Baltimore Ravens' O-Line Starting to Gel After Rocky Start

By Jermaine Lockett
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens’ O-line looked collectively better against the Chicago Bears, even in a loss. They helped Ray Rice out of his slump and to have a big day. They even kept Joe Flacco upright a little better than usual. Could this be a sign of good things to come for this unit?

Bringing in Eugene Monroe was supposed to be a good thing for the Ravens, right? Well statistically, it seems that it was not so great of a move for the passing game. With Bryant McKinnie starting, the Ravens allowed 14 sacks through five weeks of the season; in comparison, the last five weeks have been slightly worse with them allowing 19. This is because defenses do not respect the ground game.

The lack of ground game falls back on the big guys as well. When your running backs are getting met in the backfield the second they touch the ball, it’s not a RB problem.

Last Sunday, we saw how both phases of the game complemented each other. When the line is creating holes and opening up the run game then the when it comes to the pass, Flacco is not laying on his back as much. The proof is in the number of sacks (three) he took on Sunday vs. the amount (five) he was taking on average since Week 6.

They have a tough challenge ahead as they go from facing the 31st team in the league against the run to facing off against the no. 1 team against the run this weekend. The New York Jets’ pass rush is no cakewalk either. They have taken down signal callers 28 times on the season, but as shown by the Buffalo Bills last weekend, QBs can get the ball off and into the holes of the Jets’ mediocre secondary.

Usually, a great run-stop means defenses don’t blitz as much because they are practicing draw awareness on the way to the QB. This gives the QB that half of a second more to get the ball off, which is why the Ravens’ O-line need to take advantage of every second given by the Jets to help Flacco excel in Sunday’s game.  Hopefully, the Ravens’ O-line can continue this upward trend of pass protection as well as good run-blocking.

Jermaine Lockett is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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