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Position Review: Offensive Line


The offensive line was not at its best last year.

The Ravens were last in the league in average rushing yards per carry. They finished tied for fourth-most sacks (48) allowed in the NFL.

Baltimore will look to shake up the unit this offseason. But before that happens, here's a review:

What Ravens Have

Two Strong Guards
Marshal Yanda is a Pro Bowler at right guard. He's rock solid. On the other side lives Kelechi Osemele, who the Ravens had high hopes for entering last season. But Osemele said he suffered a back injury because of his offseason weightlifting regimen, and was lost for three quarters of the season. If he can recover as expected and stay healthy, the Ravens should have one of the best guard tandems in the league.* *

Some Young Talent
The Ravens drafted Rick Wagner in the fifth round last year and liked what they saw from the Wisconsin product. He was used in jumbo packages and was effective. Former third-round pick Jah Reid has yet to reach his potential at either guard or tackle. The Ravens were intrigued enough by center Ryan Jensen to keep him on the active roster in order to get practice all of last year. Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo is known for his ability to groom young talented offensive linemen.

What Ravens Are Looking For

More Size
Partly because of Osemele's injury, which forced converted, stocky center A.Q. Shipley to step in at left guard, the Ravens were not very big inside last year. Gino Gradkowski isn't a very large center. General Manager Ozzie Newsome said after the season that Baltimore wants to get bigger on the interior, which would enable them to get more push.* *

Baltimore cycled through three offensive tackles last year between Bryant McKinnie, Michael Oher and Eugene Monroe. Now both Oher and Monroe are free agents, and McKinnie was traded. The Ravens would like to solidify the tackle position. They haven't had a reliably dominant offensive tackle since the days of Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden.* *

Players For Kubiak's Scheme
The Ravens are going to rely much more on their running game next year as the staple of new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's offense. Kubiak uses a lot of zone running, both inside and outside, stressing the importance of a tough, rough attack that gets up the field. Baltimore wants to provide him with the pieces that fit what he wants to do.

Question Marks

Monroe And Oher
The Ravens are working to re-sign Monroe. They would like to keep him longer than just a rental after trading for him during the season for fourth- and fifth-round picks. Harbaugh said there's a possibility that Baltimore could maintain both of its tackles from last year. But both players could get more lucrative offers on the free agent market than the Ravens are willing to give.* *

Osemele's Health
A big piece of the offensive line relies on Osemele returning back to the form he showed at the end of his rookie year. He wasn't nearly as effective when playing through back pain during the early part of last season. Osemele has been working out at the Under Armour Performance Center, and said he will be ready by the time camps started.

Is Gradkowski The Guy?
Gradkowski's season showcased growing pains. He mostly held his own physically, but the mental part of the game was a challenge. Gradkowski said early in the season that he sometimes had issues getting out calls to the other linemen and recognizing defenses and blitzes. He's a hard worker and smart player, and the mental part of the game can take time for a center. Are the Ravens willing to wait to see if he improves?

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