Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley was in the starting lineup for Week One of the 2021 season, but that would be his only appearance of the year.
Stanley was limited to six games in 2020 by an ankle injury that required surgery and the ankle forced him back out of the lineup after the season opener. He had to undergo another operation in October and General Manager Eric DeCosta said at a Friday press conference that he believes he was overconfident about Stanley being all the way back from his injury when the year got underway.
“It’s something I’ve thought about quite a bit and it’s probably my mistake,” DeCosta said. “I don’t want to use assuming, but expecting that Ronnie would come back this year full strength. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. There’s probably a lot of blame to go around. Ultimately, I’m the guy who has to talk to the various doctors and trainers and make a decision and determination at that position. My understanding and belief was that Ronnie would come back this year and play really good football for us, and be healthy and be strong and be ready to go and he wasn’t. That was a big setback.”
DeCosta didn’t get into specifics about Stanley’s rehab or his timeline for a return to football activities, but he did say that there are signs that the 2019 All-Pro will regain his form next season.
“I’m optimistic and I truly believe that Ronnie’s going to be back this year and play good football, play winning football and become, again, the Ronnie Stanley that is an All-Pro left tackle,” DeCosta said.
While DeCosta believes Stanley will return, he’s not planning to stand pat up front. He said offensive line will be a point of emphasis for the team this offseason, both in terms of acquiring players and developing people in house who can step into bigger roles next season.