When it comes to injury-tied misfortunes, the Baltimore Ravens are virtually unrivaled in recent years. The 2017 season was no different, with their offensive line suffering in particular. Outside of retirements and departures in free agency, they lost both of their starting guards for the year, as well as a backup.
One of those was Marshal Yanda, who for years had been one of the very best interior offensive linemen—really one of the best offensive linemen as a whole—in the entire NFL. His absence was certainly felt in 2017, so they are very eager to welcome him back into the fold in 2018.
At least for the moment, however, that will have to wait, as the All-Pro has begun the Ravens’ training camp on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform List as he continues to recover from last season’s injury.
Baltimore is already in training camp because they will be participating in this year’s Hall of Fame game, and thus will be playing a fifth preseason game, which takes place before the rest of the preseason schedule for the other 30 teams around the league.
Yanda suffered a broken ankle in the early portions of the 2017 season, limited to just two games as a result. The long-time veteran, who will turn 34 in mid-September, was originally a third-round pick back in 2007. He really began to come into his own in 2011, and made the Pro Bowl for six consecutive years from that point through the 2016 season. He was also named an All-Pro in five of those six years.
Yanda is entering the third year of a four-year extension that he signed in 2015 worth $32 million. At this point, there are 12 right guards who make a higher average annual salary than he does in deals signed since then.
While he is beginning training camp on the PUP list, there is currently no reason to believe that he is not expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. It is not uncommon for players to begin training camp on the PUP list, and many quickly come off. Once they are removed, of course, they cannot be placed on the regular-seasons Reserve/PUP list.
While the offensive line is not 100 percent set in stone, there is a general plan. Ronnie Stanley will of course be at left tackle, with Yanda, assuming he is ready, at right guard. Alex Lewis is also returning from injury for his third season at left guard, while Matt Skura is expected to take over at center.
Rookie Orlando Brown, Jr. will be in competition to start at right tackle, as will veteran James Hurst. But things can still be moved around. Hurst could start at guard and Lewis at tackle, for example.