Tag Archive | "bryant mckinnie"

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Early Injuries Shuffle the Ravens Offensive Line in Camp

Posted on 26 July 2013 by WNST Staff

Day 2 of Ravens Training Camp held some big storylines, especially concerning the Offensive Line. The team’s Super Bowl run in 2012 was predicated on the blocking emergence of a unit that was shuffled all season long. With Bryant McKinnie reinserted into that core, Baltimore seemed to find the best fit for its five lineman; as Kelechi Osemele moved to Guard and Michael Oher transitioned back to RT.

The team already had concerns at Center, with the retirement of Matt Birk, but it was expected Gino Gradkowski would be handed the starting job. Though, with the acquisition of former Colt, A.Q. Shipley, the competition seems to be in full swing. Both split time throughout drills on Friday, yet Shipley was in place with the first team for most of the 11-on-11 portion of practice. Shipley also saw some time next to Gradkowski, filling in at Guard. You can hear Gradkowski’s thoughts on the competition here, in a interview with Glenn Clark, on the Reality Check, after Friday’s practice.

The key concern for the next couple weeks will be the health of both starting Guards, Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele. Yanda was placed on the PUP list, but passed his physical on Friday, making a return in the upcoming days likely. On the other side, Osemele was held out of Thursday’s 2nd practice and was a no-show on Friday, with concerns of a hamstring injury.

In the place of the those two standouts, were several combinations of players varying in experience. Jah Reid took the most snaps at LG (Osemele’s position) with the first team, while RG was a mixed bag of former practice squad players and rookies. Ryan Jensen, a 6th round pick out of Colorado State-Pueblo, initially spent time with the first team, until he was shook up with a leg “tweak,” during running game drills. As mentioned before, A.Q. Shipley filled in at one point, but Ramon Harewood covered the position, while Shipley played Center. Jack Cornell and Antoine McClain also rotated in that spot at points during practice.

It may not be an actual injury, but there still has to be concern at the LT position as well. Though Bryant McKinnie was cleared to practice on Friday, after being sat down Thursday for “conditioning issues,” he did not see much time on the field. He was involved in all position drills, but was held out in most the team exercises (7-on-7, 11-on-11, Two Minute). Rookie fifth round pick, Ricky Wagner (from Wisconsin), settled in with the first team, while McKinnie was on the sidelines. He performed admirably against Elvis Dumervil, but did struggle against the former Defensive Player of the Year, Terrell Suggs.

The key acquisition for the line may be having Offensive Assistant, Juan Castillo, around for an entire season. He not only brought an intensity to practice, but was pulling players aside between plays. Castillo was recognized as one of the best Offensive Line coaches in the league, while in Philadelphia (before his failed experiment calling defensive plays), where he utilized big men in the trenches to control the defensive front 7. He has plenty of size on this roster to play with and can be a real asset in developing some of the younger players on the team.

By the end of practice, the first team Offensive Line looked as follows: LT-Wagner, LG-Reid, C-Shipley, RG-Harewood, RT-Oher. That is vastly different than last season’s Super Bowl winners and the expectation for the starters, come Week 1.

Side Notes:

The defensive rookie class of Matt Elam, Arthur Brown and Brandon Williams all worked with the second team, even though there is high expectations for that trio.

Chykie Brown worked in with the first team, essentially holding down Lardarius Webb’s spot until he is ready to participate in practice.

Torrey Smith had to leave the field at one point, during 7-on-7 drills, with an apparent lower leg/ankle/foot injury. He did have a noticeable limp for the rest of practice, but continued to participate, until the end.

The defensive line showed some versatility, during Two-Minute drills, where OLB Courtney Upshaw and DE Pernell McPhee lined up inside at the DT spots; Dumervil and Suggs held down the DE positions, in that alignment.

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McKinnie returns to practice, Osemele sits out Friday

Posted on 26 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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The first-day drama surrounding left tackle Bryant McKinnie has appeared to resolve itself to some degree for the Ravens.

According to WNST.net colleague Brett Dickinson, the veteran offensive lineman returned to the practice field on the second day of full-squad workouts after being held out Thursday by coach John Harbaugh, who told reporters McKinnie was “too heavy” to practice. The 33-year-old was believed to be carrying 10 pounds more than the team preferred, but the overall sense in Owings Mills was that McKinnie would be able to shed the weight quickly.

