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Ronnie Stanley Quietly Chugging Toward Starting Job


There has been no real competition in Ravens training camp for the starting left tackle job.

It was first-round pick Ronnie Stanley's over the summer, it was his when camp opened and it's still very much his entering the Ravens' third preseason game – the starters' dress rehearsal for the regular season.

For being one of the most important positions on the field, the fact that the Ravens will have a rookie stepping in as the starting left tackle spot – protecting recovering quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside – has been pretty ho hum.

It's something no other Ravens player has done in franchise history. Eventual Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden started at left guard his rookie season in 1996. Michael Oher started at right tackle in 2009.

"You look at it, and you go, 'There's nothing that tells you that he can't do this,'" Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman said.

"The game's not going to be too big for him and the spot's not going to be too big for him. It's an important spot, obviously. That's what we're seeing each and every day. … I think he's going to grow into being an outstanding football player."

The Ravens' No. 6 overall pick has been the league's top-graded rookie tackle through the first two preseason games, per Pro Football Focus. He hasn't surrendered a single pressure while in pass protection (28 snaps).

That's the same kind of production the Ravens are seeing on the practice field, where Stanley has continued his strong blocking even now that Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are back on the field.

"You watch in practice and you grade the tape and you don't really talk about him much. So that's a good sign in terms of how he's doing," Trestman said, adding that Stanley has done well with picking up the different protection schemes and blitzes.

"He's very quietly going about his business each and every day. He's very focused. There's not a lot of stuff going on outside of him just trying to do his job, and that's a very good sign. He's got a quiet demeanor, but he's working extremely hard."

Trestman said Stanley is a sociable guy when they talk about the game, or football, or whatever else. The Notre Dame product just doesn't say much on the field.

"He's just doing his job, and then you watch the tape and you see that that's what's getting done," Trestman said.

Trestman gave credit to Stanley, as well as offensive line coaches Juan Castillo and Todd Washington for the rookie's progress. Trestman hasn't needed to do anything special to get him up to speed.

"I can't say I've done anything other than to ask him how he's doing and tell him to buy bonds," Trestman joked.

The next litmus test will be blocking for Flacco in Saturday's third preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium. Stanley has done it in practice, but defenders aren't allowed to hit Flacco when he's donning his red jersey. Stanley has previously said he understands it's different protecting the franchise player.

Stanley will have to block defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who notched 14.5 sacks last year and has 30 sacks in three seasons.

"He's going to see some good players this week and he's certainly going to see some very, very good players as we start the season," Trestman said.

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