With the retirement of right tackle Willie Anderson seeming imminent, the Ravens would lose a veteran presence on a very young offensive line.
But rookie Michael Oher has comfortably stepped into that starting vacancy.
Oher, the Ravens' first-round draft pick this year, took all the reps with the first team during this week's passing camp. And because Adam Terry (knee) and Oniel Cousins (chest) are hurt, Oher hasn't come off the field with the second and third units, as well.
"I feel good. I know I'm going to work hard and I know I'm going to do my best to learn everything, and I'm going to compete," Oher said. "All I know is competing. I'm definitely going to have to earn my job and come to play every day."
The 6-foot-4, 309-pound Oher began the week on rocky footing. On Monday, veteran linebacker Jarret Johnson took advantage of Oher's enthusiasm, knocking him off balance to regularly get to the quarterback.
Coaches were impressed with the way he responded to instruction, however, and Oher bounced back with a strong practice on Tuesday and continued to improve throughout the camp.
"He's a guy that really learns quickly," said offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. "On Monday, he saw some things he hadn't seen before, but on Tuesday, he responded to the corrections. As a rookie, that's one of the hardest things to do, make those corrections quickly.
"What he brings to the table for us is going to show when we get him in pads. He's just a big, physical man, and in this environment, he's done very well."
Oher's size and physicality has caught the eyes of his new teammates, as well.
"He has a quiet intensity about him, and it doesn't seem like he has much body fat," explained defensive tackle Trevor Pryce, one of the players that got by Oher earlier this week. "That is pretty much the most impressive thing. It's like, 'Wow, look at this guy.' He looks like Julius Peppers. He is going to be something."
The Ravens are counting on Oher more than ever with Anderson's pending retirement, which surprised the team considering he was coming off a solid year when he started 11 contests.
The four-time Pro Bowler was placed on the reserve/retired list last week after he determined chronic knee and foot injuries would have limited him this offseason. According to head coach John Harbaugh, Anderson would feel pain for two or three days after every workout.
Harbaugh said that Anderson held a candid conversation with general manager Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end that retired after a stellar 13-year career.
"It's hard for him to get the kind of conditioning, the kind of shape that he wants to get in, the kind of player he has been accustomed to being over the years," Harbaugh said.
Terry, who is entering his fifth season, is still in the mix to start, but he hasn't fully recovered from offseaon knee surgery.
That means the job is Oher's to lose for the moment.