McKinnie’s return was good news because starting left guard Kelechi Osemele sat out Friday’s practice as he tweaked his hamstring a day earlier. The second-year lineman was playing in McKinnie’s place at left tackle before he was stretched out on the sideline and was seen with an ice pack on the back of his right leg while watching the second half of the workout. The injury was not believed to be serious and his absence on Friday was likely precautionary.

Other players missing from Friday’s practice included wide receiver Marlon Brown, cornerback Asa Jackson, linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), and right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder). McClain and Yanda remain on the active physically unable to perform list.

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McKinnie held out of first practice due to weight concerns

Posted on 25 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A little more than a month after stating his goal of being the best left tackle in the NFL this season, Bryant McKinnie was nowhere to be found on the practice field as the Ravens’ held their first full-squad workout of the summer on Thursday.

Unlike last year, McKinnie was present at the team’s Owings Mills facility for the first full day of camp, but the veteran wasn’t cleared to practice due to concerns over his weight. Coach John Harbaugh said it was his decision to keep McKinnie off the field, but the offensive lineman was not placed on the non-injured football list like teammate Jacoby Jones after the wide receiver failed the conditioning test earlier in the week.

“Bryant’s just too heavy right now,” Harbaugh said. “He needs to lose weight. My guess is he lost quite a bit today. He’s in good shape and he [has] good cardiovascular fitness and you can tell he’s worked hard, but I wasn’t real comfortable putting him out there today at that weight.

“We’ll figure it out in the next 24 hours, the next 48 hours what we want to do and the best way to deal with it, but he’ll be out there.”

The overall sense from the Ravens was this being more of a precautionary move despite disappointment in McKinnie’s weight. Entering his third season in Baltmore, he is roughly carrying 10 extra pounds of water weight, but his overall conditioning is not as concerning as last year when he reported late to training camp after informing the Ravens he hurt his back after falling outside his Florida home days before training camp.

McKinnie does not have to take the conditioning test due to his exceptional attendance for the Ravens’ offseason conditioning program. The expectation is that he could be back on the field within the next few days if he’s able to shed the weight quickly.

Harbaugh praised McKinnie throughout the spring for his dedication to working out after the Ravens re-signed the 32-year-old to a two-year contract worth a maximum of $7 million. Needless to say, the left tackle’s absence from practice wasn’t the way Harbaugh or McKinnie wanted to begin the summer.

“We’re both disappointed,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not sure who’s more disappointed — Bryant or I — because he was pretty darn disappointed, but I was feeling pretty disappointed myself. We had a long talk about it. It’s not that effort wasn’t put in. It’s an issue, but we’re going to get it fixed together.”

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele slid over to left tackle in McKinnie’s absence while Jah Reid lined up at left guard with the starting offensive line. Unlike last summer when he moved to left tackle in McKinnie’s absence at the start of camp, veteran tackle Michael Oher remained on the right side.

Of course, last summer’s tumultuous start led to McKinnie losing his starting job for the entire regular season before he was placed back with the first unit at the start of the playoffs. He started all four playoff games and was considered a significant reason why the Ravens went on to win their second Super Bowl title.

Webb aiming to be great in return from ACL injury

Top cornerback Lardarius Webb was present and working on a limited basis during the first day of full-team practice in Owings Mills, but the fifth-year defensive back is looking to do more than just recover from the second ACL surgery of his brief NFL career.

“I want to be great,” Webb said. “I don’t want to just be good. I want to be more than that, so I’m working my butt off just to get back on the field.”

He signed a six-year, $50 million contract in April 2012 but saw his season end when he injured his left knee on Oct. 14 in a win over the Dallas Cowboys. Regarded as one of the up-and-coming cornerbacks in the league prior to the injury, Webb has every intention of picking up where he left off.

Before he can reach loftier goals, the Ravens will bring Webb along slowly at the start of camp, but Harbaugh confirmed the 27-year-old is on track to play in the Sept. 5 season opener and very well could see game action even sooner.

“It’s reasonable that he would be playing against Denver with the state of ACL surgery in recovery,” Harbaugh said. “That’s definitely our target. I think he has a very good chance to get back and play in the preseason at some point in time, but it’s not the most important thing. But it would be helpful.”

Veteran linebacker “better than advertised”


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McKinnie setting lofty goals after much different minicamp than last year

Posted on 13 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Last year’s mandatory minicamp in Owings Mills was only the beginning of a trying season for Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie as he was held out of practices due to conditioning reasons.

