Baltimore Ravens: Kelechi Osemele

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens are expected to start two rookies on the left side of their offensive line for the second straight game when they play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard Kelechi Osemele, both of whom are dealing with knee injuries, are listed as doubtful on the Ravens' injury report after not practicing Friday. That likely means undrafted rookie tackle James Hurst and rookie fifth-round guard John Urschel will start Sunday.

One starter who won't be playing is defensive end Chris Canty, who has been declared out with an infection in his wrist. DeAngelo Tyson will start his third straight game in place of Canty.

Rookie second-round pick Timmy Jernigan (knee) is probable after missing the past four games.

Injury report

Out: DE Chris Canty (wrist, did not participate Friday), DT Christo Bilukidi (ankle, did not participate Friday).

Doubtful: OT Eugene Monroe (knee, did not participate Friday), G Kelechi Osemele (knee, did not participate Friday).

Probable: LB Daryl Smith (not injury related, full participation Friday), TE Owen Daniels (not injury related, full participation Friday), WR Marlon Brown (pelvis, full participation Friday), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee, full participation Friday), WR Kamar Aiken (concussion, full participation Friday).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Starting left tackle Eugene Monroe returned to practice Thursday, a day after left guard Kelechi Osemele came back for the Baltimore Ravens. But those two starters still might not be available for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Monroe practiced for the first time since having a procedure on his knee, which has caused him to miss the past three games. Osmele was sidelined last Sunday with a knee injury.

"(Monroe) and KO, we're trying to get them back on the field," offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. "Obviously, KO is a little further along than he is right now. We've got to get those guys back healthy."

In the big picture, it's more important for the Ravens to have Monroe and Osemele back for next Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only could that game be for first place in the AFC North, but the Ravens can't afford to get swept by the Bengals because of tiebreaker purposes.

If Monroe and Osemele are sidelined Sunday, the Ravens would go with two rookies on the left side for a second straight week. Undrafted rookie left tackle James Hurst and rookie fifth-round guard John Urschel each only allowed one quarterback hurry in last Sunday's win in Tampa, and helped the Ravens rush for 169 yards.

Asked if he ever had two rookies start on the left side like that, Kubiak said, "I've never been around that. That was something else. But boy, you have to be proud of them. They've worked really hard. I think the guys around them played hard. Usually when you have a young guy step in, it's about everybody else playing a little bit better. So, you got to give the whole group credit the way they've stepped up."

The Ravens face a Falcons defense that ranks 28th against the run and 29th against the pass.


DID NOT PRACTICE: DE Chris Canty (wrist), DT Christo Bilukidi (ankle), TE Owen Daniels (not injury related) and LB Daryl Smith (not injury related).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: OT Eugene Monroe (knee), WR Kamar Aiken (concussion), G Kelechi Osemele (knee).

FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens starting left guard Kelechi Osemele was limited in practice Wednesday after missing his first game of the season.

This is a positive sign for Osemele (knee), who didn't practice last week. The Ravens started rookie fifth-round pick John Urschel in his place.

Two backups -- defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis) -- were full participants in practice after missing Sunday's game.


DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Eugene Monroe (knee), DE Chris Canty (wrist) and DT Christo Bilukidi (ankle).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Kelechi Osemele (knee) and WR Kamar Aiken (concussion).

FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis) and DT Timmy Jernigan (knee).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens looked much healthier than the team that played in Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Three players who missed their last game returned to the practice field Wednesday: left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis). In addition to those players, free safety Will Hill (six-game suspension) and nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip, physically unable to perform list) were also practicing during the media viewing portion of practice after missing an extended period.

Osemele and Brown missed their first games of the season. Jernigan, a rookie second-round pick, has been inactive the past four games.

Three players weren't practicing: offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (knee), defensive end Chris Canty (wrist) and defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi (undisclosed).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't rule out Kelechi Osemele for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay even though the left guard hasn't practiced all week.

"He has a chance to play on Sunday," Harbaugh said after Friday's practice.

Osemele bruised his right knee after a Joe Flacco interception early in the third quarter of Sunday's loss in Indianapolis and needed help to walk off the field. But he was back on the field when the offense got the ball back and didn't miss a snap.

