Friday, July 13, 2012

Yanda will help anchor line

July 5, 2012

By Jeff Seidel

There’s a lot of questions involving the offensive line heading into training camp in the coming weeks. But one thing that’s for sure involves right guard Marshal Yanda.

Yanda’s clearly broken through and grown into a top-level offensive lineman. The Ravens will have returning players like veterans Matt Birk, Bryant McKinnie, Michael Oher and others, but Yanda’s improved and moved up to another level.

He’s grown into a powerful, physical, punishing guard who’s really become something important to the Ravens on the line. Yanda made the Pro Bowl last season and showed some of that when battling through some late-season injuries to play against the Bengals.

Yanda had been dealing with painful thigh and rib injuries, leaving him in lots of discomfort. The Ravens were not sure if he’d be able to play in that game. Coach John Harbaugh said he just didn’t know if Yanda would be able to go. But he did, and Ray Rice scored on an early 70-yard run – with Yanda throwing the key block.

“There’s not a tougher player I’ve been around in 27 years of coaching,” Harbaugh said in an article on the team’s web site.

But Yanda wants more in 2012. The offensive line has plenty of questions this year. Yanda said a few weeks ago that he’s confident in the depth there and that they’ll make it work.

However, he’ll be driven also by the painful loss to the Pats in the AFC title game. When talking to John Eisenberg earlier this spring, Yanda admitted how that is still a tough one to get over.

“It’s still in the back of our minds,” Yanda said. “That was a tough loss. That was the toughest loss I’ve ever had to deal with, tenfold. I’ve never lost a game like that, so it was really tough. It’s one of those ones where you’ll never forget.”

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