The Ravens weren’t happy and the problems multiplied from there as McKinnie reported late to training camp after explaining he suffered a fall outside his Florida home in late July, injuring his back in the process. He wouldn’t regain his standing within the organization for quite some time as coach John Harbaugh replaced him at left tackle with Michael Oher. McKinnie was then nearly cut before the start of the season before agent Michael George and general manager Ozzie Newsome worked out a compromise for a reduced salary that kept him in Baltimore.

McKinnie didn’t start a single regular-season game at left tackle, but it all began to change after a December conversation with Harbaugh in which the two cleared the air over their respective expectations. McKinnie’s practice performance improved over the final few weeks of the regular season and he was eventually inserted in the starting lineup for the start of the postseason.

The rest was history as McKinnie’s exceptional play not only protected quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside but reshuffled an offensive line that was dominant throughout the Ravens’ run to a Super Bowl title. McKinnie carried that momentum into the offseason with an eventual return on a two-year contract and a healthy and productive spring participating in organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp without any limitations.

“This time last year, I didn’t even participate, so yeah, I definitely feel a lot better in minicamp,” said McKinnie, who admitted how difficult most of last season was for the 33-year-old lineman. “You just have a lot going on mentally, but right now, I’m more focused so I can have a good year and be the best left tackle in the league.”

It’s a lofty goal for a player most expected to be long gone this offseason as the Ravens would look to the draft and potential free-agent options for a long-term solution at left tackle. A late draft position and limited cap space made that a difficult proposition as the Ravens completed draft weekend with left guard Kelechi Osemele projected to be their starting left tackle.

Meanwhile, McKinnie began receiving interest from the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, taking free-agent visits and receiving offers from both teams before the Ravens jumped back into the picture. All along, McKinnie had remained in touch with Harbaugh, Oher, and new run-game coordinator Juan Castillo as he faced an uncertain future entering his 12th NFL season.

And after looking like he’d be one of the least likely of the Ravens’ many unrestricted free agents to return, he became the only one of significance to stay put in an offseason filled with changes.

“I always wanted to give the Ravens an option to match whatever other teams offered,” McKinnie said. “So I would tell my agent to check back to see what the Ravens have going on and we’ll decide from there.”

Less than a week after the draft, McKinnie agreed to a two-year deal with a reported base value of $6.3 million and $2 million in guaranteed money.

However, Harbaugh laid out the challenge that he was looking forward to seeing McKinnie come to work during offseason workouts as well as OTAs now that it was certain he’d be returning for a third season. The Baltimore coach provided positive reviews Thursday when asked whether his veteran tackle had lived up to his end of the bargain.

“He moved really well in this camp,” Harbaugh said. “As well as he moved at the end of the year last year when he started practicing so well and playing so well. He looks healthy, and he will continue to work on his conditioning. That’s always for all of us, that’s always a year-round, life-round proposition. He seems to be very committed. I love the way he’s playing and his effort.”

The addition of Castillo to the coaching staff has received plenty of praise from players and fellow coaches as the former Philadelphia Eagles assistant will not only oversee the running game but work with offensive line coach Andy Moeller to instruct an offensive line returning four of its five starters from last year’s postseason.

Castillo’s offseason communication isn’t the only way in which McKinnie has been impressed.

“He focuses on our technique, and that’s something that I kind of get away from sometimes,” McKinnie said. “Right now is a great time for us to work on our technique and me in pass protection – sitting straight back. Juan’s been a great help.”

McKinnie said Thursday he feels like he’s 26 and is out to prove that he is capable of performing at a high level for more than just the four-game stretch that helped the Ravens win their second world championship.

The 2002 first-round pick wants to prove he’s the best in the NFL at his position. And he knows exactly what it will take to go about proving it.

“When people turn on film, they’ll just see that I’m dominating,” McKinnie said. “I just feel that I’m going to do better than everybody else this year.”

Whether that lofty goal is realistic or not remains to be seen, but the Ravens will eagerly take the kind of play they saw last January and February from their starting left tackle.


