It looks like Ravens coach John Harbaugh might be forced to start or at least use left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.
The current two starting tackles, Michael Oher on the left and Kelechi Osemele on the right, have struggled against speed rushers and left guard Jah Reid struggles against everybody. McKinnie probably has some rust, and he might not be in top shape having sat on the bench all season, but at least the Ravens would be attempting to get better after struggles in the past three games.
If McKinnie starts on the left, Oher on the right and Osemele at left guard, it cuts down on the weaknesses on the offensive line. McKinnie has been in Harbaugh's dog house because he doesn't practice well, but when you cut a veterans' salary and garnish his wages, you can expect him to sulk. A good coach finds a way to motivate him, and if he doesn't perform better than the Ravens should have cut him. I imagine that general manager Ozzie Newsome might have spoken to Harbaugh about the situation. McKinnie gets paid to play, not sit on the bench and eat cheeseburgers.
It's crunch time for the Ravens. They face the Giants this week and the Bengals the following week. Both teams have outstanding defensive lines that get after quarterbacks. With Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggling, it makes sense for Harbaugh to give him as much help as possible.
I don't know if McKinnie is the answer and I'm sure he'll struggle this week after being out of the lineup for such a long period of time. But the Ravens have backed into the playoffs, and by the first game McKinnie should have rounded into form. Right now, he's the best and only option the Ravens have except for remaining status quo, and that hasn't worked -- at least not against the better teams in the NFL.