It’s been over 2 months since the Ravens suffered their heart breaking loss to the New England Patriots. It was an end to a pretty impressive season for the AFC North champions. With the Ravens literally a catch away from a berth in the Super Bowl, the team is forced to hit the drawing board in attempts to improve the division champs.
And though the Ravens have suffered huge losses on the defensive side of the ball, there is no question where the Ravens must improve in 2012.
The offensive line!
The offensive line was average at best last season. And with the departure of Ben Grubbs, this unit is officially in shambles. Bryant McKinnie was better than most expected, but was repeatedly beaten by speedy edge rushers. Michael Oher’s pre-snap miscues have become down right laughable. And the resigning of Matt Birk was more a sign of desperation than a vote of confidence in the aging center’s ability to perform at a high level.
With Marshall Yanda as their only invaluable lineman, the Ravens must improve this unit if they want another shot at the Vince Lombardi trophy this upcoming season. And nobody is more aware of that fact more than John Harbaugh.
“We have to upgrade it. I don’t even know if we have a full complement of lineman to be on our 53-man roster,” Harbaugh told reporters on Tuesday.
NFL head coaches make it a habit to keep the media and the rest of the league in the dark when it comes to their own team. However, the Ravens head coach was not shy in expressing how he felt about the unit during the NFL owners’ meeting in Florida. “We don’t have our five starters set. We have guys where you say, ‘Can they play the position or not?’”
Coach Harbaugh knows that the offense will take a huge step back this season if he is forced to field this group on Sundays. How desperate are things in Owings Mills? The Ravens have unofficially named Jah Reid as their starting left guard.
Jah Reid…….the offensive tackle.
John Harbaugh was quick to point out that he would have to compete in order to earn the starting job, but the message is clear as day.
The Ravens are desperate.
They saw what the Texans were able to do to them in the divisional round of the playoffs at M&T Bank Stadium. And that was with Ben Grubbs. If Joe Flacco is going to improve, and I’m one of the few who thinks he can, then the offensive line is going to have to perform better than they did last year.
Harbaugh shares those sentiments. “The quarterback is obviously critically important but if you don’t have an offensive line, you can forget about it. We have to build an offensive line.”
Don’t believe the hype. The Ravens can survive the losses of Jarrett Johnson and company on defense. That unit will be a top 5 defense this season. But if the Ravens can’t improve their offensive line, it may be heartbreak city once again for the purple and black.