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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 11 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 2pm from Verizon Center live on Monumental Network); MLL: Denver Outlaws @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 6:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports Network); Boxing: Bryant Jennings vs. Andrey Fedosov (Friday 8pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network), Arash Usmanee vs. Art Hovhannisyan (Friday 10pm from South Orange, NJ live on ESPN2), Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 10:45pm from Dallas live on HBO)

10. Sting (Wednesday 8pm Pier Six Pavilion), Darius Rucker (Saturday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); Of Monsters And Men (Tuesday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), The xx/Grizzly Bear (Sunday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Alice Cooper/Marilyn Manson (Monday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); The Go-Go’s/The Psychaelic Furs (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); The Dan Band (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Cold War Kids (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club), Rebirth Brass Band (Sunday 8pm 8×10 Club); The Zombies (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Aaron Lewis (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Hanson (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Animal Collective (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Kings of the Mic feat. LL Cool J, DJ Z-Trip, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); The Olms (Wednesday 6pm U Street Music Hall); David Byrne & St. Vincent (Thursday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Mac McAnally (Friday 9pm State Theatre); KC & The Sunshine Band (APG Federal Credit Union Arena); Mike Doughty (Thursday 8pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Black Sabbath “13”, Jason Isbell “Southeastern”The Lonely Island “The Wack Album”, Goo Goo Dolls “Magnetic” and Jimmy Eat World “Damage” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve posted this video of Darius Rucker doing “Wagon Wheel” with Old Crow Medicine Show before, but just to remind everyone that I’m a Rucker guy-I’m posting it again. It’s the type of thing that doesn’t suck.

For not being remotely American, there’s quite a nice amount of Americana about Of Monsters And Men…

You may remember Rebirth Brass Band from their performance at the Howlin’ Wolf as part of WNST.net’s massive purple parties in New Orleans. I vividly remember the weekend as “The Greatest Weekend of My Life”…

Everything Kevin Van Valkenburg says is more important than everything I say. Kevin Van Valkenburg wants you to listen to Jason Isbell. For what it’s worth, so do I.

9. Bill Cosby (Saturday 8pm Wolf Trap); Frank Caliendo (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); George Wallace (Saturday 8pm Lincoln Theatre); Jay Pharoah (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Oz The Great And Powerful” and “House of Cards Season One” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); This Is The End (Wednesday) and “Man of Steel (Friday) out in theaters

You know Bill Cosby and I are close personal friends, right? Because we are. Almost as close as Caliendo and I…

Also, I would like to see “This Is The End”. It’s a comedy that might actually be funny. In 2013. Just cancel the awards shows.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Harbaugh looking forward to seeing McKinnie go to work

Posted on 05 May 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On the day when the Ravens were wrapping up their mandatory rookie minicamp, coach John Harbaugh answered questions about the return of his starting left tackle and oldest player on the roster.

After agreeing to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $7 million to remain in Baltimore on Thursday, Bryant McKinnie, 33, is expected to come to town this week to finalize the contract and begin offseason workouts. His return means the Ravens have now retained four of five starters from their Super Bowl XLVII offensive line, with only 15-year veteran Matt Birk departing due to retirement.

The Ravens had publicly entertained thoughts of moving second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele to left tackle, but a new contract for McKinnie means Baltimore can keep Osemele at left guard, solidifying another position that would have been a question mark had the 2012 second-round pick made the position change.

“Having Bryant back is a big plus for us. We were hoping that would be the case,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him next week and getting him in here and going to work. We want our line to be as strong as it can possibly be and that makes us stronger.”

Harbaugh, run-game coordinator Juan Castillo, and other members of the organization kept in touch with McKinnie throughout the offseason, even when it appeared they had little interest in bringing back the 2002 first-round pick. The Ravens’ involvement in negotiating with McKinnie spiked after they were unable to come away with a left tackle of the future in last weekend’s draft and saw San Diego and Miami make contract offers to his agent Michael George.

Asked if he’s been pleased with what McKinnie has told him in terms of his activity and conditioning level this offseason, Harbaugh spoke in generic terms since he hasn’t seen the left tackle since the end of last season. Specific details of McKinnie’s deal hadn’t been reported as of Sunday afternoon, but it’s believed there will be some incentives related to workouts and playing time.

There was plenty of speculation that McKinnie found his way into Harbaugh’s doghouse last season as he didn’t start a game until the playoffs, but the Baltimore coach reached out to the 354-pound lineman earlier this offseason to make it known that he wanted McKinnie to stay with the Ravens in 2013.

“I’m always pleased with conversations with Bryant McKinnie,” Harbaugh said. “I enjoy talking to Bryant. He’s one of my favorite guys. He’s a sterling conversationalist. We talk a lot about stuff, a lot of different things — a broad range of topics. I always enjoy that. I think he does as well.”

Spagnuolo’s role a work in progress

Sunday marked the first time Harbaugh commented publicly on the hiring of former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo as a senior defensive assistant, and it appears his role will remain fluid as the offseason moves into training camp and the start of the regular season.

