You could make the argument that the second-year offensive lineman out of Iowa State hasn’t been able to build on the successful campaign he had as a rookie in 2012. Maybe he just isn’t all that good. I don’t think that is the case though as the 24-year-old has been battling from back spasms since the Miami game, and it appears there may be something larger bothering his ability to perform at the best of his abilities.
“I’m not 100 percent, and I won’t be until surgery after the season, until they fix the disk,” Osemele said to Sports Illustrated when asked about his injury. “… it’s not going to heal during the season; this is a full-contact sport. But I can’t make excuses, I’ve just got to continue to get better.”
He was even involved in a Twitter exchange earlier in the year with a fan (@youheardmedawg) who questioned KO about his health and his ability to block this season. It’s one of those situations where you have to feel for the guy, but also commend him on his ability to keep trotting out there as he knows how important he is to this team.
But when is it getting to the point where Osemele could be risking his long-term status with the Ravens?
The good thing is, the Ravens are off entirely over the next four days as it is their bye week. The rest and relaxation should benefit the injured guard, and he should do whatever he can to avoid physical activity. What’s scary about this kind of injury is just what Osemele mentioned: it’s an injury that will linger on and won’t go away until the required surgery is performed once the season is over.
So, how do the Ravens handle his situation?
I think what they can and should do is ride or die with Osemele. At this point, Ravens backup interior lineman A.Q. Shipley — who filled in nicely during the win over Miami — doesn’t give them a much better option. Shipley is a natural center and is a glorified practice squad player who started five games with the Indianapolis Colts last season.
Osemele is a tough guy and even though this Ravens offensive line is struggling as mightily as it is partially because of his shortcomings, they have to figure that guys will rally around a player like Osemele because he shows that he truly cares and wants to do anything he can to try and win football games.