McKinnie's return sets up O-line

McKinnie's return sets up O-line
May 5, 2013, 3:00 am
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Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele (72) prepares to block against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

The return of Bryant McKinnie to the Ravens does more than give the team a capable veteran at the crucial left tackle spot. The ripple effect sets up their offensive line.

Had one of McKinnie’s flirtations with other teams actually turned into a real relationship, the Ravens apparently would have put Kelechi Osemele at left tackle instead of at left guard. Though Osemele expressed a willingness to play tackle if need be while speaking to BaltimoreRavens.com last month, at the same time, he also indicated a preference for guard.

“I felt like it was pretty natural, just with the build of my body and everything like that,” Osemele told the website. “I felt like it was a smooth transition and a natural move for me.”

The Sun’s Mike Preston took Osemele’s preference a step further, writing that Osemele wanted no part of playing tackle.

“Osemele had been consistent about not wanting to play tackle and even he questioned if he had quick enough feet to play outside. Where there is no desire, there is only failure,” Preston wrote.

McKinnie’s presence obviates such a move. Osemele can make himself at home at guard, where he performed well as part of the whole line’s coming together in the playoffs last season. And with Michael Oher at right tackle and Marshal Yanda at right guard, the only question will be at center, where Gino Gradkowski presumably will replace the retired Matt Birk.

Had McKinnie not returned, the Ravens also would have had questions at left tackle with Osemele and at left guard, where Jah Reid has not been able to stay in the lineup. So, in adding one player, the Ravens have subtracted two questions. You have to like that kind of math if you’re a Ravens fan.

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