Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC North [Print without images]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Ravens watching Bryant McKinnie's weight

By Jamison Hensley

The Ravens really could have used an upgrade at left tackle this year, but the free-agent pool was small and Baltimore's salary-cap room was smaller.

The Ravens' best option at improving the blind side is to put all of their efforts into making a better Bryant McKinnie.

Ravens officials acknowledged they are monitoring the McKinnie's weight and want their starting left tackle to get in better shape. This isn't a new issue with McKinnie, who was cut by the Minnesota Vikings after last year's lockout ended when he reportedly showed up weighing nearly 400 pounds.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh was asked if it was important to see McKinnie before picking up his $500,000 roster bonus on March 16. "It was how much less that we saw of him that was really important," Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings last week.

One of the reasons the Ravens signed McKinnie last season was endorsements from safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis. McKinnie wasn't a bust, but he wasn't a total success either.

He was graded as a below-average left tackle by Pro Football Focus. McKinnie struggled at times in run blocking and was uneven in pass protection. He gave up nearly one-third of the Ravens' sacks (8.5 out of 31).

Harbaugh said McKinnie remains at his playing weight from last year (360 pounds), which could be considered a victory considering McKinnie's history. But the Ravens want him to participate in the team's conditioning program and attend the offseason minicamps.

"We still want him to be able to move a little better and get a little quicker," Harbaugh said. "He’s committed to that, he’s excited about attacking that and it’s a big goal of his.”

These are the times when the Ravens really miss Jonathan Ogden. For 11 years, the Ravens never had to worry about the most important position on the offensive line.

The Ravens didn't have to worry about his weight. They didn't have to worry about his work ethic. Ogden, who lived in Las Vegas for most of his playing career, would make the occasional appearance at the team facility during the offseason. Come training camp, Ogden was ready for another Pro Bowl season.

McKinnie, who is entering the final year of a two-year, $7.5 million contract, is the fourth player to start at left tackle for the Ravens since Ogden retired at the end of the 2007 season. Based on what he's given the Ravens so far, the team's search for long-term stability at left tackle will continue next year.