A conversation with Chris Foerster

OWINGS MILLS -- Questions and answers with Baltimore Ravens offensive line coach Chris Foerster:

RAVENS INSIDER: "What's your take the flexibility of personnel in the interior line?"

FOERSTER: "We've gotten real young, real quick with a lot of good, young players. There has been some changes and adjustments to some guys with a possible first-time starter at right guard, a possible first-time starter at right tackle.

We've got Keydrick Vincent, Jason Brown. We've got Adam Terry. We've got Mike Flynn. We've got six or seven players capable of starting.

There's a bunch of guys working in our system. Every year with the line, it's a work in progress to get the five guys who are going to be playing together to get the cohesion and unity that you need as it starts to fit together.

That group stayed pretty cohesive last year. We lost Edwin Mulitalo, then Jason Brown stepped in. Luckily, Jason has had enough time in our system. When he went in, he fit in pretty well. There was still a learning curve.

We've got a lot of combinations and we've got J.O. and Jason on the left side. You love the interchangeable parts, but you want to get the parts set as soon as possible so they can start building that chemistry."

RAVENS INSIDER: "What was the thinking behind promoting Chris Chester to a starting job at right guard and leaving Mike Flynn installed as the center heading into training camp?

FOERSTER: "Well, last year the point was we put him at guard and told him you're going to dress every week and unless you win the center or guard positon, you're going to have to be the swing player. Obviously coming into last year, it was a little too big of a learning curve for him at center and that's why Mike was there. Coming out of last season, Chris played a lot at guard. Mike had a good year at center and stayed healthy for all 16 games.

We looked at the competition at the right guard spot and we asked ourselves, 'Who's our best right guard at this point?' and we made an evaluation.

That's why Chris is insterted there. If we had felt that Chris was better at center or better at left guard, we would have started him out somewhere else as part of our top five."

RAVENS INSIDER: "How comfortable are you as a staff with Marshal Yanda as an offensive tackle?"

"Well, Marshal played both in college. Right now, he has to ill a need for us which is at tackle Is he best suited to tackle? We're going to see. We all believe he can go inside and play there. We have quite a few guards, though. Tackle is more of a need.

We'd like to work him mostly at the right side. He's best suited as a right ackle. During minicamps with our needs, Marshal has had to swing to both spots. It's been a great experience for him, but he needs to get grooved at one tackle position, which is best done by leaving him at one side.

RAVENS INSIDER: "How has Ben Grubbs progressed so far? What's the plan for him?

FOERSTER: "It's an open competition. If Ben comes in and we put him at a position where we felt if something were to happen to the interior line, we put him in a position we best felt he could slide into a starting job if there were injuries anywhere across the front and he was not in a starting position.

He's competing at right guard. If at any point, he becomes one of the best three interior players we would insert him in the lineup. If he's not quite ready yet, if he doesn't make the conversion from college to pro that quickly, then we have a season to groom him.

He's a very talented player, as are Chris Chester and Jason Brown. We've got a lot of great competition . They're all working hard, drilling hard because they want to be better players. We've got a lot of guys to work with and it should be a great competition.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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