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McKinnie biggest early-season surprise for Ravens?

It's hard to overstate how important new left tackle Bryant McKinnie was in the Ravens 35-7 beatdown of the Steelers Sunday.

Normally I don't focus on a particular offensive lineman when I'm watching an NFL game. Unless you wear a headset and hold a laminated playsheet in front of your mouth on Sundays in the fall, who does?

About the only time I find offensive linemen fascinating is during meals, because the amount of food these guys inhale is other-wordly.

Having said that, I watched McKinnie a lot during the Ravens win, mainly to see if the big guy was going to collapse with exhaustion from not being in tip-top shape when the Ravens first signed him a few weeks ago.

Instead, he looked solid, even spectacular at times.

Some early observations: maybe he's listed at 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds in your program, but he seems even bigger than that. He's the size of a redwood tree. That 360-pound listing, in particular, needs adjusting. Upward.

 If you saw him in the locker room after Sunday's game with his shirt off, you knew he wasn't living on Diet Cokes and salads since his release by the Minnesota Vikings. Not with that gut.

But he's also way quicker than you'd think, too.

 On the Ravens' first play from scrimmage, a 36-yard run by Ray Rice that set the tone for the entire afternoon, McKinnie fired off the line and obliterated two Steelers (linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison).

 This was the kind of play that gets coaches hooting and high-fiving each other and replaying it over and over again when they break down game film.

John Harbaugh couldn't stop talking about McKinnie and his upside in his post-game remarks.

"We've seen it in practice and he's a very mobile, athletic guy," the Ravens coach said. "I only think he's going to get better. He really wants to do well. He's a very motivated guy. He's a very smart guy. He's very determined.

"I think he wants to be an important cog in this football team. And he's only going to get better, because he's going to get in better shape, and he's really a hard-working guy."

Whew. And that was even before Harbaugh saw the game film.

Yeah, I think the Ravens like their new left tackle just fine so far.

Baltimore Sun photo of Bryant McKinnie by Christopher T. Assaf / Sept. 11, 2011

Comments

Not to nit pick, but you meant to say "hard to overstate"

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Editor's note: Fixed. Thanks.

I enjoyed the Ravens win over the Steelers as much as any Baltimore fan. Pittsburgh always plays hard and challenges the Ravens position by position. That being said, Troy Polamalu didn't seem to have much of a presence on Sunday. What did the Ravens do that nuetralized his big play making ability?

when i saw mckinnie put harrison on his back during a pass play this past sunday - all i could think was G-D bless Bryant McKinnie!!!

One man can make the others around him that much better. McKinnie demands the attention he must be given. How good will this line be? The "Monster Mash" sounds good to me.

It doesn't surprise me . I thought they got a steal when they acquired him. McKinnie has always been a top flite player. Every team has a few bad boys and get mileage out of them. It's time we utilized some of those type also , as they always seem to be top players.

I am NOT surprised about McKinnie because he was doing it for AP and since his days at Miami.I don't see how people could be surprised and I wouldn't be surprised if we went unbeaten because we have all the pieces in place and I hope that GOD is willing.But we have to keep winning because I know that Pittsburgh and New England is not going to lose many games and I would like to see us get that home field advantage in the playoffs.

On the Dixson TD, he lined up on the right side and ran a crossing pattern. #43 bit slightly on the play action fake and this allowed Dixson to break free.

#43 chased Dixson but, unlike Heap, Dixson was too fast and maintained a little separation.

Finally, the pass was nearly perfectly placed so that only Dixson was able to catch it.

Ed. The Ravens ran the ball well which forced the Strong Safety (#43) to 1) Stay home and not roam around and 2) be susceptible to the play action fake.

Add to that the fact that Flacco was putting the ball right on target to his TE and WRs all day long.

When he passed to Rice, the passes were on target so Rice had plenty of time to turn up field and look for daylight.
#43 was forced to play catch up all day.

No surprise! A perennial All Pro with 10 years experience would have little trouble adjusting. Interesting to note that Oher held Woodley at bay all afternoon and didn't have one "false start" as he regularly did last year at LT. Oher obviously is more comfortable at RT and with McKinnie at LT, they have the proverbial "book ends" on what is shaping up to be a formidable OL.....

I just wanna know what JB and spy are thinking. I guess Ozzie actually knows what he is doing. Jb said these were just pieces off of the scrap heap and they were all over the bill. I guess not JB. It's ridiculous how you rip on the front office. Show Ozzie some respect because he won't be around forever...

He certainly was ready to play, and that was a huge surprise in Pittsburgh's face.

I believe Mount McKinnie is the final piece, just as Shannon Sharpe was in 2000.

one team's trash is another team's treasure!! GO RAVENS!!!

Mount McKinney showed up, dominated James Harrison, and made it look easy. We ran for 170 yards, anf Flacco had time to throw....to wide open receivers! Is it possible to overstate the importance of the new improved O-line? Can we keep 'em? Huh? Please?

