One possible reason why the Baltimore Ravens offensive line has struggled is because the starters may not be at full strength.
Right guard Marshal Yanda had shoulder surgery in the offseason, and right tackle Michael Oher sprained his ankle in the season opener. The latest news is left guard Kelechi Osemele is fighting through a back injury that will require surgery after the season.
“I’m not 100 percent, and I won’t be until surgery after the season, until they fix the disk,” Osemele told Sports Illustrated. “But I manage it, and treat it every day to treat the symptoms. With this issue degrading, it’s going to take time to heal. And it’s not going to heal during the season; this is a full-contact sport. But I can’t make excuses, I’ve just got to continue to get better.”
Osemele left the Oct. 6 game in Miami after the opening series because of back spasms. He's played the last two games and he wasn't listed on the injury report last week.
Coach John Harbaugh wouldn't comment on the specifics of what Osemele said.
“He’s a tough guy; he fights through a lot of different things,” Harbaugh said, via the team's official website. “A lot of guys have a lot of things. Probably most players in the league have something along those lines that way. So, he fights through it.”
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The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston wonders if it's time to get backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the game. "Maybe he can make some things happen. Maybe he can make a big play," Preston wrote. "I'd put him in a Wildcat formation just like the Steelers did running back Le'Veon Bell. It isn't a slap at starting quarterback Joe Flacco, but the Ravens need some kind of spark. The Steelers never ran the Wildcat either, but they caught the Ravens off guard Sunday." It would be a hard sell to tell owner Steve Bisciotti that the Ravens' quarterback, whom he just gave a $120 million contract, is going to either come off the field or line up at wide receiver.
Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who was traded to the Dolphins on Monday, posted a message on Twitter before departing on a flight to Florida: "I appreciate my time in Baltimore & winning a ring along the way, now time to move on to another."
The players will work Tuesday and Wednesday before getting four days off for the bye, which is required by the collective bargaining agreement. Harbaugh did not guaranteed the coaches would get four days off. “I’m not really commenting on the schedule for the coaches, because I really don’t know yet,” Harbaugh said, via Comcast SportsNet. “We’re just going to have to see. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The 2012 Ravens have endured three straight narrow defeats and expect to do some soul-searching during the bye. It's reminiscent of the Ravens from four years ago, according to The Press Box.