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Ravens-49ers: Offensive line key to running game's return

The Ravens offensive line opened hole after hole to lead the offensive resurgence.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Who were those guys? The imposters who attempted to block defensive lines and linebackers in 2013 disappeared and were replaced by a cohesive unit. A unit. That is the key word. They were on full display on Bernard Pierce's two-yard touchdown, the right side of the line plowing their way into the end-zone. The zone scheme executed significantly different from the "zone scheme" used the previous season. It was in-sync and cohesive.

What I personally found to stand out during Baltimore's 23-3 win over San Francisco, however, is the adjustment made in the second half. Lorenzo Taliaferro replaced Bernard Pierce and power, straight ahead running replaced the lateral, cutback zone running. Kubiak adjusted the scheme to the personnel used, mid-game. In-game adjustments were a rarity under Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell but Kubiak gave many Ravens fans belief things will change.

Marshall Yanda and Kelechi Osemele can be the best guard combo in the NFL. They are bigger and stronger than the typical Kubiak lineman and their physicality can anchor the offensive line. Eugene Monroe is similar to Duane Brown. Ultra athletic and dependable, i believe a Pro Bowl is in store for Monroe, the fourth-rated left tackle per Pro Football Focus, after his arrival in Baltimore.

Ricky Wagner was solid. Going up against Ahmad Brooks, he pushed him into the end-zone on Pierce's touchdown run. I think Kubiak's West Coast offense does a great job of protecting the tackles. With the skill of the aforementioned linemen, and the intelligent and steady Jeremy Zuttah, it doesn't really matter who plays right tackle (Gino Gradkowski excluded). The quick and rhythmic passing game masks the weaknesses. Wagner only needs to be average if the rest of the line is going to be, as I think they will be, stellar.