On Monday during his weekly press conference when asked about his struggling offensive line, John Harbaugh uncharacteristically pulled no punches.
“The whole O-line is disappointing right now”, said the Ravens’ skipper.
“No one is more disappointed than they are right now. We’ve got to run block better, and we’ve got to pass block better. We felt like we were making strides, especially in the pass-blocking area, and then we really didn’t do as good of a job in this game. We had too many mental mistakes – too many things that are basic protection rules that we understand and we should know – that we did not get on the same page with.”
On Tuesday night, Harbaugh along with Ozzie Newsome decided to turn the page and bring in new talent – the 8th pick from the 2009 NFL Draft, LT Eugene Monroe.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the Ravens acquired the former 2008 first team All-ACC tackle from the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for multiple third day draft picks.
The odd man out appears to be Bryant McKinnie who has been awful as of late and a seemingly uninterested participant in the team’s run blocking schemes. The Ravens could try to trade McKinnie but the odds of them getting anything worthwhile in return are slim to none. Only the craziest prop bets at SportsBettingOnline.ag would even consider such a wager.
But I digress…
The 26-year-old Monroe, thought by many to be one of if not the best player on the Jaguars should be rejuvenated playing for a winner. Despite the losing ways of the Jaguars, Monroe maintained his workmanlike approach.
He has missed only 3 of 65 possible games for the Jaguars and his departure isn’t necessarily a shocker given the fact that Jacksonville selected All American tackle and former protector of Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M Luke Joeckel with the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars at (0-4) have little hope this season and stockpiling draft picks makes sense for them, as does sliding Joeckel to left tackle. This has the makings of a win-win trade.
The widely lauded web publication Pro Football Focus had this to say about Monroe after his 2012 season:
It’s incredibly difficult to play left tackle at the best of times, but when the guy next to you is arguably the worst at his position in the entire league it makes your job doubly hard. Across the season a combination of four left guards combined to register a mind-blowingly bad -39.8 rating. To put that into perspective, the worst full-time left guard, rookie Amini Silatolu of the Panthers, put up -16.8.
In a game where teams regularly slide left guards across to support the exposed left tackle, trying to survive with this level of incompetence on your inside would be hard, but to flourish and play well is the sign of a very high quality player.
Despite these issues, Monroe was still our 10th-ranked LT in the NFL last year and, unlike a number of the guys above him, played well as both a run and pass blocker without giving up an inordinate amount of penalties in doing so (six). When your worst game of the year (-3.2) comes against J.J. Watt as you try to take the pressure off your struggling colleague, that’s not quite the negative it may first appear. I also have a view that given even an average player next to him Monroe would have made the Top 101 with room to spare.