Last year Michael Oher struggled mightily while playing his natural position of left tackle. It seemed throughout the off season that the Ravens were content with letting him progress at the position in 2011, until just a few weeks before the season the team signed Bryant McKinnie. The signing of McKinnie caused Oher to shift back to the right side, where he was dominant as a rookie. Oher struggled with penalties through the first few games of this season but has settled in nicely heading into week 12.
Why is it that Oher excels on the right side but plays poorly on the left? Some say it is his body type that is holding him back. Michael is very athletic for a tackle but does not have the prototypical size and arm length top play the blind side. When you see a mountain of a man like Bryant McKinnie come in and be successful from day one you begin to understand that assumption. Of course McKinnie is a long time NFL veteran, but he is just best suited to play on the left. Maybe Oher is just best suited for the right.The NFL changes constantly and it is rare that you have a pass rusher that stays in one position constantly going up against a specific player. Players like Terrell Suggs and DeMarcus Ware can create havoc by moving around the line and creating mis-matches where they can. So Oher is probably seeing the same rushers on the right as he would have on the left. So why the big change in play? Maybe Michael is just better at that angle? This would be rare because he played on the left side in college. You would think he would be better in the position in which he got more reps.
Oher is most prolific as a run blocker. He can get good penetration and regularly blocks into the second level. This works out great for a right tackle. With Oher and Marshal Yanda on the right side and McKinnie and Grubbs on the left the Ravens have put together quite a formidable line. Now Baltimore can have success running right or left. This is a luxury in the NFL these days. Any fan can see the difference in the line since Grubbs return. The rest of the Ravens line needs to go all 'Jerry Maguire' on Grubbs and say "you complete me!". He definitely changed the whole complexion of our offense.
Oher is once again leading all tackles in Pro Bowl votes. While it may not be for his performance on the field, he is certainly gaining ground on his famous name with his play. The average fan probably can't name five NFL tackles if they had a gun to their head so as much as his portrayal in the movie annoys him, I'm sure he still cashes his bonus check for making the Pro Bowl.