Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said he made a mistake when he counted on left tackle Ronnie Stanley to return from ankle surgery at his previous All-Pro level going into the 2021 season.
“It’s probably my mistake,” DeCosta said Friday at his postseason news conference. “I don’t want to use [the word] assuming, but I was expecting Ronnie would come back this year, full strength. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. There’s probably a lot of blame to go around.
“Ultimately, I’m the guy who has to talk to the various doctors and trainers and make a decision and determination at that position. My understanding and belief was that Ronnie would come back this year and play really good football for us, and be healthy and be strong and be ready to go. He wasn’t. That was a big setback.”
Stanley struggled in the team’s season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders and did not play another snap the rest of the season. Instead, he had another ankle surgery in hopes of returning healthy for 2022. His absence upended the Ravens’ plans for a revamped offensive line that ultimately struggled to protect quarterback Lamar Jackson.
DeCosta will face a similar dilemma this offseason as he looks to improve the unit and weighs the likelihood of Stanley’s return.
“I can’t really comment on his rehab at this point,” he said. “But I’m optimistic and I truly believe that Ronnie’s going to be back this year and play good football, play winning football and become, again, the Ronnie Stanley that is an All-Pro left tackle.”