I know what you are thinking after reading the title; how can this be? Projected starting center John Urschel announced his retirement on the first day of training camp, left guard Alex Lewis was lost for the season after week one due to a shoulder injury, and All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda is also gone for the season thanks to an ankle injury after having it rolled up on by Browns’ defensive tackle Danny Shelton during the week two matchup. Three of the five starters on the offensive line are gone for the season. But, do not leave yet. Trust me it gets better.
There is one thing that Baltimore is well known for. Next man up. And that is exactly what is happening. Center Ryan Jense ranks third in the NFL in run blocking with a grade of 86.1 and he ranks third overall at his position with a grade of 88.8 according to Pro Football Focus after gaining the starting position due to John Urschel’s retirement.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 10, 2017
Along with Jensen, Marshal Yanda’s replacement right tackle Austin Howard, a free agent addition after the Oakland Raiders released the veteran tackle in late July, signed a three year deal with the Ravens in August. Howard who was on the Ravens’ practice squad back in 2011 is having one of the best seasons of his career. Howard has not given up a sack on the season and has a grade of 87.3 in run-blocking, which ranks first among all tackles.
Along with left guard James Hurst, stud second year man, left tackle Ronnie Stanley, and the combination of right guards Matt Skura and Jermaine Eluemunor, the Ravens have one of the best offensive lines in the league ranking fourth with a 71.8 grade according to Pro Football Focus.
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Baltimore) October 10, 2017
The Ravens’ offensive line probably had the most noticeable dominating performance during this past Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Going up against one of the top pass rushers in the game in Khalil Mack the offensive line stepped up to the challenge. The offensive line did not allow a single sack and only surrendered four quarterback hurries on twenty-six Joe Flacco drop backs. Three of the five Ravens lineman had a pass block grade above 80.0 those being Austin Howard at 80.8, Ronnie Stanley at 83.8, and Ryan Jensen at 82.8.
Another result of the outstanding offensive line play is the success the Ravens are having in their run game. Baltimore ranks fifth in the NFL with 2.10 yards gained before contact.
If the Ravens’ offensive line can continue to provide protection for Flacco and open holes for the run game there will be a lot more outcomes like the one against the Raiders for Baltimore.