On Monday, Harbaugh said he thought Osemele would be ready to play at Tampa. Osemele, who is the rated as the NFL's third-best guard by Pro Football Focus, will likely be listed as questionable when the injury report is released later Friday.

If Osemele is sidelined for the first time this season, the Ravens are expected to replace him with Gino Gradkowski. It would mark Gradkowski's first start at guard after starting every game at center last season.

Gradkowski, a fourth-round pick in 2012, played guard in college and has practiced there this year.

"He can do it," Harbaugh said. "I'm very confident he can do it when called upon."

Losing Osemele would further weaken the Ravens' left side of the offensive line. Undrafted rookie James Hurst is making his third start at left tackle in place of Eugene Monroe, who is out with a knee injury.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele missed his second straight practice with a bruised right knee.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated earlier this week that he thought Osemele would be fine for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Osemele did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Osemele injured his knee early in the third quarter last Sunday and returned to finish the game.

He has been the third-best guard in the league this season, according to Pro Football Focus rankings. While there is a chance Osemele could play, the Ravens would likely start Gino Gradkowski if he is sidelined.

Marlon Brown, the team's No. 3 receiver, also missed his second straight practice with a pelvis injury. Strong safety Matt Elam, center Jeremy Zuttah and linebacker Daryl Smith all returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, defensive end Chris Canty and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan aren't expected to play Sunday.


DID NOT PRACTICE: G Kelechi Osemele (knee), WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and DT Timmy Jernigan (knee).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: SS Matt Elam (shoulder), LB Daryl Smith (knee) and C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle).
The Baltimore Ravens placed four players on Pro Football Focus' all-star team for the first quarter of the season, which is the most of any team in the NFL.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Terrell Suggs all made the team. Only eight teams had multiple players on the team, and no one other than the Ravens had more than three (Miami and Philadelphia had three each).

This is what PFF had to say about the Ravens who made the team:

Juszczyk: "No one player has really stood out, so the versatile Raven gets the nod with a big nod to being featured more prominently than his peers."

Yanda and Osemele: "It never hurts when you have two guards that are playing as well as Osemele and Yanda. Both are generating the kind of movement that means their running backs are getting to the second level and that should never be overlooked."

Suggs: "Suggs doesn't have the publicity problem of [Cameron] Wake, but since his Achilles injury performance has been an issue. Not this year with him being a true force against both run and pass."

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh couldn't remember exactly what he told his team before the game that led to a motivated 26-6 victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Nor could his players.

What did stick with Harbaugh was the fact that his players didn't have a missed assignment during practice Monday. Four hours after the release of running back Ray Rice, the players took to the field and were sharp with the game plan for the Steelers.

"So, that was a good indication," Harbaugh said after his largest margin victory over the Steelers since 2011.

How could the Ravens not be affected by a story that dominated headlines across the nation? The players simply understood the alternative of not being focused.

[+] EnlargeElvis Dumervill
Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT/Getty ImagesElvis Dumervil and the Ravens blocked out the Ray Rice distractions and put on a clinic in a 26-6 whipping of the Steelers.
The Ravens couldn’t start the season 0-2 with home losses to division opponents. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, no team has been able to reach the playoffs after such a start, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“We had no choice but to think about this game,” safety Matt Elam said.

The perception is that the emotions of the Rice saga would not allow the Ravens to devote all of their attention to the Steelers. The Ravens believe it’s easier than what outsiders think.

Harbaugh said his team was in what he called "that football cocoon." The Ravens banded together and played with an intensity that wasn't evident in the season opener.

"We are really isolated from all of that," Harbaugh said. "As a football team, we got into our meeting rooms and our locker rooms, and we go to work."

If there was any question whether the Ravens would be distracted by parting ways with the second-leading rusher in franchise history, they provided the answer in the first quarter.

Historically a slow-starting team, the Ravens set the tone when linebacker Daryl Smith forced a fumble at the Baltimore 15-yard line and Flacco converted that turnover into a 12-play, 85-yard drive. It was capped by Joe Flacco's 2-yard touchdown pass to Owen Daniels.

