With the Baltimore Ravens signing left tackle Bryant McKinnie, OT Michael Oher is endorsing a move back to right tackle if it can result in something greater for the team: wins and a Super Bowl trophy.
In his rookie year of 2009, Oher started 11 games at right tackle and 5 at left tackle. Last year, after Jared Gaither suffered a “mysterious back injury” in training camp and missed all of 2010, Oher was switched permanently to left tackle and started all 16 games.
Head Coach John Harbaugh had this to say concerning Oher’s move from the left side of the offensive line back to the right side:
“Michael is about as good a person and as great a team guy as I’ve ever been around in my career,” Harbaugh said after the contest against Washington. “Ozzie and I brought him in, and we talked to him the night before last. He said it before we said it. ‘Whatever I need to do to help this be the best football team and the best offensive line it can be, [I’ll do it]. All the career stuff can wait.’ We’re trying to be the best football team we can be, and that’s exactly what he said.”
Many players and coaches believed Oher’s 2010 season at left tackle was a successful one, as Oher helped quarterback Joe Flacco become the franchise leader in passing yards, touchdown passes and completions.
However, Oher led the team with 11 penalties and eight false starts. In his rookie year he committed just eight penalties and had only six false starts.
Bryant McKinnie, 31, agreed to a two-year contract with a maximum value of $7.5 million (including a $1 million signing bonus). The Ravens list McKinnie at 6-foot-8, 345 pounds. If you remember, the Minnesota Vikings released McKinnie August 2, after he reportedly showed up to training camp weighing close to 400 pounds.
When McKinnie was at his best, he powered Minnesota’s ground attack, assisting the Vikings to six of their top eight rushing seasons in franchise history.
It will be very interesting to see if both Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher line up at their respective positions in the teams final preseason contest on Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons. Even though starters are usually kept out of preseason finales to avoid injury, one would figure that the coaching staff would love to see how the revamped offensive line meshes.