EARLY BIRD: Can Gradkowski improve as a starting center?

EARLY BIRD: Can Gradkowski improve as a starting center?
October 3, 2013, 7:00 am
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Addition of Monroe gives Ravens long term flexibility

Baltimore Ravens center Gino Gradkowski (66) waits to snap the ball during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

(Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

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EARLY BIRD:  Waking up with the Ravens, as they look forward to adding Eugene Monroe to their offensive line.

Two-minute topic: Can Gino Gradkowski improve during his first year as a starting center?

OWINGS MILLS – In the locker room Wednesday, Gradkowski admitted he has struggled at times. The center has heavy obligations – calling out protections for the offensive line, while still being responsible for executing blocks. Gradkowski said he had to guard against doing too much thinking, and not enough playing.

“Trying to get better every week,” Gradkowski said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s still a lot of improvement that I need to make. I’ll keep working hard at that every day.

“Anytime you can get the call out fast, guys will know what they’re doing and they’ll dial in. It can only help.”

Gradkowski said there were times when he hesitated Sunday against the Bills, thinking about what he should do, instead of just doing it.

“I saw a little bit of that last Sunday that I was disappointed in myself with,” Gradkowski said. “You just make the calls and you gotta go. Whether they’re right or wrong, you gotta go. That’s something that I’ll work on, something that I need to get better with. It’s still early. We’ll get it right.”

Adding Monroe to the offensive line mix will be another adjustment for Gradkowski, but he looked forward to it.

“However we need to adjust to make it work, we’ll do that,” Gradkowski said.

Morning thought: "We can talk about how well we practice and how well we prepare, but we still have to translate that into playing well on Sunday. That'll be the big test - this week against Miami when we line up. We'll see when it's all said and done."

Quarterback Joe Flacco on the state of the Ravens.

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