The pair spent seven seasons working together as assistants for the Philadelphia Eagles before Spagnuolo moved on to become the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants and ultimately the head coach in St. Louis from 2009 through 2011. Spagnuolo spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints but was fired after his unit finished last in yards allowed and 31st in points surrendered.

“His accomplishments speak for themselves. I think it adds to an already very strong staff and just makes us that much better,” Harbaugh said. “The more great coaches and great players that we can build into what we’re doing, the better we’re going to be. He’ll build into the defensive side, he’ll assist where needed, and I think we’ll build that in as we go. He can really work with any position, so it’s a big plus for us.”

Given the 53-year-old Spagnuolo’s impressive resume aside from working with an overmatched New Orleans defense a year ago, it will be interesting to see how closely he works with defensive coordinator Dean Pees and whether his longstanding relationship with Harbaugh may put him in line to be the eventual replacement for the 63-year-old.

Elam impresses early

Sunday offered the media’s first glimpse at first-round safety Matt Elam in a Ravens uniform and the University of Florida product didn’t disappoint, showing good speed and nearly picking off a pass during 11-on-11 drills.

Harbaugh even pointed to some of the leadership traits Elam exuded with the Gators that already were carrying over to the practice field in Owings Mills this weekend.

“Matt really picked things up quickly. He really did a nice job of communicating in the back end, which is not usual for a rookie,” Harbaugh said. “Most rookie defensive backs — even all defensive players — have a tough time with the communication part of it because they’re not confident enough to make the calls. He’s smart. He picked it up quickly, he jumped right back there and made the calls with force and played fast. He looked good.”

Odds & ends

Sunday featured an impressive moment for the Towson Tigers football program as quarterback Grant Enders — invited to try out this weekend — connected with wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard on the final play of Sunday’s practice. However, Enders was also the quarterback nearly picked off by Elam in 11-on-11 drills. “Enders and Sheppard looked really good in this camp,” Harbaugh said. “They are NFL-quality guys.” … Former Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg caught a touchdown from University of Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri, who also tried out this weekend. … Second-round linebacker Arthur Brown of Kansas State showed impressive quickness dropping into coverage and blanketed running backs and tight ends running routes on a handful of plays. … Harbaugh said the Ravens are interested in bringing in another kicker who can handle punting and placekicking duties to share reps with kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch during training camp.



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Newly-signed McKinnie ready to pick up where he left off last postseason

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Luke Jones

(Updated: Friday, 11:50 a.m.)

After receiving offers from the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins earlier this week, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has decided to stay put in Baltimore.

The Ravens announced a two-year agreement worth a reported maximum value of $7 million with the 33-year-old lineman, who spent the last two seasons in Baltimore and played exceptionally well at left tackle in the team’s march to their Super Bowl XLVII title. The possibility of McKinnie returning was always left on the table by general manager Ozzie Newsome, who likely wanted to see if the Ravens could secure their left tackle of the future in last weekend’s draft.

Instead, the Ravens failed to find a tackle in the first two days of the draft and were faced with the prospects of second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele lining up at left tackle this season after the 2012 second-round pick split time between right tackle and left guard in his rookie year. Head coach John Harbaugh will hope to see the healthy and motivated McKinnie who shut down such pass rushers as Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil, and Aldon Smith in the postseason after the veteran served in a reserve role during the regular season.

Now, McKinnie wants to prove his postseason performance is what the Ravens can expect for the entire 2013 season.

“That is my goal coming into this season,” McKinnie told AM 1570 WNST on Friday morning. “Just picking up where I left off in the playoffs.”

Miami and San Diego hosted McKinnie on free-agent visits this week, prompting the Ravens to jump into the fray late in the process after keeping contact with the offensive tackle periodically during the offseason.

McKinnie expressed on several occasions that he was open to a return, but he wanted assurances that he would have the opportunity to compete to be the starting left tackle. With the interest from Miami and San Diego, one can assume the Ravens made it clear that the 2002 first-round pick would have nothing to worry about if he played at a level comparable to what they witnessed in January and February.

“I like [Baltimore] a lot,” McKinnie said. “I really wanted to be a part of the organization.”

In 2011, McKinnie started all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens and was the only starting offensive lineman not to miss a snap. However, his 2012 season was tumultuous to say the least as he was held out of organized team activities due to conditioning concerns and reported late to training camp after telling the Ravens he suffered a fall at his home in Florida. The unceremonious start led to Michael Oher replacing him at left tackle and Osemele starting at right tackle with McKinnie serving in a reserve role for the first time in his career.

