Ravens Offensive Line Could Be a Major Strength 

Offensive Line

When their offense is cooking, the Ravens rely on their offensive line to set the table. And with four of five starters returning from last year's team, Baltimore believes it has the place settings.

"Whenever we've been good, our offensive line has been really good," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday during training camp. If you're not good in the trenches, I don't know how you can think that you're going to overcome that. It's a priority for us. I love our offensive line. I think they are the core."

Early in training camp, the Ravens love the potential of their current front five. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley believes this year's unit could be the best he's ever played with.

That's noteworthy considering the Ravens went 14-2 in 2019 with an offensive line that had three Pro Bowlers – Stanley, Ring of Honor member Marshal Yanda at right guard, and Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle. The Ravens led the NFL in rushing that year by more than 50 yards per game, averaging 206.0 yards per contest, while also leading the league in scoring with an average of 33.2 points.

It's too early to measure this year's unit against that stellar group. However, the Ravens return plenty of talent from last year – Stanley, 2022 All-Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum, and two of the NFL's most reliable linemen on the right side in guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Morgan Moses.

Stanley isn't shying away from comparing Baltimore' 2019 offensive line to the 2023 version.

"I really think we have the pieces to bring that same type of offensive line. We could be better. So, it's just about us putting that together and actually doing it."

The biggest unanswered question on the offensive line is who will start at left guard. Sixth-round rookie Sala Aumavae-Laulu has gotten first-team reps early in camp, and Harbaugh said John Simpson will get his opportunity for first-team reps next week. Stanley is among the vets who has become a mentor to Aumavae-Laulu.

"He's smart. He's a quick learner," Stanley said. "This is part of the camp where you really grow and develop as a player, and I'm starting to see him definitely make strides every day. Him playing next to me as well definitely gives me more of an opportunity to help him and just be there for him any time he needs help."

Harbaugh continues to be impressed with how Aumavae-Laulu has handled himself at guard, despite primarily playing tackle at Oregon.

"I haven't seen any step back, nothing to make you think he's been slowed down, or nothing to disappoint," Harbaugh said. "He still continues to make steady progress. "John Simpson, you know, same thing. He's had a great camp, and next week, we'll flip it. He will go with the ones and Sala will go with the twos. We'll look at both guys with both groups of guys."

It will be interesting to see how many blocking schemes will carry over from last season, with new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken replacing Greg Roman. Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris indicated that new twists will be added to some run game concepts that will remain in place.

"Greg and I had a lot of the same philosophies, so we're staying with a lot of the same things that we have been doing," D'Alessandris said. "There are some things that Todd has implemented, we're still using some of that stuff, too. It's a combination of a lot of schemes."

Chemistry is very important for any offensive line, and the Ravens already have much of that in place. Linderbaum has the potential to be a Pro Bowl center for years to come, and after being thrown into the fire as a rookie starter, he has returned with more experience and the confidence to be more vocal when communicating with his linemates.

"It's like coming into college as a freshman or something," Linderbaum said. "Obviously, you're going to be a little more reserved in the things you're going to say, but I think as the season progressed last year, I had to have a role of talking and speaking … so guys can follow you. But I think certainly, as we progress, as times goes on, just continue to build that leadership role and have guys go up there trust me on what needs to be done."

D'Alessandris also likes the potential of this year's line, but he's focusing on the daily grind to improve.

"I don't want any accolades early," D'Alessandris said. "Let's just keep growing. We have our first preseason game coming up, and then we'll see how we do there, and then keep seeing which players fit into each position and grow."

Stanley is entering a season feeling 100% for the first time since his major ankle injury in 2020. Linderbaum looks like an emerging star. Morgan and Zeitler are models of consistency and durability, while the winner of the left guard competition will be surrounded by talent.

Is this the best offensive line Stanley has ever played on? If he's asked that question in February, Stanley wants the answer to be yes.

"I feel very comfortable with where we are right now in our process as an offense and as a team, building our chemistry," Stanley said. "[It's] probably the furthest along I've felt on any team that I've ever been on at this point. Things are really starting to click early, and Coach [Monken] has gotten us executing and focused on the right things. Everyone's doing what they're supposed to do – it's just good to see."

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