The Ravens' relentlessness continued until the fourth quarter. Left guard Kelechi Osemele realized the Ravens were wearing down the Steelers when he saw linebacker Lawrence Timmons throwing up on the field.

The Ravens were the more motivated team. They were the more desperate team. They were the more focused team. Some key numbers -- no turnovers, four penalties and 35 minutes in time of possession -- underscore that.

"As soon as the clock ticked to zero against Cincinnati on Sunday, there was a sense of urgency that we had to get back on the field," said Flacco, who went 10-for-10 passing for 84 yards and two touchdowns on the Ravens' two touchdown drives.

Many players don't enjoy Thursday games because the quick turnaround doesn't allow their bodies to recover. This time, the quick four-day turnaround was a welcomed change.

In many ways, the three hours at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday were the easiest part of an emotional week. It allowed them to get back to what they do best.

"It just felt good to get back to football," defensive end Chris Canty said. "We're answering a lot of questions about things that don't pertain to football, so I'm just really excited that the men in this locker room came together amid all of that adversity and we put the kind of performance out there that we did tonight."

Canty added, "It's been an emotional week. But, in the game of football, you've got to be able to play with emotion to play at your best. You could see it on the sideline. We were all cheering each other on."

In comparison, the adversity they faced on the field didn't seem so daunting. Running back Bernard Pierce, who was benched Sunday for fumbling, showed determination in running for 96 yards. The defense delivered turnovers two of the three times the Steelers got inside the 20-yard line (Smith's forced fumble and Haloti Ngata's interception).

As a result, the Ravens were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. For the first time since the football world saw Rice's latest video on Monday morning, the news swirling around the Ravens was good.

"I think adversity can bring you together, and our guys are made of the right stuff," Harbaugh said. "I'm proud of them for that."

BALTIMORE -- Wide receiver Steve Smith's best game of the preseason propelled the Baltimore Ravens to a 23-17 win over the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

After being quiet in the first two preseason games, Smith caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. His diving 24-yard touchdown catch with 25 seconds left in the first half broke a 3-3 tie, and the Ravens (3-0) never relinquished the lead.

Smith's determination was evident on his 30-yard catch in the first quarter. He essentially broke out of four tackles to turn a short pass into a big gain.

"I am getting more comfortable with the offense," Smith said. "Last week I really didn't play well. I didn't line up well, and my assignments were off. Today was a great opportunity to show that I can be an asset instead of the liability I was last week."

Here are some other thoughts on the Ravens' third preseason game:
  • Joe Flacco showed his resiliency once again. After being under fire for most of the first half, he calmly orchestrated a two-minute drive to end the half, completing 6-of-8 passes for 74 yards and one touchdown. He was not sharp early for a second straight week, throwing behind and late to his receivers. It didn't help that he was hit more than a handful of times. Flacco finished 16-of-23 for 180 yards.
  • Ravens cornerbacks Dominique Franks and Chykie Brown held up well against the Redskins' playmaking receivers. With the Ravens' top three cornerbacks (Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Asa Jackson) all sidelined with injuries, Franks and Brown limited DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon to a combined two catches for four yards. Franks showed good anticipation except for a pass interference penalty on the opening drive.
  • The Redskins did a lot of blitzing (on runs and passes) for a preseason game, and the Ravens' offensive line struggled against it. Right tackle Rick Wagner got roughed up by Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, and left guard Kelechi Osemele got beat as well. Flacco was sacked twice in the first half after not getting sacked in the first two preseason games.
  • How thin are the Ravens at cornerback? The Ravens used safety Anthony Levine at cornerback for the first time. On one third-down play, the Ravens had four safeties on the field: Levine at cornerback, Terrence Brooks at nickelback, Matt Elam at strong safety and Darian Stewart at free safety.
  • The Ravens' athleticism on the defensive line shined in containing Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III. Nose tackle Brandon Williams got into the backfield to drill Griffin and force an incompletion. Rookie Timmy Jernigan ran Griffin down to push him out of bounds for a sack.
  • It was an impressive first series for Brooks. He made an interception that was negated by penalty and then sacked Griffin on third down in the red zone. On that sack, Brooks showcased his speed by covering a lot of ground. Brooks is capitalizing on his time with the first-team defense.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have gone from the worst rushing team in franchise history to the NFL's top rushing team in the preseason.

