Baltimore Ravens: 3 lessons learned from 2017 injury bug

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Running back Alex Collins #34 of the Baltimore Ravens dives for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Running back Alex Collins #34 of the Baltimore Ravens dives for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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BALTIMORE, MD – DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 and offensive guard James Hurst #74 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD – DECEMBER 23: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 and offensive guard James Hurst #74 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrate after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

2. James Hurst was worth keeping:

James Hurst used to be synonymous with fans saying “Come on man!” Hurst started his career as an absolutely awful offensive tackle. His blunder filled pass protection got Joe Flacco injured in 2015. Fast forward to the present day and Hurst is coming off a strong year at left guard and is projected to start at right tackle next season. The Ravens just gave Hurst a four year extension, largely due to his versatility and improved play.

It never seemed Hurst would end up as a starter, let alone one you could trust. Things change, and Hurst is proof of that. I’m hoping he returns to left guard, but that is a conversation for a different day. The take-home point here is that Hurst reversed the course of his career with his play in 2017.

Hurst only got this chance because of the injuries sustained on the offensive line. If Alex Lewis was able to, he would have manned the left guard spot. The Ravens drafted Nico Siragusa and he looked capable of starting right away before getting hurt. When Yanda went down the Ravens had two guard spots being manned by a player who was never supposed to play there. Injuries changed the entire offensive line. Another example of this is Matt Skura, who at the least proved that he could play.