Ravens Preview Part 2: Offensive Line

<P><EM>Over the next few months, Dev Panchwagh will break down the Ravens, position by position.</EM> </P> <P>You could argue that the biggest reason for the Ravens not being a very good offensive team the last couple of years could be directly attributed to poor line play. This year, there are still a number of question marks surrounding the unit. </P>

Will Edwin Mulitalo be able to make the conversion from guard to right tackle? With second-year player Casey Rabach be able to start at the left guard position? Will Bennie Anderson improve his play this year? The Ravens hope to get their answers in a more positive light:

Jon Ogden: they should call Ogden the "Rock". On a line
that's unreliable at best, you can always count on Ogden to play well. He's regarded as the best left tackle in the NFL, and deservedly so.

Ogden has nimble feet, great size, and very good instincts. He slides well to engulf speed rushers, while he uses his brute strength to keep power rushers from getting past him. If he stays healthy, Ogden will easily make the hall-of fame, and will be regarded as one of the great tackles of all-time.

Casey Rabach: the Ravens originally drafted Rabach last year to play center, but he'll start at left guard instead. Rabach started at the guard spot in his senior year at Wisconsin, and he made the first team all-big ten team that year.

Rabach's game is more predicted toward precision and athleticism, compared to using brute strength to successfully block opposing defensive lineman. Early indications are he has improved in the strength department by decreasing his body fat percentage, increasing the amount of weight he squats, and increasing his body weight by ten pounds.

Mike Flynn: Flynn was mediocre at the center position most of last year, until he stepped up his play against the Buccaneers, Vikings, and
Dolphins during the tail end of the season. Flynn doesn't have great strength or size. He does posses good leadership attributes and is a hard worker. The Ravens are pleased with his progress, and are expecting him to take his game to the next level this season.

Bennie Anderson: Anderson, more than any player along the line, has the most potential to improve dramatically. Anderson possesses very good agility, size, strength, and quickness.  That said, he also made a number of careless mistakes last year, and his pass blocking ability left a lot to be desired.

Still, Anderson was just a first year player last year, so his learning curve should be a lot better. Like Rabach, Anderson has been decreasing his body fat percentage, and gaining more muscle. The Ravens are pleased with the hard work he is putting in, and hope it translates to stable play at the right
guard position.

Edwin Mulitalo: this has been the Ravens' biggest trouble spot since
they lost Orlando Brown as a free agent four years ago. If anybody is to quench the fire that exists at the right tackle position, it could be

Mulitalo has played at left guard for the past three seasons, and he's regarded as one of the game's best. The combination of Ogden and Mulitalo on the left side of the line was one of the few mainstays the Ravens had along the line.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Mulitalo will be asked to re-assimilate himself to the tackle position, a position he played well in college protecting the quarterback's blind side. Mulitalo's strength as a run blocker will help improve the right side, but his ability to pass block is key. Mulitalo will have to be able to slide his feet well, and get used to working in open space against opposing pass rushers.

Depth: the Ravens don't have any depth along the offensive line. Simply put: if the Ravens suffer an injury along the front line, they'll be in trouble. Jason Thomas, a second-year player, is the team's most experienced player at this point. He'll be the Ravens' primary backup at right tackle, and at both guard spots.

If Mike Flynn goes down with an injury, Casey Rabach will likely take over at center. Besides that, the Ravens have a lot of green rookies to count on. It's safe to assume that the Ravens will try to sign a couple of veteran lineman if they can clear any cap space in the next few weeks.

Overall: this unit should get better because they can't get much worse. Mulitalo's play at right tackle will be scrutinized, but he should play better at the position than his predecessors did last year. The key word for the offensive line is improvement. If Rabach and Anderson play up to
their potential, the Ravens' line as a whole will naturally improve.

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