Most NFL experts will tell you that the quarterback is the most important position in the NFL. Some will say that an NFL team cannot be successful without a productive running game.
No matter what football philosophy one buys into, an offense cannot move by ground or by air without an adequate offensive line. The line is a question mark for the Ravens.
The departure of Ben Grubbs, back injuries to Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie being...well...being Bryant McKinnie, have caused some concern amongst the Ravens fanbase.
How has Baltimore responded? Ozzie Newsome made what appears to be a smart acquisition by signing former Cincinnati Bengal Bobbie Williams to play guard. The veteran guard is known for having a mean streak, and although he may not have the talent of Grubbs, Williams' veteran presence should bode well during the season.
As for the center and tackle positions, the Ravens are hoping rookies Gino Gradkowski and Kelechi Osemele are the answers now instead of just the future.
When Osemele was drafted, it was widely believed that he would compete with Jah Reid for the left guard position. It would appear that Williams has that position nailed down and the current environment has dictated otherwise.
Thanks to the McKinnie situation, the Ravens have moved Michael Oher to left tackle and placed Osemele in the right tackle position for the majority of training camp.
Reports out of camp have been positive concerning his athletic ability and his technique, which is somewhat of a surprise considering Osemele is considered to be a raw prospect.
Gradkowski has also fared well in camp. The Delaware product has the edge on the depth chart over second-year player Justin Boren. Of course Birk is expected to be back from injuries at some point but this is not an exercise in futility. Gradkowski is gaining valuable experience that will pay off nicely if called upon during the regular season and beyond.
The good news is that both the rookies and Williams appeared to do fairly well in the first preseason game of the year. Hopefully they continue to develop and can contribute to the Ravens' 2012 season.
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