Though it’s not quite as tricky as the challenge created by keeping the identity of a starting quarterback under wraps, the Ravens are staying mum when it comes to the manner in which their starting tackles will line up on Sunday.
Left tackle Jared Gaither has missed two full games with a neck injury. Right tackle Michael Oher, a rookie first-round draft pick, flipped over to the left side during Gaither’s absence.
Oher generally has done well in that spot, especially against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. And Oher wasn’t bashful about saying so.
So now that Gaither is healthy after the bye week, coach John Harbaugh isn’t saying whether Gaither will return to the left side — or whether he’ll take Oher’s spot on the right side.
Regardless of how they align, the primary challenge for Gaither and Oher will be to keep Elvis Dumervil from knocking quarterback Joe Flacco out of the building. Dumervil has 10 sacks in six games, and he lines up at various different positions.
Still, if Gaither gets partially Pipped, he’ll surely be upset. Left tackles make a lot more money than right tackles, and Gaither hired Drew Rosenhaus earlier this year for reasons other than personal amusement. (“Drew, hey it’s Jared. Say ‘next question’ one more time for me.”)
So if the Ravens think their first-round rookie can get it done on the left side, it makes long-time financial sense to shift Gaither to right tackle, and to pay him accordingly.