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

BOLD PREDICTIONS: Call Us Homers

Ravens hold Gio under 50 total yards and Jacoby Jones seals the game with a 4th quarter punt return. ~Ken Zalis Ravens get their first defensive TD of the year on an Andy Dalton interception and co...read more

Ravens @ Bengals Injury Report & Game Status

Game Status Ravens Out: TE Owen Daniels (knee); DE Chris Canty (wrist) Probable: T Eugene Monroe (knee); G Kelechi Osemele (knee); LB Daryl Smith (NIR); WR Steve Smith (NIR)   Cincinna...read more

Is This the Most Balanced Team in Franchise History?

Seven weeks into the 2014 season Ravens fans have a lot to be excited about. The team is off to one of their best starts in the John Harbaugh era and looks impressive on both sides of the ball. The...read more

RAVENS LINKS: Best Team in the AFC North

Why the Baltimore Ravens Are the Best Team in the AFC North With one of the most efficient offenses and one of the best defenses in the NFL, the metrics back up what many think: the Ravens are the ...read more

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Ravens Dominate Bengals

BALTIMORE RAVENS 34 CINCINNATI BENGALS 3 11/30/08 Joe Flacco made his professional debut in Baltimore on September 7, 2008 against the Cincinnati Bengals, winning at M&T Bank Stadium by the scor...read more

View More