Even though he has played through pain, has never complained about getting his position changed every season and is respected in the locker room, Michael Oher has been maligned during his Ravens career. He might not be a top NFL offensive tackle, but we got a glimpse of how valuable he is in Thursday night's loss.
We knew the Ravens would be in the nickel a lot against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. They probably had to use it even more than expected as the Broncos went three-wide on more than 75 percent of their plays. As a result, Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham and Lardarius Webb played significant snaps.
During the Ravens' 34-27 preseason loss Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, the offensive line struggled mightily at times as the Panthers finished with three sacks, eight tackles for losses and six quarterback hits.
It took only a few moments for Ravens Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda and starting cornerback Lardarius Webb during their respective preseason debuts to prove that their surgically repaired limbs are sound.
Lardarius Webb was forced to watch from the sideline as his Ravens teammates defended their end zone in that desperate goal-line stand in the final moments of the Super Bowl. Webb said Thursday he is driven by watching the Ravens win the Super Bowl without him.
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.
The NFL offseason heats up on Tuesday when the free agency period begins and the NFL draft will take place next month. In anticipation of those events, blogger and reporter Matt Vensel will look at six key positions the Ravens might address in free agency and the NFL draft in the days leading up to the start of free agency. Today, he looks at offensive tackles.
The Baltimore Ravens could soon make tough roster cuts to create more salary cap space. This is not an easy thing for the front office today in any year, but especially so after lifting the Lombardi Trophy just a few weeks ago. One of those cap casualties could be All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach, who is regarded by pundits and his peers as the NFL's best at his position.
Kelechi Osemele, a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, has been challenged throughout his rookie year. Growing pains were to be expected, but Osemele has passed most of the tests. The latest came in Sunday's 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, and he aced it. After starting every game during the regular season at right tackle, Osemele slid inside to left guard when the Ravens inserted Bryant McKinnie in the starting lineup and moved Michael Oher from left tackle to right tackle. It was his first start at guard since the preseason.
The Ravens have scratched starting left offensive guard Jah Reid for today's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts because of a toe injury that prevented him from doing much at practice all week.