The Baltimore Ravens entered this offseason hoping to make drastic improvements to their offensive line, and it’s still too early to tell whether their moves will translate to success in 2022.
An injury-plagued O-line in 2021 saw the Ravens allow the second-most sacks in the league, and by the end of the season, Baltimore’s front five ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass protection and blocking for the run.
Fans eagerly await the return of All-Pro tackle Ronnie Stanley this upcoming season, but they can also look forward to the exciting left guard battle about to take place during training camp.
Currently, the candidates for the starting left guard are as follows: Tyre Phillips, Ben Powers, Pat Mekari, and Ben Cleveland. Cleveland’s stock has since dipped this summer, and in all likelihood, he probably won’t win the starting job in Week 1.
As for the others, however, each player has a fair chance at nabbing the role depending on how well each fares in the preseason.
Baltimore Ravens writer Clifton Brown had this to say about the tense left guard competition:
"“There isn’t a clear leader at left guard heading into training camp. If I had to name a favorite now, I’d go with Tyre Phillips. He’s athletic and has played well when healthy at both guard and tackle during his two years with the team. Ben Cleveland may also win the job, if he uses his size and strength to become an even more consistent blocker. Ben Powers can’t be overlooked either, after making 19 starts during his three seasons in Baltimore.”"
The Ravens don’t have a clear-cut candidate for left guard in 2022
2020 third-rounder Tyre Phillips started five games for the team last season and was a decent stopgap on the left side. Phillips, along with Powers, appears to be getting more starting snaps at left guard in preseason so far, although it’s still much too early to make any assumptions.
Powers, selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, has an extra year of experience on Phillips and started in 12 of 13 games players last season.
Both Phillips and Powers have played at different positions on the line during their tenure on the Ravens, and versatility seems to be the theme of Baltimore’s offensive line situation heading into the 2022 season.
The Ravens also have Swiss Army man Pat Mekari who can plug into the left guard position (or any O-line position, for that matter) in a pinch, so for all we know the left guard camp competition is blown wide open.
The rest of the offensive line should be fairly stable with Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, rookie Tyler Linderbaum at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Morgan Moses at right tackle.
With Phillips, Powers, and Mekari all having a relatively equal shot at the left guard position, keep your eyes peeled for any crucial camp developments. This O-line battle should be a good one to watch.