Jeremy Zuttah

Ravens' Jeremy Zuttah after minicamp on Tuesday. (Karl Merton Ferrron, Baltimore Sun / June 17, 2014)

By the nature of his job, center Jeremy Zuttah has to be one of the most knowledgeable players on the Ravens' offense.

Zuttah touches the football at the start of every play, makes the line calls and blocking adjustments. He's integral to the passing game with his shotgun snaps and pass protection and running game as an athletic lineman with the capability to pull and get downfield to block.

Since being acquired in March from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a 2015 fifth-round draft pick, Zuttah has been absorbing the playbook. Installed by new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the offense requires a lot from its center.

“It’s pretty important," Zuttah said Monday at the first day of the Ravens' mandatory minicamp. "You’ve got to learn ahead of the curve. It’s helpful to have the other guys around at first. You guide them through it a little bit. We have such pros out here. They put extra time in, and we’re all on the same page.”

Zuttah said he has some familiarity with Kubiak's schemes from what he was accustomed to in Tampa Bay.

"I’ve run the same type of plays, probably more leaning on the type of plays coach Kubiak’s calling now, we mix it up more," Zuttah said. "I think it gives me a chance to perfect that craft and run the same type over and over again. I’ve watched a lot of Houston film over the years, and I’ve seen the way they run it, so I’m pretty familiar with it.”

Earlier this spring, Ravens coach John Harbaugh singled out Zuttah for praise.

"Jeremy Zuttah is doing a great job," Harbaugh said. "He's smart, really smart, really mature, goes about his business in a mature way. I'm just very impressed with how smart he is.

"He's very quick. He's about 305, 306 pounds. He looks good physically in there, but he can move. So, we'll see. It's going to be interesting to watch him play to see if he can prove himself."

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Zuttah allowed no sacks last year with the Buccaneers. The Ravens -- who had Gino Gradkowski starting at center last year -- gave up 48 sacks last season and finished 29th in total offense with the 30th-ranked running game.

"We have a lot of playmakers and we have the right pieces up front," Zuttah said. "So as long as we keep plugging away and keep taking it one day at a time and getting better, who knows what we’re capable of."

Zuttah is flanked by Pro Bowl right offensive guard Marshal Yanda and left offensive guard Kelechi Osemele, who drew high marks in the past and has made a sound recovery from back surgery.

"It's a little bit of a thing to say you can play between Marshal Yanda and K.O. out there, but I feel good," Zuttah said. "I’m getting comfortable out here.”

Zuttah said it took some time for him to get to that point.

"It took a little bit. I’ve been in one place for six years," said Zuttah, who signed a five-year, $18 million contract with the Ravens that includes $6.5 million guaranteed. "It does take a little bit of an adjustment period, but I think it’s going to obviously work out for the better for me. I feel ready to be here and ready to work.”

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider