With Gaither healthy, Ravens face tackle dilemma

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.

17 responses to “With Gaither healthy, Ravens face tackle dilemma

  1. Come on Florio, the effectiveness of an offensive lineman is not based solely on the number of sacks given up, or what a rookie thinks about his performance…

  2. jliskiew….
    No youre right, but are you saying Oher hasnt played well? Have you watched him play?
    While he obviously hasnt played perfectly, for a rookie he has more than held his own, and what is particularly impressive is his ability to move from RT to LT without batting an eyelash. He even had to do it in the SAME GAME when Gaither went down. And while that might not seem like a big deal, your technique and footwork is totally different at LT than RT and many tackles cant even play both positions.
    This guy will be a GREAT lineman for a long time, you can book that!

  3. Come on Florio!! Jared Allen,while not getting Pack like sack numbers, was hitting Flacco like Tina Turner on a date with Ike. Oher isn’t Ogden.

  4. Playing the best of any LT in the draft so far. I love Monroe in the future but Oher is clearly the most impressive so far.

  5. @PervyHarvin
    Just because Allen is a dirty player and consistently takes late, cheap shots at QB’s, doesn’t mean Oher didn’t do a good job of protecting Flacco.
    I say if Oher has no problem flipping back and forth, you should play Gaither on whichever side he is best and let Oher play the other … it doesnt do much good to play Oher at LT if Gaither is a turnstile at RT

  6. I’m not saying he hasn’t played well – He certainly has for a rookie. But to take him at his word that he controlled Jared Allen is just silly.
    Out of curiosity I watched the NFL Network replay of the game, which has to cut down the game considerably to make the short 90 minute length of the re-broadcast… In they plays they showed Allen beat him on one run blocking play, and defeated him 5 times on pass rushes, using a variety of tactics – speed off the edge, inside rip (which struggled with all last year at Ole Miss as well), and bull rush (one of which forced Flacco to step up and take a sack from the interior).
    This doesn’t even count whatever happened the rest of the game, in particular two more false starts.
    Again, not saying he is playing poorly – He clearly was a huge step up from what Green Bay was forced to play with the prior week, and would be a significant upgrade for my team, the Lions.
    But he hasn’t done anything as of yet to be annointed “the next Ogden,” and Gaither hasn’t done anything to warrant switching sides with Oher, other than get an unfortunate, and unlucky injury.

  7. Will move Oher back to his original spot due to rookie status and to keep anyone from getting upset. Situation that can be dealt with in the off-season, if it needs to be done at all.

  8. Gaither is anything but a ‘turnstyle’ at LT. There’s a reason he’ll return to the LT side…he’s better at it than Michael Oher. Now I’m sure some may want to see Oher over there so he can play ‘The Blind Side’, but it just shouldn’t happen. He’s much more suited for the RT position.
    Note…the 2 1/2 games Gaither was out – the Ravens have lost those 3 contests.
    Sacks may be part of the equation, but Gaither seals off the left side of the line MUCH better in run blocking. I’d imagine a healthy Jared Gaither back in the starting line up will be a welcome sight for Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and frankly Todd Heap – who won’t have to stay back and help with pass protection from the left.
    This is one story that should not be followed. Gaither is an excellent left tackle, and will remain there.

  9. @Wacco- Just stating what I saw. Oher is a good young tackle. May be the best someday, who the hell knows?? Has a big mouth and much to prove yet. Allen isn’t dirty either. That’s called “veteran savvy.” All good veterans display it.

  10. No dilemma. As long as they both start again, I think they’ll be happy.
    The Ravens need something though. They we’re on top of the world at 3-0, but 3 straight losses has changed that drastically.

  11. This is some dilemma, let me tell you. You get an awesome LT back and move one who proved how awesome he will be in this league back to the weaker side. The Ravens are in serious trouble!

  12. The ‘X’ factor in this conversation is the play of Marshal Yanda who took over for Oher when he switched to LT to replace Gaither. Yanda played well especially in the last game vs. Minnesota when he shut out Ray Edwards.
    He is one of the best 6th OL in the league right now with the versatility to play either OG spot or RT.

  13. Gaither started every game last year at LT and did pretty well.
    He gave up 2 sacks in the last game vs the Jags, but before that had faced Harrison twice, Ware, Mario Williams, Trent Cole, Tuck, Freeny and most of the other elite DEs and was only charged with 1 sack in the first 15 games, even while playing with a bad shoulder over the last 6 games. He is also like 6-9 and 350, and Flacco was hardly touched when he was playing well.
    Oher looks awsome as well at about 310 pounds looks more like a big DE or TE than a tackle, and has performed very well on both sides of the line, but not as well as Gaither was playing last year when healthy.
    Great dilema to have though. It is not like having 2 QBs or RBs, they can both play at the same time and side by side in those unbalanced looks Cam uses when he has 6 starting quality O linemen to choose from.

  14. The facts:
    In back to back weeks Jared Allen was shut down by a rookie (Oher) and second year starter (Max Starks).
    Just sayin’

  15. I’d like to see oher finish his rookie season at RT to avoid the distraction of him “taking Gaither’s spot” mostly because Rosenhaus would most definitely come into play. And despite Oher looking like the real deal he still needs some work. We have the luxury of a
    very good and very young OL I don’t Want any problems
    Ravens 31 Broncos 24

  16. Watched the game replay as well and agree with Hey-seuss and jlieskiew above.
    Yanda’s play consistent and most impressive. Oher did OK but Jared Allen did get by him several times. Raven adjusted by using Ray Rice to exploit JA’s overpursuit.
    Didn’t the Raven draft for exactly this dilemma?

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