Interesting info: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...l-after-fight/
Three years ago, McKinnie was booted from the Miami Pro Bowl after not showing up for practice the Friday before the game. He forfeited his $22,500 game check, and he was required to reimburse the NFL nearly $4,300 in expenses.
It's clear McKinnie is still capable of playing LT at a high level. Very few knowledgeable folks have ever doubted that. The knock has always been his motivation (or lack thereof).
So what's changed? Getting out of the doghouse (Harbs' or Cam's)? Why was he there in the first place? Out of shape? Or just not willing to work very hard in practice?
Suppose he was out of shape at the beginning of the season--why has that changed now? The chance for a ring? Sending Ray off in style? Finally "seeing the light"?
Conjecture: McKinnie has never been as "out of shape" as scuttlebut suggested. He got himself into the doghouse because he doesn't like to practice and because even so he's still the team's best LT; Oher is busting his butt in practice but simply lacks (at least at this point) the ability to play LT at a more-than-middling level. For them to start McKinnie in those circumstances would give the lie to Harbaugh's dearly-held dictum that "you play as you practice." It would send a message to the rest of the team that they really don't have to bust their asses on the practice field so long as they're better than the next guy on the depth chart. It would, in short, collapse team discipline in short order. So the team went with the 5 guys who looked best in practice, shuffling them around to try & make it work.
Fortuitously, Jah Reid got injured, which left them the choice of inserting Bobbie Williams or Harewood at LG--neither having played well this season--or starting McKinnie in the current configuration. With the playoffs approaching & Ray announcing his retirement, it gave the coaching staff an opening to set the groundwork for the current OL without abandoning the play-as-you-practice mantra: by appealing to Oher's sense of team-as-family to move back to RT (as giving the team the best chance to win) & meanwhile persuading McKinnie to make more of an effort in practice (for the sake of a ring & his old school chum #52). Which leaves everyone happy--for the moment.
For the long term, the problem is that when the clock strikes midnight on February 3, the coach turns back into a pumpkin & the horses are house mice again. IOW the extraordinary circumstances go away. And I don't think McKinnie can stay with the team once they do. He's almost certain to go back to his devil-may-care ways, which raises the same dilemma I outlined above. And Oher is not going to take permanent return to RT well--not unless he's also paid as an LT, which there's no cap space to permit--& thus would likely be gone at the end of next season. If they tried to keep the current starting OL together, they would likely be looking for two new starting tackles at the end of next season.
But it's all academic: Some team out there is going to say, We need a decent LT & we don't give a rat's ass how he practices if he can play that well on game day--& we'll take our chances with locker-room cohesion. Maybe it will work out for them, maybe not--but in any case they'll offer McKinnie more than the Ravens can afford anyway.
to HARBs, Oher is struggling, I'm ready to take over.
Then CAM is gone and McKinney is inserted into LT and Oher moved to RT and KO to RG and we've been winning
ever since. I love re-watching the tape and watching Mckinney and KO destroy their opponents in Denver and
Boston. We won both those games in the trenches.
Speaking of KO doing so well at LG, even if McKinney comes back and I hope he does, who is out
there that we can sign or draft to replace him? Someone said usually only first round draft choices
do well at LT and Oz will draft from the very bottom. There probably won't be anyone there.
Great point but Ozzie has been trading down and the 32d pick is like being at the top of the 2d
Of course that's what you get for winning-lol but in 01 Ozzie got Heap, Hartwell, Rabach and
Baxter at the very bottom of the draft. Heap and Hartwell kept the Ravens winning for years.