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Offensive tackle play has to improve

The offensive tackle positions will be a major key to the Ravens' success this season.

The Ravens have to find a capable player on the right side and third-year starter Michael Oher has to show progression on the left side.

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The team planned on being stronger at the positions a year ago, but quickly had to change its lineup. Jared Gaither came in with a poor attitude and soon became a non-factor early in training camp because of injuries. Oher is aggressive and a mauler, but had problems on the left side because he needed to improve on the technical skills.

The Ravens are hoping he can offset his lack of physical attributes of being a left tackle (size, shorter arms) with his work ethic and film study. I'm hoping the Ravens can still find a quality tackle in free agency instead of counting on Oniel Cousins and rookie Jah Reid to become the starter on the right side.

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Cousins has a great body and athleticism. He looks like the prototype and performs well in practice, but once he gets in a game, he freezes. The guy has brain lock. Reid has excellent potential and could be a sleeper. He has quick feet, works leverage well for a tall player and has raw power, but it's hard seeing a player from Central Florida adjusting to the speed of the NFL quickly.

To become a better passing team, the Ravens have to be able to have their tackles block one-on-one so they can get more players into routes, something they wanted to do last year, but couldn't. They also have to be able to establish a strong running game, especially late, to seal games. The Ravens have to get solid performances from the tackles.


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