Thursday, July 25, 2013
Ravens can't be surprised by McKinnie
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged he was "disappointed" by offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie reporting to training camp overweight. He didn't say he was surprised.
When the Ravens re-signed McKinnie this offseason -- giving him $3 million this year -- it came with an agreement that he would play at a lower weight than last year (352 pounds). Based on his history, I'm not sure anyone really believed that. Keeping weight down has always been a problem for McKinnie, and it will always be a problem. It certainly wasn't a good sign when McKinnie hosted a "Back to Camp" party in Miami just four days before reporting to camp.
The Ravens knew there was a risk in re-signing McKinnie. If McKinnie didn't have any baggage, the Ravens wouldn't have had the salary-cap room to keep him. The Ravens, though, understand there is a reward with McKinnie if they can get him to shed some pounds. All you have to do is watch film of McKinnie during last season's playoffs, when he allowed two sacks despite going against Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil and Aldon Smith.
But, as the Ravens know from personal experience, it's never easy with McKinnie.
"I'm not sure who's more disappointed, Bryant or I," Harbaugh said. "We had a long talk about it yesterday. It wasn't that the effort wasn't put it. There's an issue, but we're going to get it fixed together and we're going to get him out there."
The Ravens are a better team with McKinnie than without him, and that's why they're not being overly critical of him. Baltimore can replace McKinnie with left guard Kelechi Osemele. The Ravens, though, aren't as strong at left guard when they put Jah Reid in for Osemele.
If it's any consolation, the Ravens are in a better situation with McKinnie this year. When training camp opened last year, McKinnie was a no-show for the first three practices because he fell at his South Florida home and injured back. At least McKinnie reported this year, although there's still a certain amount of frustration with his weight.
"Bryant is just too heavy right now. He needs to lose weight," Harbaugh said. "My guess is he lost quite a bit today. He's in good shape and he's good cardiovacular fitness. I can tell he's worked hard. But I wasn't real comfortable putting him out there today at that weight. We'll figure it out in the next 24 to 48 hours. When we figure out the best way to deal with it, he'll be out there."
Asked if McKinnie had been designated to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list or the Non-Football Injury list, Harbaugh said, "No. This is my designation."