Does this mean the Ravens' ground game is suddenly fixed? Are the Ravens going to be a top-10 rushing attack? Even coach John Harbaugh cautioned about jumping to such conclusions.

The Ravens have averaged an impressive 194 yards rushing -- 69 more than any other team in the league -- in what amounts to two meaningless games. What is real, however, is the Ravens' growing confidence.

Last season, the Ravens lost faith in their offensive line to open holes and their running backs to accelerate through them. It led to the Ravens running the pistol offense and spreading out teams with three wide receivers.

There is a different mindset this season. Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak want this to be a run-first team again.

There is a different attitude so far this preseason. The offensive line, which has three different starters since the end of last season, has pushed defenders off the line. Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are lighter and, as a result, more explosive.

"Obviously, with last year not running the ball as much -- and that being on the offensive line -- [it] is something that we take pride in," said left guard Kelechi Osemele, who missed the final seven games last season after having back surgery. "So if we can run the ball early this year, that should continue to build our confidence throughout the season.”

Skeptics will point to the fact that the Ravens gained all of these yards against a beat-up 49ers front and an unproven Cowboys defense. But the numbers are still gaudy when compared to how the Ravens struggled last season.

The Ravens have gained 388 yards rushing in two preseason games. It took the Ravens until the fifth regular-season game last season to produce that number of rushing yards.

The biggest difference from last season can be summed up on Rice's first carry in Dallas. The offensive line got the Cowboys' front moving too hard to the left side of the field, and Rice made one cut to go untouched for 18 yards. It's difficult to remember many runs last year when the backs broke the line of scrimmage without being hit.

It's not just Rice who's having success. Pierce is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro is leading the NFL in rushing with 130 yards.

"I feel good about the run game so far, and we temper it with the fact that it’s two games in the preseason, and what matters is what you do when it counts," Harbaugh said. "[There is] a long way to go to be where we need to be to have the kind of success that we’re hoping to have.”

Breaking down Ravens 2014 camp

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens wrapped up their 19th training camp, one that will be remembered for Steve Smith's spectacular catches, Jimmy Smith's deflections, Kelechi Osemele's pulverizing hits and a couple of season-ending injuries to the defensive line.

Looking to rebound from their worst season since 2007, the Ravens believe they're a much better team than the one that began camp three weeks ago.

"That's the beauty of training camp -- you have an opportunity to really see [the] progress," coach John Harbaugh said. "You're in a crucible, and every single day it's all you do. It's wall-to-wall football. It's morning to night. You go to sleep and you wake up, and you're back at football. There's no escape. There's nowhere to hide, [and] there's nowhere to run. It's all football all the time, so you make progress rapidly, but you have to because you have a long way to go. We just have so much work to do still between now and then, and that's what we have to focus on.”

With 23 days until the season opener, this is what stood out in this year's training camp:

Most impressive player of camp, offense: Left guard Kelechi Osemele. If he dominates this way in the regular season, the Ravens could have another Pro Bowl guard. He put so many defensive players on their backs that I'm surprised IHOP hasn't signed him to an endorsement deal.

Most impressive player, defense: Cornerback Jimmy Smith. He has carried all of the momentum from last year into this summer. Smith was the only defensive back who repeatedly won in one-on-one drills, and he regularly knocked down the few passes thrown in his direction.

Most disappointing player, offense: Wide receiver Deonte Thompson. He never resembled a player who had made the Ravens the past two seasons. His continual drops have pushed him on the wrong side of the bubble.

Most disappointing player, defense: Cornerback Chykie Brown. He entered camp as the front-runner for the No. 3 job, and he's now the biggest concern on the defense after allowing a deep pass on nearly every day of camp. Injuries to Lardarius Webb and Asa Jackson have put Brown on the first-team defense by default.

