Zuttah Provides Needed Spark to Offensive Line

Screenshot 2014-06-04 20.10.24

When the Baltimore Ravens traded a fifth round draft pick in 2015 to acquire center Jeremy Zuttah from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the writing was on the wall for Gino Gradkowski in 2014.

It was clear that the team wasn’t impressed with Gradkowski’s play last season – and rightfully so – but just how much of an upgrade is Zuttah over Gradkowski and why exactly did they opt for Zuttah over a number of available free agent centers?

As the Ravens hosted their second round of OTA’s open to the media on Wednesday, here are some observations from practice on both Zuttah and Gradkowski:

Zuttah has run with the first string offense since the beginning of organized team activities while Gradkowski has been taking reps with the second team offense.

Zuttah, who’s listed on the Ravens’ official roster as being 6’4” and weighing 308 pounds looks much smaller. While in great shape, Zuttah the seven-year veteran looks trim; however, what he lacks in bulk he certainly makes up for with athleticism.

Gradkowski by all appearances has bulked up this offseason and looks stronger. After being pushed around last season, it was apparent that he changed his workout regimen to help offset areas of weakness.

“He didn’t play great last year but he still started 16 games,” Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta said about Gino last month. “He’s going to build on that experience. I think a really good offseason is going to help him tremendously this year. He’s going to get bigger and stronger now that he knows what it entails and what he has to do.”

While Gradkowski was rated as the league’s worst center in 2013 per Pro Football Focus,  Zuttah ranked as the leagues 22nd best center.

Gradkowski’s inexperience with the zone blocking offense looks as if it will certainly reduce his role this summer. While his footwork looked heavy at times on Wednesday, it has improved since the Ravens held their first OTA last week – clearly a sign he is working hard to understand the new offensive system.

Obviously the better option at the center position for the Ravens is Zuttah. His footwork looks solid and he is quick off the snap. His aggressiveness in pass blocking and run blocking (in shorts) stood out noticeably. He’s quick to the second level and he has long arms and that provide leverage and improved angles.

Zuttah’s experience in a zone blocking system provides a level of comfort.

Judging from the body language of the coaching staff, so far so good.

An area of extreme weakness in 2013 looks to be on the mend.

 

Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR 

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Brian Bower. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Bower

Brian Bower
Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for FootballNewsNow.com. His work has been featured on NFL.com and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

Baltimore Loves an Underdog, Starring Fitz Toussaint

Ravens fans have a long history of rooting for the underdog. We can't help it, it's in our blood. Perhaps it's the blue collar history of Baltimore or the fact that we feel slighted by the good fol...read more

Ravens Practice Squad

The Baltimore Ravens signed the following nine players to their practice squad Sunday afternoon: CB Tramain Jacobs, Rookie OL Ryan Jensen, 2nd year DT Jamie Meder, Rookie CB Deji Olatoye, Ro...read more

FILMSTUDY: Ravens Dominate Saints in Finale

By now, you know how much the Ravens dominated Thursday’s game versus the Saints: 79 offensive plays to 38 for the Saints (I believe that is a new team record fewest defensive snaps for any game...read more

Ravens 53-Man Squad: Unfinished Business?

OWINGS MILLS -- Some of the more interesting aspects of the Ravens’ 53-man roster that was announced Saturday: - Seven wide receivers were kept. Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken, and Deonte Thom...read more

Urschel In: “It’s a Dream Come True”

The Ravens faced some tough roster decisions today in regards to putting together their best 53 players who will battle each and every Sunday for their opportunity to win the Lombardi Trophy. As the ...read more

View More