Ronnie Stanley played a season-high 51 snaps against the Giants in Week 6 and looked very good doing it.
It was only Stanley's second week back in action, but it was an important development for the Ravens. Many considered Stanley to be the best left tackle in football before his serious ankle injury in 2020. Stanley plans to be that guy again, after multiple surgeries and nearly two years of rehab, a long grind that tested him in many ways.
Stanley feels closer to his old self every week, and his ankle held up well throughout Sunday's game. He was still feeling good on Wednesday, looking forward to Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns when he hopes to perform even better than he did against the Giants.
"It's good to be back out there and get some more plays in," Stanley said. "I wanted to come out of that Giants game with a win, but it's good to come out of there healthy."
There were several plays against the Giants that showed Stanley's agility was back. As Lamar Jackson dropped back to pass on a second down in the first quarter, the Giants blitzed more players than the Ravens could account for. However, Stanley blocked two players. First, he picked up blitzing safety Xavier McKinney and prevented him from taking a straight line to Jackson. Then Stanley quickly moved to his left and blocked edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was barreling around the corner on Jackson's blindside.
It's a small sample size for Stanley, but after two games back, he is Baltimore's second-highest rated offensive player, according to Pro Football Focus, with a score of 77.2, trailing only All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews (85.1).
Stanley strongly believes his play will reach another level as he gets more snaps under his belt. After playing just one game in 2021 before undergoing additional ankle surgery, Stanley wanted to be sure he was ready for the long haul before he came back this year.
"That's been my main thing all along," Stanley said. "I wanted to make sure that I could do the things I know I can do. I'm not up to my standards yet. But I'm on a good road right now."
Having Stanley back is vital to the Ravens' offense which has dealt with injuries all season. Patrick Mekari has been a Swiss Army knife for the offense line, playing left tackle while Stanley was out, then moving to right tackle after Morgan Moses left the Giants game with a heel injury.
Head Coach John Harbaugh is looking forward to having Stanley back on a weekly basis, the security that comes with Jackson's blindside being protected by one of the best players in the game. Baltimore's offensive line had perhaps its best run-blocking game of the season against the Giants, creating massive holes for Kenyan Drake, who rushed for 119 yards on just 10 carries. Stanley's blocking was a major part of that equation.
"Ronnie had a really excellent game; he played good football," Harbaugh said. "The whole offensive line really played well. There are things to clean up, but generally speaking, we're blocking people very well."
Stanley will need a strong game Sunday against Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who's still dealing with a shoulder injury suffered during a car accident in September.
Just like Stanley, Garrett has high standards whenever he takes the field. Stanley wishes Garrett the best with his injuries, but on Sunday he'll be focused on keeping Garrett away from Jackson.
"He's an elite player," Stanley said. "I expect nothing less than the player he is."