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Joe D'Alessandris deserves credit for keeping the Ravens O-Line afloat

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The decimation of the Ravens offensive line through injury has been well covered. Marshal Yanda, who only happens to be the league's best guard, went down with a season ending ankle injury against the Browns. Since then, the Ravens interior has been down to practice squad guards and an unproven center.

This unproven center has elevated his game under a new offensive line coach who seems to be getting the best out of the available talent. Previous offensive line coach Juan Castillo had long been a scapegoat with the 2013 and 2015 seasons being black marks on his resume. D'Alessandris has come on and brought the very best out of Ryan Jensen, Ronnie Stanley and Austin Howard. And while the young guards have struggled against the Steelers and Jaguars, no one can say their talents are not being squeezed to the limit. D'Alessendris even has James Hurst, the player who is directly responsible for Joe Flacco's ACL tear, playing at a high enough level at guard with outstanting physicality on pull blocks.

Even if this Ravens season ends in dissapointment, the improvements on the line could carry over into next season thanks to D'Alessandris. A healthy Marshal Yanda and the return of Alex Lewis and possibly Nico Siragusa could anchor a line that may be ready to become one of the NFL's best. Ryan Jensen is proving to be a legitimate NFL starter at center and if re-signed, he could provide what the Ravens have not had at the position since Matt Birk.

There are sure to be rough patches ahead. However, fans should look at this incarnation of this Ravens team as a two-year plan. Do not despair, the future is perhaps not as murky as originally thought.