Bryant McKinnie Could Return to the Baltimore Ravens' Offensive Line

Kyle OlandCorrespondent IIDecember 20, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 17: Bryant McKinnie #78 of the Baltimore Ravens pass blocks against the Detroit Lions at M&T Bank Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Last week the Baltimore offensive line squared off against the ultra-talented Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. While the Ravens offensive line only allowed three sacks during the loss to the Broncos, Joe Flacco was constantly under duress and rarely had time to throw.

This week, with the New York Giants visiting Baltimore, the Ravens will again have their hands full trying to block a New York front seven notorious for disrupting opposing passing attacks. Led by Jason Pierre-Paul (6.5 sacks) and Osi Umenyiora (6.0 sacks), the Giants pass rushers can get after the quarterback with the best of them.

While Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora’s numbers are down from a year ago (last year Pierre-Paul totaled 16.5 sacks and Umenyiora added 9), the two pass rushers have the ability to change a game at any point.

With Baltimore’s All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda potentially sidelined due to a sprained ankle, Baltimore's offensive line will have to play their best game on Sunday to protect Flacco. One player who has rarely seen the field for Baltimore this season could potentially be the answer to their protection problems.

According to the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston, Bryant McKinnie could see time on the Ravens offensive line this week:

"It looks like Ravens coach John Harbaugh might be forced to start or at least use left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie."

After starting every game at left tackle a year ago, McKinnie has been relegated to the bench this season. Baltimore opted to insert rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle and moved Michael Oher from right tackle to left tackle.

A week ago, with Yanda out, Baltimore’s offensive line consisted of Oher, Jah Reid, Matt Birk, Bobbie Williams and Osemele. With their offense struggling, Baltimore must sure up its offensive line in a hurry and McKinnie may be the answer.

McKinnie, a former pro-bowler with Minnesota, was signed last year by Baltimore to fill a void on the offensive line. While he battled weight issues for much of the year, McKinnie served as an adequate pass blocker and an above-average run blocker.

After a troubling offseason where McKinnie faced financial issues and continued weight problems, the veteran lost his starting job and the trust of Harbaugh.  

On Sunday, McKinnie could possibly see time at left tackle. If so, Oher would move back to right tackle and Osemele would swing over to one of the guard spots.

Inserting McKinnie into the starting lineup will not instantaneously fix Baltimore’s offensive line, but it may be just the move needed to help the Ravens reverse their current course.