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Ronnie Stanley Has a Healthy Ankle and Outlook

T Ronnie Stanley
T Ronnie Stanley

Ronnie Stanley remembers the last time he was healthy for an entire season.

It was 2019 and Stanley was a first-team All-Pro. It's no coincidence that the Ravens went 14-2 that season, and that Stanley was regarded as the best left tackle in the NFL.

That was before the serious ankle injury in 2020 that detoured Stanley's career in a major way. Stanley missed 33 games between 2020 and 2022 and underwent multiple surgeries. It has been a grueling experience, but Stanley has endured, and he's looking forward to entering the 2023 healthy and playing to the level of excellence he expects for himself.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be able to come into this season healthy," Stanley said during mandatory minicamp. "I definitely don't take it for granted knowing the past couple of years how hard it is just to get back in the game. To be able to start a whole new season feeling good is … I'm very thankful for."

Stanley participated in two days of minicamp and sat out the final day as a precaution after his foot was stepped on during Day 2. But throughout this offseason, Stanley has trained in ways that he couldn't during recent summers when rehabbing his ankle was such a major part of his routine.

This offseason, Stanley has been able to work more on his strength and athleticism and believes it will make him an even better player.

"A majority of my time the past couple of years has been spent on rehab," Stanley said. "About 80% of that offseason time and probably 20% on training. Being able to really put most of my time on training and building and getting stronger, getting more endurance, and just becoming an overall better athlete has been a big difference for me."

Minicamp gave Stanley his first opportunity to take reps in the system being installed by new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken. Stanley will play a key role as always, protecting Lamar Jackson's blindside and blocking in a running attack that will have a different look under Monken.

Stanley is already excited to see the offense taking shape.

"I don't expect it to be too different in the sense of the things that we do – at least from [an] offensive line perspective," Stanley said. "I do like what I'm seeing: the concepts and the schemes, everyone working together and just the mentality behind the offense. [We] really focus on the execution.

"I think Todd Monken has really done a great job of just getting us all together [and] focused on the same thing. He's just a real guy, and I really believe that we have the same beliefs and mentality when it comes to what makes a successful offense. He's all about the details, focused on the execution. …I think he's doing everything the right way."

It hasn't been all work and no play for Stanley. He took a trip to Asia earlier this offseason with teammates Roquan Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Tyus Bowser that none of them will soon forget. On “The Lounge” podcast, Smith said Stanley began their vacation with a prank that made his teammates think he missed the flight. Smith was angry until he discovered that Stanley was actually on the plane, sitting in a different section and hiding from his teammates.

While he loves a good joke, Stanley is serious about reestablishing himself as the NFL's best left tackle. He played very well in 11 games last season after returning in Week 5, but now that he's healthy, Stanley feels his best football is ahead.

"This is as good as I've felt since 2019, preseason 2020," Stanley said. "I think production-wise, it (2022) was fine. I think no one was really upset about that, but for the standard I have for myself, I do want to be better. I really feel after this offseason, my confidence level – that I will get back and further than that level."

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