The Baltimore Ravens have invested time and money into rebuilding their offensive line, but none of that will matter without some better results on the field.
In terms of getting that done, it could begin and end with one player in the form of offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley. Lost to injury last year, Stanley was an anchor of the team’s front through the last few seasons, and could be expected to do that again. That’s why everyone is watching his case so closely for 2021.
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Once again, Bleacher Report is calling out Stanley ahead of the 2021 season, and wondering about his health as well as his recovery. The site and writer Kristopher Knox cited Stanley as one of the players coming off injury that has the most to prove in training camp.
“Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s season ended just six games into 2020. An All-Pro the previous year, Stanley landed on injured reserve with a left ankle ailment and was replaced by Orlando Brown.
Brown made the Pro Bowl, only adding to the expectations for Stanley. Not only will the Notre Dame product need to live up to his five-year, $98.8 million contract, but he will also have to justify the Ravens’ trade of Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brown has as many Pro Bowl appearances as a left tackle as Stanley, though without him Baltimore no longer has an elite Plan B at the position.
Stanley appears on track to start in Week 1.
Being ready and being in pre-injury form are two different things, of course, and Stanley must show the Ravens they still have a Pro Bowler to block Lamar Jackson’s blind side.”
Stanley’s health is a huge issue for the Ravens, who need to see a healthy player step up along the offensive line in order to make the entire group better. If he can return to his past form and look good, that would be a huge bonus for a Baltimore team that needs all the help they can get up front in 2021.
Stanley Has Been Called Out This Offseason
This isn’t the first time that Bleacher Report has cited Stanley as someone to watch in terms of injury recovery. Another piece was put together detailing all of the biggest questions across the league heading into training camp and the health of Stanley was Brad Gagnon’s biggest Ravens issue to remember.
“It’s clear that the Baltimore Ravens’ chances of breaking through in the AFC Super Bowl race are linked to the success of 2019 MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, which is why the Ravens have bolstered his support this offseason.
How a new-look offensive line comes together will be a big part of that, and veterans Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva will have to get acclimated quickly. But that’s less of a focus than the health of standout left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in November.
Stanley didn’t participate in the team’s offseason program but is “on schedule” to return for training camp “as long as there are no setbacks,” according to head coach John Harbaugh.
That’s promising, but it’s worth monitoring closely because Jackson and the Ravens desperately need their 27-year-old 2019 first-team All-Pro throughout the 2021 campaign.”
It was no surprise that Stanley’s absence coincided with a downturn in play from the offensive line as a whole and the Baltimore offense. Getting Stanley back up to par has to be considered a huge goal for the team, and the hope is that the lineman is ready for camp in a month’s time.
Stanley’s Career Stats
There’s little question that Stanley has earned his money and all the hype he gets. A first round pick in 2016 out of Notre Dame, Stanley cracked his first Pro Bowl and received his first time All-Pro nod in 2019. He’s played in 56 games so far in his career and has started every single one. Since making the jump to the NFL, Stanley has been called an elite pass blocker and one of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL.
Getting a healthy Stanley back into the fold would be huge for the Ravens, so the team wants to see him come back to training camp for 2021 and be ready for a new season. Seeing how he does will be important.