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It's new start for Gaither at tackle

The Baltimore Sun

It will be tough for anyone to get out of the shadow of Jonathan Ogden.

But if anyone can, it would be 6-foot-9, 350-pound Jared Gaither.

At his farewell news conference Thursday, Ogden offered some advice to Gaither, who is expected to replace him at left tackle.

"I will tell him, 'Don't try to be me; be Jared,' " Ogden said. "And hopefully Jared will be as good, if not better, one day. And doing the best you can will generally be enough. You don't need that extra pressure."

This could be the biggest adjustment for the Ravens this season.

In 11 seasons as the Ravens' left tackle, Ogden went to 11 Pro Bowls and started 160 games.

Gaither, 22, a second-year player out of Maryland, has two career starts.

"Jared Gaither has jumped into left tackle," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He's young. He's not J.O. by any stretch, but he's had a chance to watch J.O. for a year and he's got some of the same kind of skill set that J.O. has. He's got a long way to go to become a great offensive tackle in this league, but we're really pleased with his progress."

Mark Schlereth, a former Denver Broncos offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst, expects a major transition period for the Ravens after losing Ogden.

"It's one of those positions that nobody really recognizes until it falls apart, and then you start to look at it and go, 'Man, we're really struggling,' " Schlereth said. "I think there was a certain comfort zone and a certain ease that he brings.

"I think you fall into this false sense of security that protection at this position is very easy. I think it's the second-hardest position on the football field after the quarterback. If you don't have a good one, you're going to struggle."

Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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