Yanda was a key player the Ravens’ Super Bowl run last season, and I don’t think the Ravens would have won it all without him. The Ravens needed all hands on deck to go as far as they did, but I’m pretty sure Joe Flacco doesn’t have the type of postseason he had without Yanda.
Watching the Ravens struggle in certain stretches last season, and this preseason on offense without Yanda proves my point. It’s night and day in terms of run-blocking and pass-protection with the entire unit. Yanda is considered the best guard in the game by many, despite the fact that he wasn’t even on NFL Network’s top 100 earlier in the offseason, which is a joke. But as I mentioned earlier, offensive linemen don’t get attention.
With Matt Birk retiring, Yanda is the obvious leader of the Ravens’ offensive line. Yanda has been on the team the longest out of the five starters on the unit, so it is only fitting that he would be the glue to the offensive line. The Ravens have been blessed to have stellar offensive linemen in their short-franchise history, with Hall of Famer left tackle Jonathan Ogden, and now an excellent guard in Yanda.
“Marshal has been around the block,” Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell noted via the BaltimoreSun. “He’s a guy that’s very, very physical on the interior, but he’s also very, very experienced.”
Not many believe that signing a right guard to a five-year deal worth $32 million is the right way to go in the current NFL’s, “Pass happy league,” but the Ravens did that in 2011, and it looks like they made the right decision.
“Marshal really does set the tone, especially when I watch the film, and he has a better game than me,” Ravens left guard Kelechi Osemele noted to the BaltimoreSun. “That makes me up my level of play. My goal this year is to outplay Marshal.”