You had to figure it was going to come sooner rather than later, Ravens fans, as the Baltimore Ravens have announced that they will start newly-acquired offensive lineman Eugene Monroe at left tackle Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Once the trade was made last week, most that follow and cover the Ravens suspected that left tackle Bryant McKinnie‘s days were numbered in Baltimore, or at least his starting spot was in jeopardy. As Ravens head coach John Harbaugh made clear when the trade was done, they didn’t bring in Eugene to sit.
Is this the right move at Week 6? Yes, for several reasons.
First, McKinnie has been awful in the first five games of the regular season. He has always been known for his pass-blocking abilities, but the 34-year-old can’t seem to find his stride in that department. Bryant has never been much of a run blocker, and it has shown mightily in during the 2013 season. The Ravens have yet to really establish any consistency on offense, and while there isn’t one person to blame, the offensive line seems to be one of the main topics of discussion.
There were concerns regarding the former University of Miami Hurricane coming into the regular season; consider how long it not only took for him to re-sign with the Ravens, but why no other organization decided to take a chance on the veteran left tackle. I feel for Bryant as he is a misunderstood player who needs the money badly at this stage of his career, but he has to realize that results are what you are measured on in the NFL. Performances matter. What he did during the Super Bowl XLVII run was nice, but the Ravens have moved forward and still have big plans for 2013.
In comes Monroe, a 26-year-old tackle from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the last year of his rookie contract. The former Virginia Cavalier hasn’t necessarily lived up to being the No. 8 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, but he hasn’t been a bust either. What Monroe provides is some youth at a vital position where protecting quarterback Joe Flacco is a must given the lack of depth at receiver and tight end. It won’t take much for Monroe to be better than McKinnie, and I feel as if he has received some harsh criticisms all because he is coming from Jacksonville. At 6-foot-5, 306 pounds, the Ravens may not have the same size at the position as they have with McKinnie, but they certainly have more athleticism.