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Addition of McKinnie has stabilized Ravens offensive line

Bryant McKinnie AP

Few teams are willing to fiddle with their lineup entering the playoffs.

That makes the Ravens’ willingness to blow up their offensive line amazing, and the results have justified the decision.

They took former Pro Bowler Bryant McKinnie out of exile on the bench and started him at left tackle, which moved Michael Oher from left to right tackle, and Kelechi Osemele from right tackle to left guard.

But it took McKinnie convicing his coaches after an up-and-down offseason which included weight problems and a late arrival at training camp after he supposedly slipped and injured his back at his home.

The Ravens had allowed 15 sacks in their previous five games, when McKinnie went to coach John Harbaugh prior to the regular season finale.

I just told him how badly I wanted to play,” McKinnie said, via Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times. “I just felt like I could help and make a difference, and he was like, ‘Just show me at practice.’”

He apparently did, as their offensive line has stabilized in recent weeks, allowing four sacks in three playoff games, and paving the way for their running backs to be an actual factor in the result (which wasn’t always the case in the regular season).

“It’s just clicked,” Osemele said of the new-look line. “I don’t know what it is, but, . . . it’s just a good fit.

“We really didn’t even have to take many reps before we realized how dominant we could be.”

McKinnie’s been the key, as he kept pass-rushers Dwight Freeney and Elvis Dumervil at bay, something quarterback Joe Flacco’s thankful for.

“ I think it’s a pretty solid group we have up there right now,” Flacco said. “Bryant’s fresh, playing quick and moving well. And obviously, with his stature out there, he’s a big, strong guy.

“It gives us five really good talents up there and they’re playing well together.”

That it happened when perhaps their most talented player had to beg his way out of the doghouse makes it that much more impressive.

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26 Responses to “Addition of McKinnie has stabilized Ravens offensive line”
  1. ravenator says: Jan 25, 2013 8:12 AM

    Ravens Oline is looking beefy. I bet they stonewall the 49er defense.

  2. hurrayforyogapants says: Jan 25, 2013 8:13 AM

    I can’t believe this guy will be getting a ring before AD. Ridiculous.

  3. fcmlefty1 says: Jan 25, 2013 8:17 AM

    McKinnie has always been a very good left tackle – when he’s bothered to care about being a good left tackle. Us Minnesota fans waited for a decade for him to consistently care and it never happened. Hopefully the light has come on for good for him.

  4. reed20fence says: Jan 25, 2013 8:20 AM

    Good thing he’s on our side cuz all the talent both teams bring to the line on defense is what may decide this one.

  5. humbleminded85 says: Jan 25, 2013 8:23 AM

    The key to this change was that everybody is now playing at their best position. Big Mac at LT and Oher at his TRUE position RT. KO is the surprise out of the bunch. It’s kinda bittersweet though seeing how most Ravens fans knew all year that this was the BEST 5 regardless of names, ego’s, and any other sidenotes. I love Harbaughs style of competition between starters and backups but he’s gotta get rid of this whole proverbial “doghouse” stuff. Imagine how good Flacco and Co could of been with this line all year.

  6. luz56 says: Jan 25, 2013 8:35 AM

    Never been a question of talent …. Just a question of heart with this guy

  7. ccjcsr says: Jan 25, 2013 8:36 AM

    McKinnie has the loan to payback during the Strike, he was actually playing for something! other than padding the bank account

  8. paepae805 says: Jan 25, 2013 8:42 AM

    Keep this guy on a short leash while in New Orleans. Remember when the Pro Bowl was in Miami a few years back. This guy gets distracted very easily.

  9. ratbirdsrule says: Jan 25, 2013 8:48 AM

    I thought he was lazy and would never play again…oops

  10. sbaltimore says: Jan 25, 2013 9:00 AM

    Shame it took coach Hardhead almost the entire season to figure THAT one out.

  11. pj1983a says: Jan 25, 2013 9:05 AM

    Kudos to John Harbaugh. It takes a lot of nerve to blow up both your coaching staff and your offensive line midseason, but he was right on both counts. That’s the sign of an exceptional head coach.

  12. purpleandblack2000 says: Jan 25, 2013 9:08 AM

    He’s got the chance of a lifetime and it’s evident he got himself together. Good for him!