A late-season conversation between McKinnie and Harbaugh in which the coach spelled out his expectations brought improved effort in practice that gave the Ravens more confidence that the 354-pound tackle could function in the no-huddle offense.

A toe injury to starting left guard Jah Reid in the regular-season finale helped facilitate McKinnie’s insertion into the starting lineup as the Baltimore offensive line did an exceptional job protecting quarterback Joe Flacco in four playoff games that culminated with the Ravens’ second NFL championship. With ample time in the pocket, Flacco became the second player in league history to throw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in a single postseason.

In his 11-year career, McKinnie has played in 164 career regular-season games (148 starts) and has also participated in 11 playoff contests, starting each one. His durability over the course of his career is a reason why McKinnie doesn’t understand the intense scrutiny he’s faced at different points during his career, which includes the stories of his financial problems off the field.

“What I do outside of football is my business,” McKinnie said. “As long as I’m prepared come training camp and game day, I don’t see the problem.”

With the news of the signing, the Ravens are projected to have a starting offensive line of McKinnie at left tackle, Osemele at left guard, second-year lineman Gino Gradkowski at center, Marshal Yanda at right guard, and Oher at right tackle. Gradkowski is expected to replace veteran Matt Birk, who retired this offseason after 15 NFL seasons split between Minnesota and Baltimore.

Listen to Bryant McKinnie’s conversation with Paul Mittermeier and Damon Yaffe on AM 1570 WNST.net right HERE.

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McKinnie receives contract offers from San Diego, Miami

Posted on 01 May 2013 by Luke Jones

After failing to come away with a high-ceiling left tackle prospect in last weekend’s draft, the Ravens are now faced with the prospects of veteran Bryant McKinnie departing via free agency.

The 33-year-old offensive tackle remained in San Diego on a free-agent visit with the Chargers on Wednesday afternoon and tells WNST.net in a text message that an offer has been made to his agent Michael George. Negotiations continue and the Miami Dolphins have also made an offer, according to McKinnie.

The Ravens have remained in contact with the veteran lineman periodically during the offseason despite not making a formal offer to retain his services. General manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh said the week before the draft that second-year lineman Kelechi Osemele would be the team’s starting left tackle if the season were to begin now.

McKinnie met with the Dolphins on Monday before flying to San Diego to begin his visit with the Chargers on Tuesday. Both teams are in need of a starting left tackle.

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Interesting post-draft roster decisions with early look at 2013 Ravens depth chart

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Luke Jones

With the 2013 NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens can now begin looking at the offseason roster with a clearer picture of what they’ll have when they travel to Denver for the Sept. 5 season opener.

Of course, there will be a few more additions or subtractions of some consequence between now and the start of training camp in late July, but any drastic changes are unlikely with the Ravens holding just under $4 million in salary cap space.

The Ravens will likely use some of that remaining cap room to address offensive tackle after only coming away with Wisconsin tackle Ricky Wagner in the fifth round of the draft. The Badgers left tackle will likely be moved inside to guard as it’s not believed that his feet are quick enough to handle the position at the next level, meaning Kelechi Osemele is still in line to be the team’s starting left tackle if the season were to begin now.

The obvious veteran still on the free-agent market is left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who has remained in touch with the Ravens this offseason but visited with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The 33-year-old McKinnie told WNST.net in a text message that the only post-draft contact he’s had from the Ravens came with run-game coordinator Juan Castillo and right tackle Michael Oher.

A CBSSports.com report said McKinnie is also scheduled to visit with the San Diego Chargers, but the 11-year veteran provided his own update on the visit with the Dolphins on Monday afternoon.

“Just finished a good day of meetings & workouts!” McKinnie wrote on his official Twitter account. “This was the gear of choice 4 2day! Nothing final…”

Even if McKinnie signs elsewhere and Osemele ultimately receives the nod to protect quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside, you’d expect the Ravens to at least add another veteran tackle since Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood would then factor heavily into the competition for the starting left guard spot. With no other additions, Oher would clearly be the replacement for Osemele in the event of an injury, but that would open a huge hole on the right side of the line.

Fullback is another interesting position to watch after the Ravens drafted Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk with their second fourth-round pick on Saturday. All things being equal, you wouldn’t expect the rookie to supplant three-time Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, but the veteran’s hefty cap figure puts him at the top of the list of potential cuts should an opportunity to add a pricier veteran arise between now and the start of the season.

