Tony Bergstrom's Size 14 Boots Can't Fill Marshal Yanda's Shoes, But They'll Try


Tony Bergstrom slipped on a pair of nice, leather cowboy boots before he stood up to talk with a small crowd of Ravens reporters following Sunday's game.

After Marshal Yanda's season-ending ankle fracture, Bergstrom is suddenly the Ravens' new starting right guard and a key player to watch in Baltimore's continued rededication to the run game.

"These 14 boots don't even compare to the shoes you have to fill with him," Bergstrom said.

"It's brutal. Obviously, you can't replace a guy like that. The toughness he has and the kind of character he brings to the team, it's rough. … There's no replacing him, but you still have to move on."

Yanda is a six-time Pro Bowler. Bergstrom is in his sixth NFL season and hasn't started six games.

A third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2012, it will be Bergstrom's first crack at a full-time starting gig. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Utah product started three games for the Raiders in 2015, but didn't start any last season for the Houston Texans.

Bergstrom signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, but the Cardinals traded him to Baltimore on Sept. 1 as the teams were setting their 53-man rosters.

"You still wake up and go, 'Where am I?'" Bergstrom joked.

Bergstrom's only impression of the Ravens was formed in 2012 when he was a rookie with the Raiders. With the Ravens winning by 24 points, Baltimore executed a fake field goal and punter Sam Koch waltzed into the end zone from 7 yards out. The Ravens won that game, 55-20.

"I can't even describe what a great place it is," Bergstrom said. "The atmosphere and the environment here. We could talk for hours about the facility and how nice it is, but the culture [Head] Coach [John] Harbaugh has created here is unmatchable in the NFL, I think. It's incredible to be here."

Bergstrom said he's been pulling all-nighters with Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris trying to learn the Ravens' blocking schemes. He said he's "getting there."

"There's a lot more nuances to this offense," Bergstrom continued. "You get out there for the first time and Joe [Flacco] sounds like he's speaking Spanish in the huddle. You've got to go, 'Joe, slow down, enunciate just a little bit.'"

Yanda suffered his injury on the Ravens' first drive of the second half. Bergstrom said the first drive was "a little scary," but after that "everything kind of settled down."

The Ravens ran for 67 yards in the first half before Yanda's injury and 69 in the second half with Yanda out. So, for one game at least, Bergstrom and the rest of the offensive line still got the job done.

"I'm sure I gave [Coach Harbaugh] a heart attack on a couple [plays]," Bergstrom said with a laugh. "They just kind of threw me in there. I feel like I did pretty well after working out a few kinks."

Harbaugh said Owner Steve Bisciotti was asking about Bergstrom before Sunday's game. Harbaugh didn't know what to tell him considering Bergstrom hadn't suited up.

"Now I have seen him play, and I thought he played well," Harbaugh said.

"No one can replace Marshal Yanda – no one person. But I think we traded for him for a reason, and our scouts believed in him. It looks like a good trade. Everyone is going to have to collectively raise their effort level, their execution level, to make up for the loss of a player like Marshal."

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