  13. donny1rodriguez says: Jan 25, 2013 9:12 AM

    Mckinnies been bustin’ his butt off , he deserves this. Everybody called him fat and lazy and he had enough of it. Don’t forget he was a probowler just a few years ago. Go Big Mac!

  14. youguysaretotalnerds says: Jan 25, 2013 9:35 AM

    humbleminded85 says:
    Jan 25, 2013 8:23 AM
    The key to this change was that everybody is now playing at their best position. Big Mac at LT and Oher at his TRUE position RT. KO is the surprise out of the bunch. It’s kinda bittersweet though seeing how most Ravens fans knew all year that this was the BEST 5 regardless of names, ego’s, and any other sidenotes. I love Harbaughs style of competition between starters and backups but he’s gotta get rid of this whole proverbial “doghouse” stuff. Imagine how good Flacco and Co could of been with this line all year.

    _____
    Really? It’s bittersweet how? How much better could the year have gone? Who cares what their record was, as long as they are playing for the trophy in the end.

  15. questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says: Jan 25, 2013 9:37 AM

    I love football, i love talking football, i love watching football, i loved playing football. I was never on a team, just backyard ball. But we always tried to get the biggest guys, even if they wernt gr8.. good player, but i would pick the niners line over the ravens line all day!. Respect you, but not fearing you!

  16. turboreattore says: Jan 25, 2013 9:43 AM

    In my opinion this is the real reason why we lost against the Ravens in divisional round. Not only McKinnie but all the reshuffled offensive line. Oher is better at RT than LT, Osemele is better at LG than RT, Yanda was back at RG after his injury. If Justin Smith will be not at 100% Aldon Smith will be shut down again and the 49ers will lose the game.

  17. justafanofitall says: Jan 25, 2013 9:46 AM

    Why didn’t he play like that in Minnesota? He has a second chance and finally figured out he’d better start putting in effort or down the road you’ll go forever.

  18. bdoubleoey says: Jan 25, 2013 9:56 AM

    it’s all about the money with him. I think his contract is up at the end, so he is playing hard to get a big contract again. Cause he knows if he didn’t, he would probably be out of the game next year.

  19. guitarkevin says: Jan 25, 2013 9:57 AM

    Talk about having a stud LT with fresh legs. Regardless of the reasons he didn’t start sooner, the timing couldn’t be better.

  20. humbleminded85 says: Jan 25, 2013 10:04 AM

    @youguysaretotalnerds

    Calm down skippy it was just an opinion. Also I don’t need to explain an opinion nor do you or the next person.

  21. ejmat2 says: Jan 25, 2013 10:32 AM

    As a person that has been nothing but disappointed with McKinnie since he was drafted, I have to say, I watched him play in the playoffs and he is playing like the guy the Vikings thought they drafted. It’s pretty sad.

    I’m a Canes and a Viking fan. He was nothing but disappointing as a Viking for most of his stay. The only reason I will be rooting against the Ravens next week is because McKinnie is on that team. I hate to see him get a ring because of his laziness during most of his career. He cares more about his music than he does football. But like I stated, I have been impressed with how he’s played the past few weeks. Maybe he woke up.

  22. whatjusthapped says: Jan 25, 2013 10:34 AM

    Percy Harvin take note, the only way for a Viking to get a shot at a Superbowl ring is on another team!

  23. farmmbig says: Jan 25, 2013 10:51 AM

    And the Buffet business has boomed in the Baltimore area…

    Meanwhile, they struggle in Minnesota.

  24. farmmbig says: Jan 25, 2013 10:53 AM

    Let’s just say we’re more than happy with Matt Kalil in Minnesota…

    You can have McKinnie.

  25. purpleguy says: Jan 25, 2013 11:35 AM

    He still and always will have problems with outside speed rushers, but obviously does better when his weight is down and he’s motivated. I suspect a Super Bowl and Ray Lewis breathing down his neck has provided sufficient short-term motivation. Hopefully he plays well for the Ravens in a week; however, I suspect he’ll be fat, happy, unmotivated and wasting his money again by April.

  26. deltaoracle says: Jan 25, 2013 4:08 PM

    Either Moss or McKinnie will be getting a ring, something that never would have happened had they spent their careers in Minnesota. Maybe Peterson is paying attention.

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