McKinnie is a really good player who has vast knowledge and experience besides the build and strength to be a factor all season. Don't forget Grubbs who aidded him (those two will be killers together.) Oher and Yanda (sic?) are both excellent and know what to do to win. The current center is a top player (and holds the line together) and gets the first push as Steelers discovered - that was a grave error to give the Ravens the ball first - foolishly thought they'd crush the new OL. This Raven's OL can help enable the Ravens to reach and win a Super Bowl.

Truly incredible! McKinnie controlled his side of the line and totally nullified the Harrison. It looked like a man against a child. Give Ozzie and hs staff a lot of credit for picking up McKinnie. That one brillant piece allowed all other lineman to play where they play best, creating a stronger line overall that will only get better.

Listening to the Viking fans, they say McKinnie is up one game or two, then down for a couple or three.

Maybe McKinnie was up and down at Minnesota because the coaches and/or other teammates let him? I don't think Ray will allow that attitude to develop here in Baltimore, nor will any of the coaches, either.

WHAT is the big surprise he is a pro bowl left tackle who could roll out of bed and make plays in the middle of winter, a lot like a guy named johnathan ogden.

Never underestimate a player with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to his former team and to the league. I think McKinnie will fit in wonderuflly with Baltimore. He's a big, physical player with good experience which hopefully will give us not only a better presence running the ball (who did NOT enjoy cramming it down the steelers throats all day?) But also give Flacco the confidence to start spreading the deep ball love to evans, boldin, and our very suprising tight end corps.

Ozzie is one of the best gm in the business....We have all the pieces to make a run at the Super Bowl...go Ravens

If you didnt watch the game closely you missed Bryant McKinnie throwing James Harrison all over the back field. On Ray Rice's TD Reception, Harrison got pushed to the ground like a begging poor man... It was awful........................ And whats all the #43 talk on other post, if you dont know who Troy Polomolu is perhaps breaking down tape is not what you should be doing.... #Justsaying

Ed,

I'm going to sound like a homer but theres 2 reasons the Raven's made #43 so ineffective:

1) success running the ball which led to effective play action.

2) #43 just isn't who he used to be and he hasn't been since he hurt his achilles in 2009. He may have won DPOY, but if anyone watched some of the games he played in against the top flight teams, he's a step slower than most players at this point. Green Bay abused him in the Super Bowl and the Ravens took a page out of that same playbook and used athletic tight ends he couldn't keep up with.

In all honesty, there is no debate in the Troy vs. Reed debate anymore. At this point Troy is a liability in coverage, Reed is still the best centerfielder in the game.

I live in Western Maryland where the Stealer fans rule 10 to 1 at minimum.
All tv stations are local out of Pittsburgh. The nite B-4 da Ravens game I watched Stealers Saturday hosted by Bob Pompeani. He had a school boy pin head type guest. Neither
gave the Ravens any chance to win. The pin head said Bryant McKinney was the "most over-rated " player and "he could not block anyone." He also said,
" if James Harrison was at full strength, he would have 20 sacks playing against McKinney." HA HA HA HEH HEH HEH.............

@B-roni, spy and JB (and a few others) are MIA, aren't they? Go figure...

I was so happy when we picked him up because i knew what he meant to the Vikings running game and pass protection. Sometimes change is good within all of us, just like everyone else who joins us, they all look to that one thing to win the big one. Welcome McKinnie.....

The only surprise concerning McKinnie is the high level of conditioning that he showed. The first play steamroll was not unexpected (and VERY appreciated), but he was still doing it in the second half. If this line stays healthy, it will be the best tackle to tackle line the Ravens have ever had. No offense to JO, but these five men, four maulers and Mr. Harvard, are above all others.

where are all the armchair gm's that constantly berate ozzy? step up and eat your crow guys.

Jerry- McKinnie has never once been named All-Pro, and has in fact only been named to the Pro Bowl once. He has been a solid and productive starter for most of his career, but not the all-world performer you indicate.

The issue with him not living up to his #1 draft pick billing never seemed to be talent/potential, but rather his work ethic and maturity. To that extent, the change in scenery to the Ravens would appear to be the perfect elixir. He now has the motivation to show the Vikings that cutting him was a mistake, as well as the motivation that comes from playing on a true Super Bowl contender (note that his only Pro Bowl year was 2009, when Minnesota came into the season with its best chance of winning the Super Bowl). And if all that wasn't enough, he has the high-discipline Ravens locker room to give him the structure he needs, along with fellow Miami alums Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to keep him in line.

It was a smart pickup by the Ravens- in a single move they have strengthened the entire O-line, improved our running and passing game, decreased the risk of injury to our franchise TD, and bolstered our chances of winning it all. I believe that every position on our O-line is now filled with borderline Pro Bowl talent, and can't wait to see what this team can accomplish once they've actually played significant time together!

GO RAVENS!!!

McKinnie and the whole O-Line did a hell of good job. And their gonna get even better!!!!

@B-roni - agreed. if you only were allowed to read JB and spy you would think that our team was drafting in the top 10 for the last decade. I guess Ozzies ain't so stupid after all. huh spy??????

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