www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-bryant-mckinnie-playing-time-more-likely-to-happen-later-than-sooner-20121010,0,2644665.story

baltimoresun.com

Playing time for Bryant McKinnie more likely to happen later than sooner

Offensive tackle benched before the season, replaced by Michael Oher

By Aaron Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

2:35 PM EDT, October 10, 2012

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The time for a change at left tackle is unlikely to be now for the Ravens despite starter Michael Oher struggling against the Kansas City Chiefs and occasionally the previous week against the Cleveland Browns, according to a team source.

Which means that returning to the lineup in any capacity is unlikely at this time for benched former Pro Bowl left tackle Bryant McKinnie, whose contract was restructured before the season and reduced from $3.2 million to $2.2 million.

There is a chance, though, that McKinnie would get another shot later this season if Oher continues to have issues with speedy edge pass rushers, as he did against Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole (sack, forced fumble) and Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali.

Plus, the Ravens would be unlikely to owe McKinnie a $1 million playing-time incentive clause later in the season because he would be past the required threshold of 50 percent of the snaps.

When asked about his prospects for playing time, McKinnie told The Baltimore Sun: "I do have a feeling like I have a good chance of playing later this season."

Oher allowed a sack and forced fumble to Cole, and Hali had two sacks, two tackles for losses and three quarterback hits in the Ravens' 9-6 win Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Oher has another difficult challenge Sunday against Dallas Cowboys star outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who has five sacks and three forced fumbles this season and 104 1/2 career sacks and 30 forced fumbles.

McKinnie was replaced in the starting lineup before the season opener as the Ravens executed a line shuffle intended to get younger and more athletic. Oher was moved to left tackle ahead of him after playing right tackle last season.

Rookie second-round draft pick Kelechi Osemele has started every game at right tackle, having his moments as a run blocker, but he allowed two sacks and five quarterback pressures to Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston.

If McKinnie, 33, was to return to the lineup, then Oher would likely go back to left tackle with Osemele shifting back to left guard and replacing Ramon Harewood. Harewood was picked to start ahead of veteran Bobbie Williams.

At this time, though, another line shuffle isn't in the works.

McKinnie was paid a $500,000 roster bonus in March after pledging to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that he would get in optimum condition.

The 6-foot-8, 354-pounder was held out of a minicamp later, though, due to conditioning issues.

Then, he reported to training camp five days late after saying he slipped and hurt his lower back at his South Florida home.

McKinnie later passed the conditioning test and was given a chance to regain his starting job, but the coaching staff opted to go with a reconfigured, younger offensive line.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh did say, though, that McKinnie has made strides.

"Bryant is ready to play right now," Harbaugh said. "Circumstances dictate a lot of things sometimes. I had a conversation about that this morning with Bobbie Williams and with Bryant. It was more in passing. It was just a fun conversation that we had, and they are practicing like they are going to play this week, both of them.

"They've both done a great job with their conditioning. They are practicing at a high level, and there's nothing that says we couldn't put those guys in there, if we felt it was best for our team or if we needed to because of an injury."

awilson@baltsun.com