What To Expect Of Expected Starters: Marshall Yanda
Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda (73) celebrates after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
In the next installment of our daily series, some may disagree with me but I think behind Joe Flacco there is not a more clear cut starter at any position than Marshall Yanda at right guard. You can make an argument for Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Michael Oher, Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff and a couple others, but I say Yanda is clearly the player with the most separation between himself and the next best player at his position on the roster and unlike Haloti Ngata, Michael Oher, and a few others, Yanda has a clearly defined position. Ngata could start at 2 different spots depending on how the Ravens like their DEs. Oher could start at either tackle if McKinnie is out of shape. So when all the dust settles, aside from Flacco, there is no player I would bet on more than Yanda to be the starter at a certain position.
Yanda has always been a dominant run blocker. He is a complete mauler and has never had any issue using his athleticism to get to the second level and make multiple blocks and chips to free Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce. If there is anything Yanda has been able to dominate at since day one in the league, it is run blocking. Yanda has always been able to use his size and strength to stay in front of defenders and he has a strong punch to drive them back. Yanda should be fin in this area of his game.
Yanda actually struggled in pass protection last year. Now it wasnt the type of struggle wherehe was a liability or anything like like that, he just wasnt his usual dominant self. A major reason for this was that Matt Birk took major steps back last season and wasnt able to defend like he used to do. This caused Yanda to have to pick up a signifigant amount of slack and on almost every play he was asked to take on his guy, generally a good DT or NT and help out by getting a hand on whoever lined up on top of Birk. He also had to deal with the inexperience of Kelechi Osemele on the other side. Yanda was OK in pass coverage last year, but I expect him to be much much better this year.
Yanda had a slightly down year last year, expect him to be firing on all cylinders this season and to make short work of the opposition on every play. Marshall Yanda is and has been the Ravens best offensive lineman, there is no reason that should change this year.