Ravens’ O-Line is Biggest Issue Heading into Camp

Can this group improve in 2012?

Now that much of the contract drama has died down, the Ravens issues heading into Training Camp are pretty clear.

On Defense, they’ll need to find a way to get to the Quarterback without Terrell Suggs.

On Offense, the Line is the focus as they attempt to deal with the departure of Ben Grubbs and the left side all on the wrong side of thirty.

The people at Pro Football Focus looked at the films of every game, and ranked the Ravens’ line as the NFL’s eighth best, which isn’t really that bad. I’m not really sure if I’d agree with that but I often rely more on what I see than what’s on the stat sheet.

Last season I saw a team that ran too much to the right side (behind Yanda and Oher) and at times was manhandled during the playoffs. With limited cap space the Ravens didn’t do that much to improve from last season as Grubbs went to off to New Orleans. They found at least a decent replacement in former Bengal Bobbie Williams but it remains to be seen how much he’s got left in the tank plus he’s coming off a broken ankle at the end of 2011. Throw in Bryant McKinnie’s weight issues and the situation on the left side looks pretty murky.

Of course there are several younger options waiting in the wings, but the question remains if any are ready for prime-time. Draft picks Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski could be in the mix along with second-year man Jah Reid. So for now the hope appears to be that the team can get one more year of production from Birk, Williams, and McKinnie or at least until one of the youngsters might be ready to step up.

It’s just one of the questions that we’ll hope gets answered over the next several weeks as camp kicks off. How this veteran group holds up in 2012 will be key to the Ravens success.

 

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