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Friday, October 17, 2014

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda is NFL's top-rated lineman




October 16, 2014

By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens media requested to speak to guard Marshal Yanda this week, and you could tell the three-time Pro Bowl lineman wasn't thrilled about stepping to the podium.

“I’m just here to answer your guys’ questions, and that’s about it -- pretty vanilla out of me," he said.

Yanda is your typical offensive lineman in that way. He prefers to be part of a unit and not in the spotlight.

But Yanda is far from your typical offensive lineman in every other way. In fact, he's the NFL's top-rated lineman in Pro Football Focus' rankings after six weeks into the season.

It's not even close. Yanda has earned a 16.9 rating and no other lineman has one over 13.8.
He's allowed only one sack but his strength is run blocking. Yanda is known for pushing the linemen in front of him out of the play and then getting to the second level.

Asked whether he takes pride in the fact that his name usually comes up when taking about the best linemen in the game, Yanda said, "Not at all. We’re working hard as a team, and you never ... I really don’t read the media. I’m concentrated on what’s going on in this building, and everything else is a distraction that I don’t worry about. I worry about Joe [Flacco]. I worry about our guys. I worry about our team and us moving forward as a group. So, as an individual, no. I just try to do my job and try to be good at my job.”

Yanda is one of the most respected players on the team, and that comes from his commitment to the team. In 2012, he needed emergency surgery on his right leg after a game on Christmas Eve. A leg whip to his lower leg, close to his calf, caused Yanda to develop compartment syndrome, which is a compression of nerves, blood vessels and muscle in a section of the body.

But, a week later, Yanda was back on the field, delivering a key block on a touchdown run.

"He’s one of the toughest people that I’ve ever been around," Flacco said. "You know that you can count on him, and you know that you’re going to get 100 percent from him every single time. He takes it personal, and he wants to be there for the team. He’s just a guy [who] I can trust and respect, and when you have that guy right next to you, you don’t have to be too worried. You’re very confident and you feel very secure in the fact that he’s there.”

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