In September, it was announced that former Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden – the first draft pick in franchise history – was nominated for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With so many questions concerning the current Ravens offensive line, Ogden, one of the best left tackles to ever put on pads, would figure to be someone to give a fair and honest assessment. JO joined former teammate Brad Jackson and myself on the Purple and Black Attack Show at Hightopps this past Monday.
“Part of the problem is we’re not really a great offensive line,” Ogden said. “Our players are good, but they’re not great.”
Currently, Ogden resides in Las Vegas, but often returns to Baltimore for games and television stints on Comcast SportsNet. Ogden was in attendance for the Ravens’ loss on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
“They’re just not really getting great movement in the run game,” he said. “If you’re not going to pass block well, you’ve got to be firing off that ball and opening holes for the running game. That’s why we ended up in third and long so much because we didn’t convert.”
Many of the struggles have been blamed on the play of left tackle Michael Oher. Multiple times this season, Oher has been beaten and allowed a strip sack of quarterback Joe Flacco.
“Oher is not a great left tackle,” Ogden said, speaking about a position he anchored in Baltimore for twelve seasons. “He’s a good left tackle, but I think he’s a better right tackle.”
Last year’s left tackle Bryant McKinnie is currently on the bench. While many have been pushing for Oher to shift to the right side, Ogden gave his thoughts as to why McKinnie hasn’t seen increased playing time.
“I’m assuming that if [coaches] do like they’ve always done, they’re evaluating practice tape every single day, every play, every snap,” he said.
“[McKinnie has] had enough time to get out of the dog house. If he’s not on the field by now, it’s obvious he’s not doing what he needs to be doing in the weight room, in the film room to say to the coaches, ‘Hey, Mike is struggling, I’m ready to go back in there, put me in, coach.”
Around the Ravens facility, the players and coaches aren’t blaming injuries for the team’s current three-game losing streak, but they have obviously contributed. Even though the defense has struggled at times, Ogden shifts most of the blame to the offensive side of the ball.
“This was supposed to be the year that we made the switch to offense,” Ogden said. “That’s why I’m going to put most of the fault on what’s happening to this team on the offense because those are the guys who they planned on going into the season with since Week 1, and they’re really not doing what they need to be doing as a team.”
With a trip to Canton and a first ballot enshrinement almost guaranteed, it’s highly unlikely the Ravens could convince the 6’-9” 345-pound Ogden to come out of retirement.
It appears the Ravens will continue with the line they’ve used all season, because if McKinnie hasn’t received a lot of playing time through fourteen games, it’s doubtful he’ll have a chance in the final two and the playoffs.