Ravens offensive lineman Ryan Jensen talks about the team's new offensive line coach and competing to be the starting center. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
The Ravens' decision to trade starting center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers in March opened the door for Ryan Jensen and John Urschel to fill that role. And Jensen understands that he has a chance to seize the job for the upcoming season.
"It's a huge opportunity," he said Thursday after an organized team activity. "When I'm out here, I want to show that I can be the guy and that I can go out there and lead that group on the field and become a quality starter there at the center position."
Starting is not a novel concept to Jensen, who has made a combined nine starts in the past two seasons. But all of those came at guard, which is different from playing center.
If he is feeling any nerves about possibly replacing Zuttah, Jensen did not acknowledge any Thursday.
"I don't feel any pressure at all," he said. "I feel like I'm ready and confident to take that spot. It's going to be a good competition between me and John, and I'm ready for that competition."
Coach John Harbaugh said earlier that Jensen has added muscle and trimmed some body fat from his listed size of 6 feet, 4 inches and 310 pounds. Jensen credited his improved conditioning to working with new strength coach Juney Barnett.
"I feel like the new strength and conditioning staff that we have along with some of the guys from the old one fit really well with how I was doing my offseason conditioning when I was back in Colorado," Jensen said. "I feel it just helped me stack on top of that and continue my growth."
Jensen said he also is learning from new offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris, who has advocated a downhill blocking approach that differs from the zone blocking concepts espoused by former coach Juan Castillo.
"He's brought a lot of good stuff," Jensen said. "He brought a lot of new schemes for us to work on in pass protection and stuff like that. He's a really good leader, and he's getting us all cohesive and getting us together."