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Rick Wagner feeling 'comfortable' in new Ravens offense

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The second-year right tackle has chance to earn starting spot.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie, Ravens tackle Rick Wagner was thrust into the spotlight in a season-opening game against the Broncos, in front of a road NFL crowd and a national TV audience.

He wasn't supposed to get this early of a look, but Michael Oher had sprained his ankle on a running play and was forced to come out of the game. Wagner had to fill in for the remainder and take on the task of blocking outside linebacker Shaun Phillips. As tough as it was, there's a lot that Wagner was able to take away from it now that he's entering his second season with the Ravens.

"Again, just the speed," Wagner told reporters during last week's minicamp media availability. "It was a big game [on a] Thursday night, kind of getting thrown in there, but those are experiences that are very valuable because they don't come along that much."

That learning experience should help Wagner moving forward, though year one may not be that much different from year two. There's a new offensive coordinator, and thus, a new offensive scheme. Forget last year's assignments, as there will be new tasks to absorb mentally.

Wagner was penciled in as the starting right tackle early this offseason by John Harbaugh, shortly after Oher left for Tennessee during free agency. But there was still a belief that perhaps the organization would find a veteran to plug in, or perhaps maybe someone could unseat him.

So far, nothing has materialized on that front. At the same time, there hasn't really been any contact in practice, so there's not much to go off of. What we do know is that Ryan Jensen has emerged as a potential candidate. James Hurst is probably nothing more than a dark horse at this time. Jah Reid is an afterthought.

Unless the Ravens do make a move and bring in a veteran to start at right tackle, the job appears to be Wagner's to lose. He's done his part to learn the offense and it's something he hopes to be able to do on Sundays this fall.

"It's been going really good — just trying to get the new offense going, and I feel really comfortable right now," Wagner said. "We've been working out here since April, and everyone seems to be coming along pretty well."