The Ravens declined comment for this article, but their perception of Oher — is he their left tackle of the future or is he better suited to be a mauling right tackle? — will ultimately dictate how deep into their pockets they are willing to dig to retain one of the NFL's most popular players.

"Because he's not that smooth, and because he's not a technician, he would probably be best inside or maybe at right tackle," Tucker said. "But they are kind of past that unless they get a better alternative at left tackle. Maybe he would be more of a Pro Bowl-caliber player at left guard, but do you want that or a functioning left tackle? Because he is a functioning left tackle."

Charley Casserly, a former NFL general manager who is now an analyst for NFL Network, says Oher has "shown a lot of promise" and that he has a chance to be "a decent left tackle."

Casserly, who isn't buying the argument that the position is any less valuable than when Taylor stalked quarterbacks, also said the Ravens, as perennial playoff contenders who often pick late in the first round of the NFL draft, are in an "awfully difficult situation" to find a better option.

"I know he has some points in there when he gets beat, but it's more positive than negative," Casserly said. "We know he can play right tackle, so you've got that one solved. But you would like him to be the left tackle because that would certainly help your team in the long run more."

For now, both Oher and the Ravens are concerned with the near future. The Ravens have lost three games in a row and host the desperate Giants, who are 16th in the NFL in sacks but have the personnel to terrorize offensive linemen, at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. After that, the Ravens travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals, who lead the NFL in sacks, in the season finale.

As Ogden said, it's tough out there, and it certainly isn't getting any easier for Oher.

"No one wants to hear excuses. You've got to make the block," Ogden said with a serious tone, his phone now stashed away in his pocket. "The good ones do it and keep trying to get better."

matt.vensel@baltsun.com

Breaking down the offensive line

Left tackle Michael Oher has allowed more sacks and pressures than any other Ravens offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus, but there is plenty of blame to be spread around the huddle.

Here is a look at how each offensive lineman has fared in pass protection in 2012.

LT Michael Oher

Sacks: 8

QB hits: 9

Hurries: 23

Total pressures: 40

LG Jah Reid/Bobbie Williams/Ramon Harewood

Sacks: 5

QB hits: 5