Best play: Wide receiver Torrey Smith. He provide the highlight of camp during a red-zone drill at M&T Bank Stadium, where he skied in the air over cornerback Asa Jackson and hauled in Joe Flacco's pass with one hand.

Worst play: Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on the second day of joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers. It's a scene that won't soon be forgotten, from his gut-wrenching screams while laying on the ground to players from both teams kneeling down to pray around him.

Best addition: Wide receiver Steve Smith. It's hard to remember a day when you weren't by a catch he made.

Most disappointing addition: Tight end Owen Daniels. Unlike Steve Smith, Daniels looked like a player who doesn't have much left.

Biggest sleeper, offense: Wide receiver Kamar Aiken. After being cut by three teams, Aiken has impressed the Ravens with his strong hands, which has helped him go from a long shot to someone who is inching closer to a roster spot.

Biggest sleeper, defense: Cornerback Tremain Jacobs. The undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M has become a favorite of the coaching staff. He isn't going to be the No. 3 corner this year, but he has the potential to develop into one in future years.

Most improved player, offense: Fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Last year, the Ravens re-signed Vonta Leach because Juszczyk wasn't ready as a rookie. Now, Juszczyk is primed for a breakthrough year as a lead blocker and a receiver.

Most improved player, defense: Linebacker Pernell McPhee. Don't be surprised if he matches his six-sack total from his 2011 rookie season because he's healthy and looks more explosive.
Mark Dominik, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager who is a current ESPN analyst, put together the best team that $132 million salary cap dollars could buy. Three Baltimore Ravens players made the cut, including the entire left side of their offensive line.

This is an Insider piece, so I can't reveal the whole team. I can let you know that the Ravens had the most players of the AFC North teams. The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns had two players each, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were shut out.

Here are the three Ravens included on what is being called the "ultimate 53-man NFL roster" ...

Eugene Monroe, left tackle: Monroe isn't a Pro Bowl player, but he's athletic, a hard worker and very durable. The Ravens re-signed him to a cap friendly deal this offseason. His cap number ($3.2 million) ranks 23rd among all left tackles. "As I went through offensive lineman and their 2014 salaries, Monroe really stood out for me as a big-time value with talent," Dominik wrote.

Kelechi Osemele, left guard: Osemele has been impressive this summer after back surgery sidelined him for the second half of last season. He's looking like a Pro Bowl talent, which means he'll outplay his rookie deal. His cap number this year is less than $1 million. "I like his size and believe he is going to continue to ascend as a player," Dominik wrote.

Justin Tucker, kicker: In two seasons, he has the highest career field-goal percentage (91.9 percent) among all active kickers with at least 60 attempts. The Ravens are really getting a bargain when you consider the cap number for this formerly undrafted player is $570,000. "I really value punters and kickers [too many people take these positions for granted until it costs them a game], but when you have a blank roster, this is an area where I had to save money. Regardless, I still got one of the best," Dominik wrote.

