Rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen has spent the last two and a half months working his way back from a broken foot he suffered at the start of training camp.
He has yet to play in a game – regular season or preseason – and most of his time has been spent in the training room. But Jensen returned to practice as a limited participant last week and is closer to making a return.
Once he's able to get back on the field, what kind of impact could the sixth-round pick have on the Ravens' offensive line?
"He'll be a backup to start with, and then we'll see what he does from there," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We haven't seen much of him yet. So, developmental backup – that will be his role."
Jensen only saw about a week of work during training camp before getting hurt, but he made enough of an impact during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamps that the Ravens opted to keep him on the active roster rather than go on season-ending injured reserve.
"I feel that the coaches keeping me on the active roster, it kind of shows what I showed them during OTAs and minicamps, that I can play at this level," Jensen said. "I'm ready to get back on the field and prove them right."
Jensen played offensive tackle in college at Colorado State-Pueblo, but the Ravens drafted him with the expectation of moving him to an interior line position. At 6-foot-4, 318 pounds, Jensen has the size to play center, guard or tackle in the NFL.
The Ravens like the potential he has shown at the interior positions, and Jensen said that he will mostly focus on guard this season.
"In talking with [Run Game Coordinator Juan] Castillo, he wants me to focus mostly on guard for the rest of the year, and master that position while also knowing how to play center," Jensen said.
The Ravens have moved college tackles to guard in the past, as both Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda were tackles during their college career. Now Jensen is going through the transition of learning how to play guard and center.
"In college playing tackle you have a lot of space to cover, where on the interior you're more in the mess of everything," Jensen said. "It was a little different acclimating to that during OTA's and minicamp."
Jensen has not been able to develop his game on the field the last couple months, but he has participated in meetings and film study throughout the year. During that time, he has focused on the mental side of learning new positions.
He will provide depth behind Osemele and Yanda, and will compete with 2011 third-round pick Jah Reid for a reserve role.
"At this point I'm still working on getting healthy and doing all of that," Jensen said. "We have a timetable for me to get back on the field and we're following that pretty well."