Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner (71) defends against Oakland Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (97) at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens’ success in 2014 can easily and largely be contributed to a dominant offensive line, one that ranked among the very best in the entire NFL. It was the catalyst for Joe Flacco’s best statistical season to date as well as Justin Forsett’s break out performance.
To say that things have gone south is a giant understatement. Aside from last week’s 150 yard explosion from Justin Forsett, the o-line has crumbled and struggled to open holes for the running game or pass protect sufficiently.
Pro Football Focus rolled out their latest offensive line rankings recently, and it’s pretty clear that the Ravens have truly fallen from grace, ranking near the bottom of all 32 teams (29th). Despite returning all five starters from last season, this unit has been hugely disappointing.
This, despite Marshal Yanda continuing his reign as the top ranked guard in the NFL. Unfortunately, he’s playing next to the worst left tackle in football right now in James Hurst. The absence of Eugene Monroe is obviously a huge contributing factor to this o-lines struggles.
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But so is the disappointing play of 2014’s top rated right tackle, Rick Wagner. After looking like a rising star last season, Wagner has been absolutely awful this season. He and Hurst have combined to allow a total of 35 QB disruptions in only four games.
Perhaps Wagner isn’t completely over last year’s Lisfranc injury, despite the team declaring him 100% healthy. Those injuries tend to linger on forever, which might also explain Jimmy Smith’s disappointing play as of late.
Regardless, the Ravens and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman must find a way to fix things up front. Poor offensive line play is ultimately what sank the Ravens’ playoff chances in 2013, and right now we’re having deja vu all over again.