When the Ravens made a trade with the Colts to acquire A.Q. Shipley, the word in Baltimore is that Shipley would serve as competition for Gino Gradkowski as the team tries to replace Matt Birk at center.
Training camp is still ahead, but it doesn’t sound like there’s much that Gradkowski is struggling with in his second NFL season. Tackle Bryant McKinnie said that he has “a lot of confidence” in Gradkowski and quarterback Joe Flacco said that Gradkowski has quelled any concerns he had about working with someone other than Birk.
“I know I loved taking the snap from Matt because I could basically stand straight up because he was so high,” Flacco said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “I was a little bit worried about Gino at first, because I didn’t think he was going to be like that, but he’s been great. I’ve been comfortable underneath of him, and like I said, he’s a bright guy. He’s picked the offense up quickly and he’s making all of his calls quickly and getting our offense going and allowing us to set that tempo.”
John Eisenberg of the Ravens website calls the center job Gradkowski’s to lose, something that certainly fits with the strong reviews that Gradkowski has gotten from his teammates. Seamless transitions are rare in the NFL, but the signs are pointing toward the Ravens coming awfully close to one this year.