Through the first three games of this season the Ravens offensive line has struggled to not only pass protect, but also open up lanes for the running backs. All-Pro right guard Marshall Yanda has been his usual, dominant self, while second year pro Kelechi Osemele has been holding his own, as he adjusts to his first full season at left guard. First year starter Gino Gradkowski has had some growing pains, but he is the easiest to hide on this line, as he has two great guards on either side of him. Where this team has been struggling the most is at the tackle positions. According to Pro Football Focus, left tackle Bryant McKinnie has been the third worst tackle in all of football, with right tackle Michael Oher only two spots lower as the fifth worst tackle in football. Both of these guys have had their trouble with speed rushers thus far and unless they can step up their game, the rest of the offense will suffer.
Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell had this to say when asked about the play of Mckinnie, “There’s not anybody on our team that can’t get better … so it’s always a work in progress.” Not exactly a great endorsement from your coordinator. McKinnie remains a short term option for the team, so for the time being, the team will have to rely on him and hope that he can play at the level he played at last postseason. As for Oher, he is in a contract year and if he hopes to land a big contract he will have to consistently play better. There are no other viable options on this roster to replace either of these guys, so they have to play better or it is going to be hard for this team to consistently compete this season. Every week will be a test, and this week’s matchup against the Bills will certainly be a tough one. With former first overall pick Mario Williams coming off the edge, the two tackles are going to have to find a way to slow him down or else it is going to be a long day in Buffalo for Flacco and company. Only time will tell if these two will be up for the test, and until then, Caldwell might have to adjust his gameplan and get the ball out quicker.