Of the Ravens 22 starters, Ramon Harewood being plugged in at left guard was the most surprising.
With an ever-shifting offensive line throughout training camp, many didn’t believe Harewood would make the team, let alone find his way into the starting lineup. The Ravens had drafted another tackle and Harewood once again had a problem staying healthy
Harewood is the first NFL player from Barbados and didn’t even take a snap on a football field until he came to Morehouse College, a small Division II school in Atlanta, GA.
In 2010, Harewood was drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens and was deemed a project. Unfortunately for Harewood, he made more trips to the operating table than the red zone during his first two years of professional football.
After being placed on injured reserve (IR) each of the past two seasons before the Ravens even played their first official game of the year, Harewood continued his streak of bad luck, missing many practices during 2012 training camp with an injury.
Luckily for Harewood, he bounced back.
“Coming in the OTA’s, he looked really good and in training camp he played both tackle and played guard,” coach John Harbaugh said.
Most of the Ravens offensive line – aside from Matt Birk and Marshall Yanda – had to be flexible as the Ravens were trying to find the right combination of players. With the additions of veteran Bobbie Williams and second-round pick Kelechi Osemele, many thought Harewood would be blocked out of any playing time.
With about two weeks left in training camp, something changed for Harewood.
“I think that we just felt like we’d see if he can do it at guard,” Harbaugh said. “We just plugged him in there to see how it looked, and it looked good, and he has done a good job.”
Harewood was the primary contributor to Ray Rice’s seven-yard touchdown run Sunday night against New England, as he cleared a massive hole for the pro bowl running back to easily run through. Even though he’s played well so far in his starting role, Harewood still needs to improve.
“He has a long way to go,” said Harbaugh. “He’ll be the first to tell you he’s a pup, but he’s a pretty talented pup and he ‘s pretty physical.”
Many haven’t seen a 340-pound pup before but Harewood’s continues to pile up valuable experience. On Thursday, he’ll be matched up against a Browns team that has nine sacks on the season, tied for sixth best in the league.
If Harewood can perform as he did in previous weeks, Ray Rice and the Ravens offense are in for another big primetime performance.