The Ravens have continually put pressure on tackle Bryant McKinnie to try to get the most out of him in 2012.
When they gave him a 500,000 roster bonus in March, it was with the stipulation that he get himself in better shape.
After he worked through the spring and early summer to do just that, they held him out of the mandatory minicamp in June for conditioning purposes, showing him that more needed to be done.
When he skipped the start of training camp two weeks ago, they trotted out offensive line coach Andy Moeller for a media session in which he effectively said the line would be fine sans McKinnie. The big guy quickly hustled up from his home in Florida and reported.
But with camp in full swing now and McKinnie scheduled to practice all-out for the first time Monday, nothing is putting more pressure on McKinnie than rookie Kelechi Osemele. The 2012 second-round pick has jumped right into the Plan B starting lineup at right tackle, with Michael Oher shifting to McKinnies spot at left tackle.
"Its a lot of responsibility and a lot on my shoulders, but I wouldnt want it any other way, Osemele told the teams official website after Saturdays practice at M&T Bank Stadium. "Its a lot of pressure but thats a good thing. I think its a good thing and think its a good sign.
If anything, Osemele has already exhibited impressive versatility. After playing left tackle as a senior at Iowa State, he played left guard for the Ravens during OTAs. Now he has moved to right tackle.
"The switch has been going pretty good, Osemele said. "It feels good being back out there on the edge. Its fun and its a challenge, so I enjoy it.
Osemele is a big, athletic, tough, smart football player who will get better every snap he plays, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. Hes going to just keep getting better, better and better for the next three or four years. I would imagine hell be just like Michael (Oher) every snap get better, every day get better, every week, every game. Its just a matter of getting his fundamentals down and getting him some game experience. As you guys know, we draft people around here for a reason. Weve got us another one.
In the end, the Ravens probably would rather have McKinnie, with his 147 career starts, on the field in 2012. Veteran blind-side tackles are hard to find, and the mountainous McKinnie is one.
But McKinnies contract is up after this season, and if Osemele continues to impress, it is easy to envision the Ravens going with Oher and Osemele down the road.