The Ravens couldn't have asked for much better weather to start training camp. The first full-team workout, which started at 2:30 and finished just after 5, played out under sunny skies and in temperatures in the mid-to-high 70's. Players, who undoubtedly appreciated the break from the summer heat, wore shells.
Months before they would lift the Lombardi Trophy into the confetti-filled air, the Ravens' top decision makers started to have regular discussions about the future of the organization and the potentially wide-scale changes it would face following the 2012 season.
Although Castillo coached several Pro Bowl blockers as the Philadelphia Eagles' longtime offensive line coach like Tra Thomas, Jermane Mayberrry, Jon Runyan, Jason Peters and Shawn Andrews, he also had a hand in recruiting and developing several undrafted free agent offensive linemen that became starters. That includes Hank Fraley from Robert Morris and Jamaal Jackson out of Delaware State.
Now, the Ravens are transitioning at center to Gino Gradkowski. Although Gradkowski will face competition from former Indianapolis Colts center AQ Shipley, he remains the frontrunner to win the starting job.
Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie raised eyebrows -- well, he at least raised mine -- last week when he said that his goal for the 2013 NFL season is to be "the best left tackle in the league."
Preston never put a lot of stock in OTAs because the season is still a few months away and there could be some significant changes to the roster before the regular season opener. But here are a few casual observations from watching the first workout open to the media Wednesday.
As the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Ravens had an extremely eventful offseason where they overhauled their roster and dealt with a tight salary-cap situation by making a series of tough decisions.
Even if Bryant McKinnie does not prove to be an upgrade over Michael Oher, his return to the Ravens and the left tackle position should make the Ravens stronger at both left guard and right tackle. Make no mistake, though, Oher will still be in the crosshairs of formidable NFL pass rushers over at right tackle.
Now that McKinnie has been retained after a brief foray into free agency where he drew offers from the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, the Ravens have four of their five starting offensive linemen back from their Super Bowl run.
With the Super Bowl champions re-signing left tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year contract with a maximum value of $7 million, Osemele is slated to play left guard where he lined up during the Ravens' playoff run.
Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, who turns 29 late this year, is a relative greybeard along the line. He is the only offensive lineman on the roster above the age of 26. Offensive tackles Michael Oher and Ramon Harewood are both 26. The rest are 25 or under.
After just one NFL season, Osemele has learned that lesson already. A second-round pick in 2012, Osemele started all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens at right tackle, a position that he hadn't played extensively in several years. When the playoffs began, Osemele was shifted to left guard to accommodate McKinnie's insertion into the starting lineup.
Instead of delivering touchdown passes, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player handed out ice cream sundaes. Admittedly, Flacco did so with much less confidence than he normally displays in the Ravens' backfield.
We have known for a couple of weeks that defensive lineman Bryan Hall would be slimming down to move to inside linebacker. But Tuesday was the first time that the Ravens acknowledged publicly that Kelechi Osemele may play left tackle and that defensive end Pernell McPhee would become a hybrid linebacker.