Did everybody forget about our Super Bowl hangover but me? Matt Birk finally retired and our next up & coming center Gino Gradkowski stepped in front of Joe Flacco... and fell repeatedly into Flacco after being bullied by D-lineman every game. Gradkowski was the 35th ranked center in the NFL that year. That means all 31 other teams had a better center, and 3 back-ups were ranked higher. We watched as our star runningback put up his lowest totals ever, and back-up Bernard Pierce almost set the worst YPC record in the Super-Bowl era. Finally Ozzie fixed his mistake, 16 games later.
Trading a fifth round selection to the Buccaneers in exchange for an actual NFL center became a vital move for the Ravens as the next season Justin Forsett worked out 1,266 yards and 5.4 YPC. This turnaround is not just Zuttah arriving, but I guarantee you this would not have happened with Gradkowski snapping the football.
Zuttah played some great games, and some ugly ones. Simply knowing he wasn't ranked less than a back-up though makes not only myself content, but Joe & the running game must feel elated.
He isn't going to be an All-pro like teammate Marshal Yanda, but he defintely isn't bullied upon by defenses. Zuttah's worst game this season he allowed one sack (his only sack this season) and seven QB hurries to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game Baltimore was simply outclassed. If you take away his worst game Zuttah allowed 0 sacks, and 16 hurries in the regular season. Comparing to the Gradkowski year of 3 sacks, 7 QB hits, and 26 QB hurries Zuttah makes one hell of a difference.
While Baltimore runs with the best guard and right tackle in the league, it's tough to remember the average players who make a great difference, hats off to Jeremy Zuttah. Keep it going this season.