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Veteran Birk in awe of offensive line depth


Veteran Birk in awe of offensive line depth

Attention to detail isn't necessarily Matt Birk's strong suit. He pointed out after practice Monday that he was wearing two different shoes.

"That's how into shoes I am. Just a fact," Birk said in a self-deprecating tone that drew laughs all around. "I'll take questions now."

Playing center is where Birk, 36, is more detail-oriented.

He sat out the opening preseason game vs. the Atlanta Falcons, who pressured Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heavily, but started vs. the Detroit Lions last week as the offensive line played more steady.

Coach John Harbaugh still has key decisions to make regarding that group.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who is listed first on the depth chart there but has yet to start a preseason game, has been getting more work as he rounds into better shape. Michael Oher, the starting right tackle, has moved to the left side in McKinnie's place.

With the Ravens focusing on adding a hurry-up package to their attack, McKinnie has to be in better shape. When he reported to training camp, McKinnie was overweight. He could be back in the starting lineup for Thursday's preseason game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"Bryant is doing well. He's moving well," Birk said. "Bryant has done a good job of being in shape. He's moving as well as I've seen him move in a long time getting his backside blocks and backside cutoffs."

But there's also the issue of left guard Bobbie Williams, who struggled in the opener, rested his sore right ankle last week and possibly could end up in a backup role. Rookie Kelechi Osemele has started at right tackle in Oher's usual spot. Osemele also has spent time as backup left guard and could be shifted into Williams' spot.

The possibilities seem endless.

"He is smart, he is very tough, very long," Harbaugh said of Osemele. "He has a great punch. He probably bends a lot better than most people thought who were evaluating him in the draft. He has really good feet, maybe better than people thought. He has a chance to play either one of those spots. He has given us some flexibility in there."

Birk sees having multiple options as a good thing for the Ravens. Like with his mismatched shoes, he can handle the uncertainty.

"I think we're fortunate. This is the deepest group of offensive linemen we've had since Ive been here," said Birk, in his fourth season with Baltimore. "You really look at it as good fortune. We've tried a different number of combinations and we don't know how it will all shake out."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.

2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.


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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern. 

Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt. 

But that's not how RG3 views it. 

"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be." 

And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.

"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great." 

It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.

Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.