One of the more underrated stories for the Baltimore Ravens so far is how the team is handling the retirement of former starting center Matt Birk, and who is ready to be in line to take over that role. Well, Gino Gradkowski is answering the bell, and Joe Flacco likes what he sees.
”He’s a bright guy,” Flacco noted via baltimoreravens.com. “He’s picked the offense up quickly and he’s making all of his calls quickly and getting our offense going and allowing us to set that tempo.”
But Flacco has noted he had some concerns about Gradkowski’s height. The third year player is 6-foot-3, while Birk came in with the height of 6-foot-4. That may not look like a big difference to most, but don’t tell that to Flacco, who comes in at 6-foot-6.
”I know I loved taking the snap from Matt because I could basically stand straight up because he was so high,” Flacco noted. “I was a little bit worried about Gino at first, because I didn’t think he was going to be like that, but he’s been great. I’ve been comfortable underneath of him.”
Gradkowski was a guy noted for a mean streak coming out of the NFL draft in 2011, but a bit undersized in his frame. The good news for him? The Ravens offensive line is a zone blocking unit. You don’t have to be a huge lineman when it comes to zone blocking. In fact, it is even encouraged that you be as athletic as you can be.
Look at Chris Myers of the Houston Texans for example. He weighs 290 pounds, and is considered a top-five center in the game. Myers certainly had no problems pushing around a player in nose tackle Terrence Cody, who weighs over 320 pounds, in the Ravens vs. Texans match up last season .
If Gradkowski is able to pan out, it will just be another long list of gems the Ravens front office have found in their 17-year history in Baltimore.