Bryant McKinnie could be closing in on a return to the Baltimore Ravens offensive line as head coach John Harbaugh looks to improve a struggling tacking unit. Left tackle Michael Oher and right tackle Kelechi Osemele have been given the chance this season, but the youngsters have both failed to impress during the early part of the season, conceding 13 sacks from their opening six games.
The main issue for the offensive tackles has been handling speedy edge rushers, and both Oher and Osemele will need to drastically improve if they are to keep their places in the starting line-up. Harbaugh has admitted McKinnie is ready to step into the team when called upon, making it clear, however, that certain off-field issues would need to be resolved.
“Bryant is ready to play right now,” Harbaugh told NFL news reporters. “But circumstances dictate a lot of things sometimes.”
McKinnie would probably already have been recalled into the starting line-up had it not been for the clause in his contract entitling the 33-year old to a tasty pay-out should he play more than 50% of the Ravens’ offensive plays this season. Rather than shell out the reported $1 million to McKinnie, Baltimore may wait until the eighth round before reinstating the experienced left tackle into the team.
McKinnie was an ever-present in the offensive line last season that only gave up 33 sacks in 16 games, making them a favourite with punters and their NFL betting lines. With nearly half the number of sacks already conceded in the opening six games of the campaign, the sooner McKinnie is back in the starting line-up, the better for the Ravens. It remains to be seen whether or not it will be too late by that point, though.