Baltimore Ravens: Yanda, Osemele NFL’s best guard tandem


Offensive lineman are easily the most under-appreciated players in football. They are only noticed when they mess up on a false start or give up a big sack. However, when they do really well, the running back or the quarterback get the glory on a positive play. Even for the Baltimore Ravens, a team that has consistently valued linemen, the line’s resurgence has been an afterthought.

One lineman that does get a love across the league and from Ravens fans, is Marshal Yanda. Yanda has been a catalyst at guard since the Ravens drafted him in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft. Since being drafted Yanda has been to the Pro Bowl three times and has been an All-Pro guard three times.

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  • Yanda is known for his fantastic run blocking, which is his most consistently dominant skill. Yanda is also known for his toughness. Yanda has played through a ridiculous amount of injuries throughout his career. Yanda has been on the injury report for many weeks this season and still has not missed a game yet.

    For many years, next to Yanda was Ben Grubbs, who was actually taken in the same draft as Yanda but two rounds earlier. Grubbs’ contract ran out, and the Ravens did not want to meet his demands, so Grubbs then left and signed with the New Orleans Saints.

    The Ravens had an obvious hole at guard, so they used a second round pick on a 6’5″ 330 pound guard out of Iowa State, Kelechi Osemele. Osemele was a huge part of the Ravens Super Bowl run in his rookie year.

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  • Osemele has been a day one starter, beginning his career at right tackle before moving inside to play guard. He has also been one of the most underrated guards in the entire NFL. Along with Yanda, Osemele is known for his strength and his run blocking ability.

    Osemele has experienced some injury problems in his young career, as last season he only played seven games. A.Q. Shipley was forced to start in his place, and there was significant difference in talent between the two. Osemele also has missed two games this season, though fortunately John Urschel has proven to be a better back up than Shipley.

    Yanda and Osemele have become the best guard tandem in the NFL. Their running blocking between the tackles is the reason the offense has had so much success on the ground this season. Gary Kubiak and Juan Castillo have found harmony that Jim Caldwell and Castillo never had. They are on the same page, which helps the offensive line as a whole stay on the same page as a cohesive unit.

    Yanda and Osemele have been very fun to watch, and are a pivotal part of the Ravens’ offensive success. As the season goes on, Forsett will rely heavily on Yanda and Osemele to open holes for him.

    Recently, DeMarco Murray bought his entire offensive line iMac computers. I have a feeling Justin Forsett may do the same thing, or at least he should with the way Osemele and Yanda have been playing this season.