RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Bryant McKinnie takes over at left tackle, Michael Oher shifts to right side

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Bryant McKinnie takes over at left tackle, Michael Oher shifts to right side

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BALTIMORE – As a hulking Bryant McKinnie walked around the sidelines in workout clothes one day after passing his physical and signing his $7.5 million contract, there was already change on the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line.

With the arrival of the former Pro Bowl offensive tackle triggering a watershed change with Michael Oher about to move to right offensive tackle from the left side, the Ravens still had Oher start at left tackle against the Washington Redskins during a 34-31 win Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated that Oher will be moving to the right side, though, as McKinnie takes over at left tackle.

“Our plan right now is to move Michael to right and to move Bryant to left.,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how that goes. Everything is fluid. I’d love to say that’s set in stone, but that’s not set in stone. Bryant has played there, Michael has played the right side. Michael is about as good a person and as great a team guy as I’ve ever been around in my career.

“Ozzie [Newsome] and I brought him in, and we talked to him the night before last. He said it before we said it: ‘Whatever I need to do to help this be the best football team and the best offensive line it can be, all the career stuff can wait.’ We’re trying to be the best football team we can be, and that’s exactly what he said.”

Although this marks the second time he’s had to change positions, Oher seemed to take the pending change in stride.

“Whatever is the best situation for the team for us to win, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Oher said. “He’s a good guy. Obviously, he’s a pretty good player, a Pro Bowl player. He’s been blocking for great running backs, great quarterbacks. He’s going to be a big help to the offensive line.

"I think we’ll do great this year with him. You always want a good player. You want to play with the best guy. I’m a team guy. I’m trying to win and I want the best for the team. That’s what it’s all about.

Oher said he’s comfortable going back to right tackle where he played as a rookie after being drafted in the first round out of Ole Miss.

“You got to adjust, you got to play football,” Oher said. “You got to do what the team needs. As long as you’re out on the field making holes for the running back and protecting Joe Flacco, we’ll be all right.”

New offensive lineman Mark LeVoir normally plays offensive tackle, but he lined up with the starters at right guard ahead of Oniel Cousins with Marshal Yanda still sidelined due to back spasms.

“’It’s the second time I’ve ever played right guard,” LeVoir said. “The first time was my first preseason game with New England. Wherever I can help the team, I’m willing to do it.

“The spacing is a lot smaller. Guys are on top of you. It’s a lot quicker than being on the edge where you have a lot of area. I’ll get comfortable over time. You just got to go out there and play.”

Rookie third-round draft pick Jah Reid started at right offensive tackle for the second time this preseason.

McKinnie didn’t look anywhere near the nearly 400-pound girth he reportedly showed up weighing when he showed up to the Minnesota Vikings’ training camp prior to being released.

He looked to be in reasonable shape, albeit hefty, for an offensive lineman. McKinnie went through a workout with the coaching staff before the game.

“He’s been working out and he’s been eating right,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been working on football. We just had a great meeting with him. I’m very impressed with him. He’s a very mature guy, very excited to be here, very intelligent guy. He picks up football like that, and I’m looking forward to getting him to fold.”

FOXWORTH GETS THE START: Domonique Foxworth started at cornerback for the first time since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last year.

He was beaten for several completions, including a 33-yard pass to Anthony Armstrong up the sideline.

It looked like his recovery speed was an issue as he tries to knock off the rust and work through the scar tissue.

LINEUP LOOP: The Ravens started Cary Williams opposite Foxworth.

Tight end Ed Dickson started for the second consecutive game along with Bryan Mattison at center with Matt Birk sidelined following knee surgery at the start of training camp.

The Ravens started Jameel McClain next to Ray Lewis at middle linebacker.

The first inside linebacker to substitute for McClain was Tavares Gooden.

Not playing besides McKinnie, Yanda and Birk: running back Matt Lawrence (knee) and wide receiver James Hardy (hamstring).

Chris Carr (hamstring) was dressed out for the game.

SHAKY HANDS: Rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith, the Ravens’ second-round draft pick from the University of Maryland, dropped two passes.

His hands have been shaky in games and during practices.

“I had two of them I would like back,” Smith said. “I’ve been a playmaker forever. That hasn’t changed. It’s more trying to get in a groove and I’ve kind of been pressing. I’ve really been wanting to make a play. Everyone has been making plays around me, the whole receiving corps. I just got to be patient and let it come to me instead of pressing the issue.

“Obviously I can catch the ball. I know I can catch the ball. It’s just a concentration issue. I’m pressing, wanting to make a play, wanting to make an impact instead of letting it come to me. I was wide open on one play. I’ve got to get back to the basics and starting playing like myself.”

Flacco said that Smith simply needs to play with confidence and use his natural ability instead of pondering his assignments.

“Torrey just has to go out there and play, use his abilities,” Flacco said. “Got to make a move, run by guys, use his hands, go out there and play confidently and use his ability and make moves. I think he has a tendency to over think things. He always wants to do the right thing. He always comes up to me and tells me he wants to do the right thing.

“Sometimes when you go out there on Sundays, you just have to let it go and play. If you go out there and make mistakes, you make mistakes. You just have to go out there and play. He’s just going to have to learn that. He has all the ability to go out there and let it come to him.”

DOSS BREAKS UP A FIGHT: Hours before kickoff, rookie wide receiver Tandon Doss broke up a fight at the Inner Harbor in a Five Guys restaurant.

"I saw somebody start fighting, and I broke it up," Doss said. "That’s all it was to me."

Doss indicated that it wasn’t a fair fight, so he stepped in.

"It was two dudes on one," Doss said. "I was just trying to help the situation out. I broke it up."

The fourth-round draft pick from Indiana first broached the topic on his Twitter account.

“Jus had to break up a fight at five guy," he wrote. "Baltimore is too ratchet!!!”

Doss said he wasn’t thinking about his own well-being, just helping out someone in distress.

"No, I just broke the fight up," Doss said. "I mean, I saw a guy on the ground bleeding, and I saw [another guy] on top of him hitting, so I just had to stop him."

Harbaugh said he didn’t have any knowledge of the incident.

"I’m not on Twitter," Harbaugh said. "I’ll be looking into that."

QB CHANGE: The Redskins started Rex Grossman over former Ravens quarterback John Beck.

Beck completed 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards against the Indianapolis Colts.

Grossman completed 19 of 26 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Former Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson was replaced in the starting lineup by Byron Westbrook.

MOMENT OF SILENCE: The Ravens held a moment of silence for the late Orioles pitcher and executive Mike Flanagan.

Flanagan committed suicide with police saying he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

ROSTER MOVE: The Ravens announced that they’ve waived defensive back Marcus Paschal after initially placing him on injured reserve earlier this week with a quadriceps injury. He was given an injury settlement.

CAUGHT IN THE WEBB: Cornerback Lardarius Webb intercepted a Beck pass in the third quarter, also sacking the former Raven for a nine-yard loss.

“I’ve got to come back and get better and improve on the things, covering the guys one-on-one in the slot,” Webb said. “I guess you all could say I had a good game, but I don’t think so.”

 
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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