Joe Flacco has spent a lot of time lately taking hits, running away from pressure and getting knocked to the turf. The offensive line, specifically tackles Michael Oher and rookie Kelechi Osemele, have struggled to hold off quick edge rushers. The Ravens have issues at left guard, and possibly at both guard spots with Marshal Yanda hurt.
All of this begs one question: Is Bryant McKinnie still on this team?
McKinnie's fall from grace with the Ravens has been rapid and, apparently, permanent.
McKinnie, an 11-year veteran, started every game last season at left tackle but has hardly seen the field this year. He reported late to training camp, then agreed to an 11th-hour renegotiation of his contract that amounted to about a $1 million pay cut. He could have earned that back in incentives, but don't expect many incentive clauses to be tied to work as an occasional jumbo tight end or on the PAT team, which is pretty much all McKinnie's role has been this season.
The Ravens have started Jah Reid the past five games at left guard, the third different starter at a position where the Ravens have really felt the loss of Ben Grubbs to free agency. Some question whether Osemele should move to that spot, which would start a chain reaction that would shift Oher from left tackle to right tackle, with McKinnie taking over at left tackle.
Coach John Harbaugh, though, didn't seem to imply such a move was coming.
"Right now, we think we have the best group of guys out there, but that could change," he said last week before the Broncos game.
"When we think (McKinnie) is the best option, we will put him in there," Harbaugh added. "He is working hard at practice. He, obviously, has some ability at pass-protector; that’s a big deal, no doubt about it. I ... would have no qualms about him going into the game. If we feel like he’s the best option at one position or another, we’ll do it."
The offensive line faces another imposing rush this weekend from the New York Giants, and then again next week from the Bengals, who have a league-high 43 sacks.
Joe Flacco has struggled to find a rhythm of late, in part because he hasn't had a whole lot of time to throw. He has been sacked 34 times this season, already three more than last season and there are still two games left. He has also been hurt by strip-sacks directly related to edge pressure.
Can McKinnie help? Not from the doghouse he can't.