Age a concern on the Ravens’ offensive line


The Ravens have made the playoffs four straight years and are favored to make it five years in a row this season, but one of the problems that sometimes strikes a perennial playoff team is that it can get old in a hurry. And in Baltimore, there’s some concern that that’s what’s happening on the Ravens’ offensive line.

Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun takes a look today at the age of the Ravens’ line, where center Matt Birk and left guard Bobbie Williams both turn 36 in the next three months, and left tackle Bryant McKinnie turns 33 in September. Vensel notes that the total combined age of the Ravens’ projected starting offensive line is 159, and passes along some ESPN research that says that if the combined age of your offensive line is greater than 150, a steep decline may be coming.

That research shouldn’t exactly come as breaking news to anyone who follows the NFL. Football players tend to lose a step around the age of 30, so if your five-man offensive line has a total age of 150, that means your average offensive lineman is at the age when players tend to lose a step. If you have a lot of players on the wrong side of 30, you have a lot of players who are past their primes.

But it may concern some in Baltimore, especially because of the departure of starting guard Ben Grubbs, who signed with the Saints in free agency. The Ravens drafted two players who could be in the mix to replace Grubbs, Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski, but Williams is expected to be the starter there. And if Williams replaces Grubbs, that’s a spot where the Ravens are getting older and less talented.

And a team that’s getting older and less talented on the offensive line is a team that has to be at least a little bit worried, no matter how heavily it’s favored to return to the playoffs.

13 responses to “Age a concern on the Ravens’ offensive line

  1. I agree, Ravenator. They will be probably be allright in the long run. But have you seen the way the Steelers draft? You haven’t, given the fact that you repeatedly post that our D is “old” and in trouble.

    According to you, your o-line, (which is aggregately older than our D) will be just fine, while our D is going to fall apart.

    But hey, I’m just a hater/biased Steeler homer. Fact is, neither franchise is going to fall apart, given that the Steelers are bedrock and the Ravens have done a masterful job of imitation.

  2. Have you seen the way the Bengals draft? Wow the AFCN have been dominated on the draft boards by the Bengals the last 3 seasons

  3. The whole turning 30 thing to me is overrated.. If a player is still in the NFL at that point it means he’s had a pretty succesfull run.. I think it’s widely thought they lose a step so they slowly get shoved down the depth chart and lose playing time. So basically it appears they lost a step on the back of their Baseball card but really they just lost the playing time they used to get when they were younger. Bobbie played at a very high level last year for the Bengals and to me that’s the best indicator of how good a player is. “What have you done for me lately?”… They should have re-signed him if not at the very least for a quality starter sitting on the bench in case of injury…

  4. the good news is that the Ravens draft well and have young good talent behind the aging line. in a salary cap era something has to give. look at the defense of the Steelers last year and its age. Now that they have gotten younger there will they still be able to maintain the same level of play? it depends on their draft picks working out. As it will for the Ravens on their offensive line. Last year the worrisome area for the Ravens was the secondary and it ended up being probably the strength of the defense. Bottom line is that they need to line up and play the games. Before long it will be the Ravens vs the Steelers like always with cindy knocking on the door and the clowns dead last as usual.

  5. Handsofsweed… Your defense isnt old, it’s just overrated. The steelers rely on intimidation and getting to the QB. They have for many years. But the truth is they played in a division where none of the offenses really scare you.

    Teams started torealize the steelers secondary is not that good. Polamolu is always up at the line of scrimmage, and in recent years he’s not that great in coverage. Ryan Clark is a joke, and can’t cover… He just known because he’s on tv shows all the time and takes an occasional cheap shot when he’s lucky enough to be close enough to hit someone.

    The corners… Some were okay over the years, some were horrible. But there definitely wasnt anyone qb’s would be scared to go after.

    Steelers defense isn’t “hated on” because it’s old but simply because it’s overrated.

    The nfl basically changed its
    Rules so that teams like the ravens and steelers wouldn’t be tops in the league because their type of football isn’t appealing the the average fair weather fan. Guess the true football fans don’t count for much anymore, which is why stadium have such a hard time selling seats anymore.

  6. Not overly concerned with the line, and who decided that Bobbie Williams is a starter BEFORE training camp? Because he took snaps in 1 minicamp? Please.

  7. @watermelon

    I disagree with the way you characterize the Steelers Defense. Ask NE, who had a terrific passing offense, how the Steelers defense was last year? The fact of the matter is the Steelers have a consistent, effective scheme that they know how to draft for. I also disagree with your characterization of Troy not being effective in coverage – he’s above average in coverage but the fact of the matter is he is a STRONG safety who in this defense isn’t asked to play as much in coverage – his game is to play equal parts safety, linebacker, and blitzer on any given play.

  8. Not sure why Ravenator thinks that teams hate on the Ravens? They consistently choke in the playoffs to the Steelers (see 2001, 2008, and 2010) and most recently to the Patriots. I would think they need to win something before people start hating. I live in Raven land and you would have thought they won the SB when they swept the Steelers – which in my opinion says more about the Steelers than the Ravens. I just looked up the win/loss between the two teams and the Steeler have won 2 out of every 3 games (even with last years sweep). Which includes the Playoffs where the Ravens have never beaten the Steelers. So I ask, if you are a Steeler fan – what is to hate?

  9. Jah Reid almost won the starting RT position last season as a rookie in a shortened offseason.

    Osemele & Gradkowski were drafted this year as successors at the LG & C positions respectfully.

    Anyone of these guys can step in and play if an injury occurs, but they’re still being groomed on the finer points.

    There are no worries here at all.

  10. Everyone claimed the Steelers Defense was ‘too old’ last season, and they only finished #1 in the league overall. If that’s “too old”, I’ll happily take it. I’m sure the Ratbird line will be just fine this season – it’s not making Flacco and Rice happy that should be worrying their fans.

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