2019 Baltimore Ravens roster spotlight: The offensive line
The Baltimore Ravens offseason is heating up alongside the thermometers. It’s time to look at the offensive line and how it shapes up for the 2019 season:
The 2019 Baltimore Ravens absolutely need to have a great offensive line. It doesn’t matter what Greg Roman installs as the new offense if the line can’t turn it into a sustainable reality. Do the Ravens have enough talent on the offensive line? What are the possible problem areas for the unit? Let’s dive into these questions.
The Ravens offensive line has a fair amount of talent. Ronnie Stanley is a capable left tackle that can be borderline elite. Marshal Yanda belongs enshrined in Canton some day. Orlando Brown Jr. showed that he has a promising future with his performance in 2018. There are still questions the Ravens need to answer.
The Ravens are walking into the next season with a very familiar problem. There is no clear cut starter at left guard or center. Matt Skura, who at his best has only been solid, is going to compete with Bradley Bozeman for the starting center job. So it’s just like last year. It’s Skura’s job to lose, and the purple and black need him to step up in a big way.
At left guard the Ravens have familiar options like James Hurst and Alex Lewis as well as a new candidate in Ben Powers. Powers is a rookie and will have to work his way up the depth chart. There is reason to believe that he will. The interior offensive line has been talked about a lot this offseason. It seems like a problem area. The Ravens probably have more trust in Hurst and Lewis than the average fan does, but if Powers is an upgrade he will be on the field.
The fact that the Ravens have options for their offensive line is appealing, even if some of those options aren’t overly appealing. The Ravens have enough talent to make it work and they have the depth to withstand some injuries along the way. This offensive line isn’t amazing, yet it should get the job done.
The biggest problem areas for the offensive line haven’t changed. The interior of the offensive line has is still a question mark. Powers isn’t a proven commodity and Hurst and Lewis have proven to be inconsistent plug ins for the offensive line.
One thing that you can’t forget is that Brown Jr. still has some developing to do at right tackle. Is he big and strong to the point where he can match up with anybody? Absolutely. He still needs to improve upon what he did as a rookie. Brown Jr. is inexperienced and that is a bigger liability than most people are talking about. He should have a decent season, it just wouldn’t be surprising if he had some bumps along the way.
The good news for the offensive line is that Greg Roman is now the offensive coordinator. Roman’s creative blocking schemes and his love of running the football should be popular in the offensive line room. When Lamar Jackson took over the starting quarterback job the run game really took off in a big way. The run game should be even stronger with Mark Ingram and Justice Hill added to the mix. That bodes well for the starting five players up front for the offense.
The offensive line is solid in terms of talent. It’s not great, but it is far from bad. With a heavy commitment to the running game and Lamar Jackson’s athletic ability giving the unit a little help, the offensive line should provide a mostly steady performance.