I don't think it is too far of a stretch to say that the Baltimore Ravens' offensive line was absolutely terrible at the start of the season. With left tackle Eugene Monroe out of several games with a concussion, and right tackle Ricky Wagner failing to live up to his 2014 play, the passing game was a turnstile of pass rushers abusing quarterback Joe Flacco while the run game and running back Justin Forsett kept banging his head into a wall of defenders.
Over the last few weeks though, this unit has greatly improved on all fronts. Even though Eugene Monroe continues to battle various injuries and his replacement, James Hurst, has been downright awful in his stead; the rest of the line finally got their act together. After the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, head coach John Harbaugh had some praise for right tackle Ricky Wagner and the rest of the offensive line.
I thought [Rick] Wagner played well. There were some things he could have done better, but all in all, the whole offensive line played well, for the most part. There were issues at times, like there always are, but you’d have to give them a plus grade overall.
By no means is this unit back to their 2014 days on either front, but they are clearly improving as the season wears on. With offensive coordinator Marc Trestman doing things to help the offensive line out like running more stretch plays and keeping in blockers to help give Joe Flacco some time, the offensive line can continue to get better and hopefully lead to a positive overall grade by season's end.
Even Pro Football Focus has taken notice of the group's improved play, ranking them 11th overall when they had been ranked at the 29th spot not too long ago.
11. Baltimore Ravens (29th)
Pass blocking rank: 17th
Run blocking rank: 9th
Penalties rank: T-2nd
Dud: Every time James Hurst (25.8) has taken the field, things have not gone well.
Summary: This unit is much improved from earlier in the season; that’s less on James Hurst, more on Eugene Monroe, allowing the strength of this line—their two guards—to really shine.
The Ravens still have to figure out what they will be doing with Eugene Monroe and the left tackle position both in the short and long-term as James Hurst clearly is not ready for the starting lineup and Monroe is clearly not ready to be out of the ice tub. We've discussed some options over the last few weeks, but that position will be an interesting one to watch when the offseason starts for the Ravens.
For now though, the improved play on the offensive line has helped the Ravens find their second win.