Newsome was asked following the conclusion of the draft what Jusczcyk’s selection meant for Leach’s future, but the Ravens executive didn’t exactly provide a guarantee that Leach would be opening running lanes for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in 2013. Baltimore won’t cut Leach for the sake of simply saving $3 million in cap space, but if they need more cap space to address another need such tackle or wide receiver, the Ravens won’t hesitate to give Jusczcyk the starting job.

“We want to make decisions based on how guys perform out on the football field,” Newsome said. “We’re going to get Kyle in here, and the thing we like about Kyle other than his ability to play on the offensive side is we expect him to be a very good special-teams contributor. Could there be a place for both of them? Yes, there could be, because as John and I try to put our 53-man squad together, we want to keep the best 53 players.”

Troubled inside linebacker Rolando McClain remains with the Ravens as of Monday afternoon, but you have to wonder how much shorter his leash became after the selection of Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown. Considering the Ravens traded up in the second round to select Brown in fear of another team taking him before their scheduled pick at 62nd overall, you’d expect that coach John Harbaugh envisions him to be a starter from Day 1.

To this point, the Ravens have said all the polite things about McClain’s latest arrest on April 21 and his right to due process, but the need to keep an average player with such baggage diminished greatly after adding one of the top inside linebackers in this year’s draft class. You have to wonder if McClain will even make it to training camp at this point, or whether he’ll be able to keep himself out of trouble between now and then.

“He is one of the 90,” Newsome said on the final day of the draft. “We’re going to make the determination, starting Sunday, who we think is going to be on our top 53. We’ll start making those decisions. It’s going to be some tough decisions, but as of right now, Rolando is still a part of our football team.”

Below is an all-too-early look at the 2013 depth chart, which doesn’t include undrafted rookie free agents until the full list is officially announced by the Ravens. High draft picks such as Matt Elam and Brown are viewed more favorably than lower-round selections like Ryan Jensen and Aaron Mellette in terms of where they rank on the current depth chart. In many cases, roster holdovers from previous seasons have been given the nod over rookies with the full understanding that some — if not many — will be supplanted.

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of 90 players on their offseason roster.

Projected post-draft 2013 depth chart

QB: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Caleb Hanie
RB: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey, Damien Berry, Lonyae Miller
FB: Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk
WR: Torrey Smith, David Reed, LaQuan Williams, Aaron Mellette
WR: Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, Tori Gurley
TE: Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Alex Silvestro
LT: Kelechi Osemele
LG: Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood, Antoine McClain
C: Gino Gradkowski, Ryan Jensen, Reggie Stephens
RG: Marshal Yanda, Ricky Wagner, Jack Cornell
RT: Michael Oher, David Mims

DE: Chris Canty, Pernell McPhee, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore
NT: Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams
DT: Arthur Jones, Marcus Spears, Swanson Miller
Rush: Terrell Suggs, John Simon, Michael McAdoo
Will: Arthur Brown, Rolando McClain, Albert McClellan, D.J. Bryant
Mike: Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes, Bryan Hall, Nigel Carr
Sam: Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Adrian Hamilton, Spencer Adkins
LCB: Lardarius Webb, Chykie Brown, Chris Johnson, Marc Anthony
SS: Matt Elam, James Ihedigbo, Christian Thompson
FS: Michael Huff, Emanuel Cook, Omar Brown, Anthony Levine
RCB: Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, Asa Jackson

Special Teams
K: Justin Tucker
P: Sam Koch
LS: Morgan Cox
KR: Jacoby Jones, David Reed, Deonte Thompson
PR: Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, Lardarius Webb


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Bring Back B-Mac

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Thyrl Nelson


When it comes to the relationship between the Ravens and left tackle Bryant McKinnie, there’s a lot of water under the bridge, and it’s probably fair to guess that neither side is feeling a whole lot of trust in or loyalty to the other. That, said, it’s becoming more and more clear with each passing day of the NFL off-season that McKinnie and the Ravens need each other.


It’s not as though the Ravens failure to land a starting left tackle in the draft should be a surprise to anyone. Sitting with the 32nd pick overall makes it tough to put together the type of package that could get a team into a position to land a tackle in whom they could have a lot of faith right away. That may have been even truer in this year’s draft where the top tackles were flying off the board in spots usually reserved for quarterbacks and franchise changing play makers.

The debate over where Joe Flacco fits in the hierarchy of NFL quarterback talent has been raging since Flacco’s first season in the league, and a Super Bowl MVP and a $100 million contract have only helped to add fuel to the arguments on both sides.

