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Ravens' Gino Gradkowski wins center job

Fellow Blue Hen looks to be tapped as Joe Flacco's center this season, even though A.Q. Shipley had a more productive preseason.

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Gino Gradkowski came into training camp as the center to be.

The position was left vacant by Matt Birk who retired this offseason. But the Ravens picked up A.Q. Shipley to give him some competition and this was one of the better head to head battles in the Ravens preseason.

But on Friday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced a winner in the position battle.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>John Harbaugh says Gino Gradkowski is the starting center</p>&mdash; Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) <a href="">August 30, 2013</a></blockquote>
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On Thursday night, Shipley was the main center and Gradkowski did not play. Most of the time this would indicate the opposite, but it's the fourth preseason game and everything that is, is not. Gradkowski was the odds on favorite through out the preseason.

However, statistics show that Shipley had much more of an impact on the offense.

The average rush with Shipley on the field was 3.81 vs. 2.65 for Gradkowski. Other advance stats such as net yards over average (yards on field vs. six-year rolling average of NFL) lean toward Shipley as well. With that being said, maybe the most important statistic of this competition is number of snaps with QB1. Gino Gradkowski had 69 snaps in the preseason with Joe Flacco under center, while Shipley only had 19. This tells me the Gradkowski had the job to begin with and was able to fend off Shipley's charge.

This is certainly not a done deal and could change through out the season, but for now, it looks as though the Ravens will have an all Delaware Blue Hen battery on offense.