4 Downs: Can Monroe fix offensive line problems?
New Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe declared himself ready to play Wednesday, and there were indications that he would get his wish.
Monroe was on the field working at left tackle with the first team during the early portion of practice, while Bryant McKinnie watched from the sideline. Coach John Harbaugh has taken a wait-and-see approach when asked about Monroe. But it appeared Monroe was moving toward becoming the starter at left tackle Sunday when the Ravens host the Packers.
The Ravens acquired Monroe in a trade with the Jaguars last week, but he did not play against the Dolphins after making the trip to Florida. Harbaugh did not feel comfortable putting Monroe on the field after just two days of practice. However, Monroe made it clear Wednesday that he was ready for action.
“I’ll get in there today with the guys, hearing the calls being made as they do them, and I’ll be rolling,” Monroe said. “I think I’m ready to go. I get this work starting in practice this week, get in there with the guys, build a relationship with the guys on the line, and be ready “It’s been a grind. First one in the building, last one out. Meeting with each of the O-line coaches.”
Despite Tuesday being an off day, Monroe came to the practice facility and watched film with center Gino Gradkowski.
“It’s part of the job,” Monroe said. “It’s actually been fun. Everyone on the team has really accepted me.”
Running back Ray Rice expected Monroe to have an immediate impact on the line.
“He’s a very athletic guy,” Rice said. “He does add another athletic component that I’m sure we’ve always wanted around here. That’s not taking away from Bryant McKinnie’s big athletic ability. As big as he is, the guy can move as well. But we’re talking about two different style players. I’ve seen Eugene, he’s good with his hands. You can just shake his hands yourself and see the guy has massive hands, and that’s something you always want in a left tackle – long arms, big hands, and being able to move.”
It remained to be seen if McKinnie would be traded. But Monroe becoming the starter appeared imminent.