Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
It was expected that there would be a lot of competition brought in to challenge Ricky Wagner for Michael Oher’s right tackle spot. The Ravens could have turned to the draft to add another young big man to compete with the Wisconsin product.
On the contrary, they could have chosen to go with a proven veteran from the free-agent pool. They could have even looked within and given Kelechi Osemele some snaps at his initial position.
But we’re more than halfway through the offseason and Wagner has given Newsome no reason to bring in outside help and none of the internal candidates have been able to unseat him.
Wagner has run exclusively with the starters and drawn plenty of positive feedback from the coaching staff—including new coordinator Gary Kubiak. Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com reported what Kubiak had to say in one of his OTA press conferences:
To me, Ricky has been—I don’t want to say he’s a surprise, because I expected him to play well—but I think we put a lot on his plate early walking in here as a starter, new scheme and those types of things.
He has responded and hasn’t missed a rep. He plays very hard in what we’re doing, so we just have to keep going. But I’ve been very pleased with Ricky.
It’s hard to truly gauge any of the “big uglies” without the pads on, but Wagner has performed well in practice against the likes of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs.
Looking back on his first NFL action in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos, it’s hard to imagine that Wagner has grown so substantially, but he’s become more familiar with his teammates and has adjusted nicely to the new blocking scheme, in addition to becoming leaner and stronger.
This was supposed to be one of the more drama-filled aspects of the Ravens offseason, but there has been zero drama at all. We’ll still have to wait and see how he fares when the intensity is cranked up a notch, but his starting spot doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy.