With all of the issues facing the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, none is larger than the concerns they have up front with their offensive line.
A unit that only had to endure the loss of retired center Matt Birk for second-year man Gino Gradkowski at the start of the season turned into a complete nightmare, where everyone across the board paled in comparison to who they were in 2012.
Kelechi Osemele‘s season-ending back injury was devastating as the Ravens had to insert backup center A.Q. Shipley into the role. He did a serviceable job, for what it was worth. Eugene Monroe came over in Baltimore’s first ever in-season trade to replace Bryant McKinnie, and he struggled mightily in his first year as a full-time starter. In fact, he may not have the luxury of being the incumbent no. 1 center entering camp this July.
Marshal Yanda was elected to the Pro Bowl, but had probably one of his worst seasons. Michael Oher played well at times and struggled at others as questions have come up about whether or not the Ravens should retain him in 2014.
There was no bigger issue on the team this season as they not only struggled to protect Joe Flacco, but the dreadful ground game for Baltimore was largely due to the line being blown back and unable to hold their ground. They were also unable to create creases for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
If I was Ozzie Newsome, I’d be working on fixing the inside then the out, unless a solid first-round left tackle is available. I’m not diminishing what Monroe can do, but the trade for him didn’t change much along the front five in terms of success. He is young, but Baltimore needs more than just young guys if they want to win. They need talent.