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With injuries to some players whose age is already becoming a factor, it may seem easy to point out several areas in need of an injection of both youth and talent along the Ravens' roster. It is difficult, however, to identify their single greatest need.
At this point there are just too many questions that need to be answered. Will Michael Oher get a contract extension? Will Bryant McKinnie be back in 2013? Will he play in 2012? Is this Matt Birk's final season? Is this Ray Lewis' final season? Ed Reed's?
Until we can answer at least some of these questions, the Ravens' greatest area of need for the 2013 season remains unclear.
However, considering the struggles of the offensive line this season and the question marks Baltimore has at the tackle position, left tackle could certainly end up being it.
For one thing it's becoming increasingly obvious that Michael Oher is better suited at right tackle. For reasons unknown, the Ravens' best option at left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, continues to ride the bench, as rookie Kelechi Osemele goes through growing pains as the Ravens' current starting right tackle.
The Ravens would be much better off with McKinnie in the starting rotation at left tackle, Oher on the right side, and Osemele moved inside to left guard. But whether or not McKinnie is still in the dog house for showing up at training camp overweight and putting up a fight about his contract, or the Ravens coaching staff truly believes their best lineman are on the field, something has to change.
If this trend continues it's hard to imagine McKinnie back in Baltimore next season. With Michael Oher's rookie contract up in 2014, it seems like it's time to find a franchise left tackle. That will be easier said than done, as the the Ravens will likely be picking in the second half of the first round yet again.