Friday, July 11, 2008

Underachiever could be the key to Ravens' '08 season

The key to the Ravens’ season could lie in some rather questionable hands. Those hands belong to Jared Gaither. If Gaither doesn’t quickly become a more focused and professional athlete, the hole at left tackle stemming from Jonathan Ogden’s retirement could be as gaping as the now bankrupt pockets of Michael Vick.

Gaither’s work ethic was questioned while he played for Ralph Friedgen at the University of Maryland. Apparently not much has changed and the Ravens’ coaching staff and front office personnel are rumored to have had a little powwow with Gaither to put it in no uncertain terms that it’s now or never for the skilled offensive lineman.

If Gaither doesn’t work out, it could bring Cam Cameron’s offense to its knees. Adam Terry who in spot duty filling in for Ogden has been very serviceable at left tackle leaving many to wonder why the team is entering camp with Gaither penciled in at the top of the depth charts at LT. Terry hasn’t been nearly as dependable at right tackle but that appears to be his job to lose.

If Gaither fails, the team could switch Terry back to his more natural left tackle position and let a couple of other camp battles determine the remaining configuration of the Ravens’ young offensive line. Rookie Oniel Cousins has been very combative in team OTA’s and he could press for time at RT if Terry flips over to the left or if he fails to hold down the right flank. The team could also move Marshal Yanda to RT assuming that Chris Chester can establish himself at one of the interior line positions. But that is a big assumption. Chester has been a disappointment thus far particularly considering that he cost the Ravens a second round pick in 2006.

Chester could be yet another player whose Scouting Combine measurables lured scouts more so than his productivity on the field. That is always a risky proposition, particularly on day 1 of the draft.


Anonymous said...

While pondering some questions about the "O" line and another apparent question mark, tight end, Chester may be a "bust" as a lineman, but if memory serves me correctly, he played tight end in college. So.....any thought to moving him back to his original position where there is a need, or has he literally "outgrown" tight end? As for Gaither, is it possible that he's one of those "gamers" who plays harder during games than during practice? Hate to think that he would be a "key" to this season in as much as he's a "raw" talent at best......

Harryos29 said...

I have Faith that # 71, Gaither will realize this is it. I saw him Play at Maryalnd..when he has a mind to play..he is an awesome blocker. its like replacing Cal Ripken at SS...its tuff to replace a legend like J.O.
I have faith in the new Coaching staff that they will come up with the right combination.