When Baltimore Ravens veteran center Matt Birk's name comes up, people might mention his six Pro Bowls, but they also seem to think he is over-the-hill and on his last legs. After 14 seasons in the NFL playing at an extremely high level protecting his quarterback and opening holes for his running backs, Birk is not ready to be put out to pasture just yet.
As story on Pro Football Focus, titled "Matt Birk: The Forgotten Pro-Bowler," details not only how good Birk still is, but dared to consider him one of, if not the best center in the entire league last year. The compared him to the standard for NFL centers, the New York Jets' Nick Mangold. They went in-depth inside the numbers to statistically imply that Birk actually had a better season than the Pro Bowler Mangold.
Whether or not you choose to buy into that comparison, it is still great to know that as young as the other Ravens offensive linemen are, as they are among the youngest group in the league even with the veteran Birk's age averaged in, they are set to actually improve in 2011, which bodes well for QB Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, as well as the entire offense.