and bruises, but this guy never, ever, says he can't go. I don't know what it would take. Let's not find out, but he seems like he was a little healthier this game; and he really played well."

The strong finish is a bright spot in a difficult season. The group has shown depth and young talent, and there will certainly be plenty of competition for starting jobs going into next season.

"As a group, yes, it was excellent," Harbaugh said. "It was an excellent game by those guys."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content