Ever since Baltimore Ravens right guard Ben Grubbs returned from his turf toe injury, the team has a 4-1 record, with their only loss their last one, a 22-17 upset loss at the Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens have won three straight since then and five of six that he has started in the 2011 regular season. Can a right guard make that much of a difference in an offense's success?
Grubbs left guard position is one of the keys to the offensive line. Next to the most important position, left tackle, the left guard needs to help out on pass protection from the best pass rusher on the opponent and open huge holes up the middle or off tackle on run plays. While Grubbs was out with that painful toe injury, hs place was taken by former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl lineman Andre Gurode. However, Gurode earned his Pro Bowl status at center and the switch to leftt guard was not a pleasant experience for Andre, much less the rest of the Ravens offense.
In simple terms, Gurode was awful at the position he had never played before and it showed for his entire stint there. It shows how different the two positions are and it also proved how important Ben Grubbs was in that spot. Upon his return, he struggled a bit in the run game at first but now has been opening holes for Ray Rice to run through for giant chunks of yardage, as evidenced by Rice's constant large gains through the left side of the o-line when he ran for 204 yards last week in the team's 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.
While you might be able to argue that he is not the lone reason for the team's recent success, you cannot argue his obvious contributions. This may change the team's thought process on how to deal with the guy as he is a free agent after the 2011 season and now appears to be a key part of the offensive line puzzle and deserving of a big contract in order to stay with the Baltimore Ravens, which fans should hope and pray he does.