Ravens Camp Report: Day 12

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Baltimore Ravens training camp:
  • Joe Flacco carried the momentum from a great season opener with a sharp practice. He continually found holes in the San Francisco 49ers zone, dropping in passes to his receivers. His best pass was a 50-yard completion to wide receiver Marlon Brown after Flacco rolled to his left and threw off his back foot.
  • There were no fights in the first joint practice with the 49ers. There were a few close calls, especially with guard Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Pernell McPhee. My guess is the players were warned about throwing punches after what the head coaches said before practice.
  • Jimmy Smith was the only cornerback who held up well for the Ravens. Smith set the tone in the one-on-one drill against Anquan Boldin, knocking the ball down in front of the former Ravens receiver. When Smith spoke to owner Steve Bisciotti during practice, I couldn't help thinking about the size of the check that Bisciotti will be writing Smith in a couple of years.
  • Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor didn't run in team drills for the first time in recent memory. The only way the Ravens can evaluate how he's progressed as a pocket passer is if he stays in the pocket. Taylor rushed his reads early and had several passes batted down when he tried to dump the ball off. He did finish with two deep throws, hitting Steve Smith (who had to dive for the ball) and Michael Campanaro.
  • Like he's done for most of camp, Osemele was crushing defensive linemen. Osemele knocked 49ers defensive tackle Tank Carradine to the ground three times during one session of team drills.
  • One of the more anticipated matchups didn't go the Ravens' way as Terrell Suggs couldn't get past 49ers left tackle Joe Staley. On the other side, Elvis Dumervil had his way with backup right tackle Jonathan Martin.
  • Cornerback Chykie Brown struggled again after putting together some decent practices. He was faked out early and often, allowing too many easy catches to 49ers receivers.
  • The Ravens started rotating rookie fifth-round pick John Urschel in with the second team at guard. This comes after Ryan Jensen got pushed around in the preseason opener. Jensen missed time in practice after injuring his left knee, but he returned after getting checked out by trainers.
  • Schedule: The Ravens hold their second joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers at noon Sunday.
  • Injury wire: This is the healthiest the Ravens have been since the start of camp. Only four players didn't practice. ... CB Lardarius Webb (back) missed his 10th straight practice. He last practiced July 25. ... G Will Rackley (head) also didn't practice. ... NT Terrence Cody (hip) is on the physically unable to perform list. ... DE Brent Urban (torn ACL) is out for the season.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- As the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Gary Kubiak is envisioning shorter passes, quicker releases from his quarterbacks and a play that has been used infrequently in team history.

"I was telling John [Harbaugh] the other night: ‘You know, I think we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good screen team,'" Kubiak said. "Our guards not only are big and physical, but they can get out and run."

Screen passes can be an effective weapon. It's a high-percentage short pass to a running back that can generate yards if the offense gets downfield blocking and the defense is caught blitzing.

But the Ravens have rarely called this play, throwing 123 screen passes since 2001 -- the fourth fewest in the NFL over that span. Only the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have called it fewer times.

Kubiak feels that can change this season with left guard Kelechi Osemele and right guard Marshal Yanda. They're two of the most physical guards in the league, but they have athleticism for their size. For a screen pass to work, offensive linemen have to run and get in front of the running back in the flat.

It's interesting to note that Kubiak isn't known for using the screen pass often. During Kubiak's eight seasons in Houston, the Texans had 163 screen passes, which ranked 20th in the NFL. polled 18 Baltimore media members for their top 20 players on the 2014 Baltimore Ravens roster. The countdown will run through the middle of July, just before the start of training camp. You can click here for an introduction on how the blog put together the rankings.

Let's continue the countdown ...

No. 16: Kelechi Osemele

Position: Guard

Total points: 109.

Highest ranking: No. 4. Lowest ranking: Not ranked.

What you need to know: Osemele is coming off back surgery, which sidelined him for the final nine games of 2013. He has fully recovered and is expected to start at left guard. A second-round pick, Osemele started every game during the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl season as a rookie.

Where Osemele should be ranked: I had Osemele at No. 16 on my rankings, although I was tempted to place him higher. He's been among the most impressive players at offseason workouts, and he could be the key to upgrading this offensive line. It wouldn't surprise me if Osemele made the Pro Bowl at some point in his career.

File this away: In two seasons, the versatile Osemele has started 27 games (including playoffs), with 16 coming at right tackle and 11 at left guard.

What the Ravens are saying about Osemele: "He's back to his usual self, running around. He's one of the best conditioned guys on the field -- just grinding, trying to get better. We're having to slow him down a little bit because it's been a while since he's played." -- offensive tackle Eugene Monroe

Here is the panel of voters: Morgan Adsit (WBFF-TV), Clifton Brown (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Jerry Coleman (105.7 The Fan), Bruce Cunnningham (WBFF-TV), Steve Davis (105.7 The Fan), John Eisenberg (Baltimore Ravens website), Pete Gilbert (WBAL-TV), David Ginsburg (Associated Press), Brent Harris (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Brett Hollander (WBAL Radio), Luke Jones (WNST Radio), Joe Platania (the Press Box), Gerry Sandusky (WBAL-TV), Mark Viviano (WJZ-TV), Aaron Wilson (Baltimore Sun), Matt Zenitz (Carroll County Times), Jeff Zrebiec (Baltimore Sun) and Jamison Hensley (