Clearly Flacco’s regular season statistics don’t measure up against the NFL’s “best of the best” at the QB position. On the other side of the argument however, throughout his career Flacco has seen at least a 40% turnover on his offensive line each year, and substantial turnover at the receiver position too. Chemistry certainly means something when formulating a complex NFL passing offense, and the Ravens haven’t prioritized fostering chemistry for their young franchise QB.

Ironically, it was a shake up on the offensive line to begin the playoffs that, perhaps more than any other factor, set the tone for the Ravens successful run to a Super Bowl title last season. The promotion of McKinnie to the starting left tackle improved the offensive line exponentially by moving Michael Oher to right tackle where he was an upgrade over Kelechi Osemele, and by moving the displaced Osemele to the left guard where he too was an upgrade over the revolving door of “answers” the Ravens had fielded at that spot throughout the regular season. Understandably, any move at left tackle for the Ravens that involves Oher moving from right tackle and/or Osemele moving from left guard will be seen as taking multiple steps back. The retirement of center Matt Birk only serves to compound those concerns.

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has earned the trust of the fans, and reinforced that trust this off-season with a number of “game changing” acquisitions. After experiencing a substantial defection/exile of talent in the early stages of the off-season, redemption came quickly for the Ravens GM via the additions of a number of talented veterans. Unfortunately for the Ravens new $100 million man Flacco, all of those pick-ups came on the defensive side of the ball.

The secondary market has typically been good to the Ravens and to Ozzie Newsome. Every year as players find their way to new locations through free agency and the draft, a number of other players become displaced by those acquisitions. The Ravens have been good at finding serviceable, even high level talent on this secondary market, especially during the Joe Flacco / John Harbaugh era. With the number of left tackles available in free agency and early in the draft it seemed logical to wait and see what kind of secondary tackle market might develop. Now that the dust has settled though, outside of Roger Saffold (Rams) and maybe King Dunlap (Eagles), the secondary market on left tackles doesn’t look quite as promising as one might have hoped. And let’s face it, if Saffold and Dunlap were sure things their teams probably wouldn’t have been so anxious to replace them.

The market for McKinnie has been slow to non-existent too, so it appears that the time has come for the Ravens and McKinnie to swallow a bit of pride and find their ways back to one another. It doesn’t seem that either have any better options. Then the Ravens can focus on the business of trying to find a 2nd and/or 3rd receiver candidate that’ll hopefully provide more upside than TJ Houshmandzadeh or Lee Evans…unless they believe that Tandon Doss is more ready to break out than he’s shown to this point in his NFL career.

Here’s a quick look at the Ravens revolving door of pass blockers and pass catchers during the Joe Flacco era:

LT: 08-Gaither, 09- Gaither, 10 – Oher, 11 – McKinnie, 12 – Oher, 12 (PO) – McKinnie 13 – ?

LG: 08- Grubbs, 09- Grubbs, 10- Grubbs, 11- Grubbs/ Gurode, 12 – Harewood, Reid, 12 (PO) – Osemele, 13 – ?

C: 08- Brown, 09- Birk, 10- Birk, 11- Birk, 12 – Birk, 13 – Gradkowski

RG: 08- Chester/Yanda, 09- Chester/Yanda, 10- Chester, 11- Yanda, 12 – Yanda, 13 – Yanda

RT: 08- Adam Terry/ Willie Anderson (TE), 09- Oher, 10- Yanda, 11-Oher, 12 – Osemele, 12 (PO) – Oher, 13 – ?

FB: 08- Neal, 09- McClain, 10- McClain, 11- Leach, 12 – Leach, 13 – Leach?

RB: 08- McGahee/McClain, 09- Rice/McGahee, 10- Rice/McGahee, 11- Rice/Williams, 12 – Rice/Pierce

TE: 08- Heap/Anderson 09- Heap, 10- Heap/Dickson, 11- Dickson/Pitta, 12 – Pitta/Dickson, 13 – Pitta/Dickson

WR1: 08- Mason, 09- Mason, 10- Mason/Boldin , 11- Boldin, 12 – Boldin, 13 – Smith

WR2: 08- Clayton, 09- Clayton, 10- Mason/Boldin, 11- T. Smith, 12 – Smith, 13 – Jones

WR3: 08- Williams, 09- Clayton, 10- Houshmandzadeh, 11- Evans/L.Williams?, 12 – Jones, 13 – Doss?

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