Yes, my bottom is still recovering from Sunday’s ugly loss to the Houston Texans, but while I am recovering, the Baltimore Ravens are problem-solving and desperately figuring out how to improve their team.
The first step is to fix the offensive line; they have been terrible at protecting quarterback Joe Flacco.
On Monday, head coach John Harbaugh hinted that they may shuffle the offensive line and mix it up by giving playing time to the younger players.
“Yeah, that’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said when asked if he would consider making personnel changes. “I think on our offensive line, we’re just trying to find a good mix.”
He went on to say:
“I would guess we’re going to roll some guys in there and see how they do. Let’s take a look at some young guys, and see how they do. Let’s keep the veterans available and let them play a little bit.”
“A work in progress” is how coach Harbaugh described his offensive line who have allowed 18 sacks this season, tied for fifth most in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at the young players coach Harbaugh wants to bring into the mix …
Third year left guard Ramon Harewood started for the first time in his career for five games; veteran Bobbie Williams started the last two.
Second year tackle/guard Jah Reid has been sidelined with a nagging calf injury he suffered in the preseason. He was not listed on the injury report last week, but did not play in Sunday.
Reid is ready to hit the field:
“I finally have my legs back,” Reid said. “I’m working and in football shape. As soon as I’m able to step on the field, I’ll be pumped. I’ve just got to keep working and hopefully I can show something to the coaches to get me on the field.”
Rookie center/guards Gino Gradkowski and Kelechi Osemele are also in Harbaugh’s game plan.
Gradkowski has been active for every game, but has only seen playing time on special teams. He is considered the “center” of the future. Though he is not as imposing as other linesmen, coaches like him because of how quickly he picked up the game.
He’s being mentored by the veteran players:
“But we have great veterans on this O-line – Matt [Birk] and Mike [Oher] and Marshal [Yanda]. All those guys have been helping me out a ton. That’s huge for me as a rookie to have those kind of guys in the meeting room with me to help me along.”
Osemele has started every game at right tackle.
I’m all for incorporating the young players. The O-line is one of the oldest in the League and after their poor performance this season every bit helps. I hope that Harbaugh’s plan of mixing it and incorporating the young players produces effective results and less sacks/hits to Flacco. Only time will tell if this is the right fix…