COMMENTARY | The Baltimore Ravens enter week five of the 2013 NFL season with an offensive line that has not lived up to its expectations this season.
Once considered the strength of the offense during last year's Super Bowl run, the offensive line has been a complete disaster since week one. The Ravens' bread and butter, known as the productive rushing attack, has been non-existent.
As a result, the immediate pressure has risen astronomically for quarterback Joe Flacco, who is incapable of making something out of nothing with the talent at his disposal.
Bryant McKinnie was the biggest x-factor during the Ravens postseason run. After sitting on the sidelines for the majority of the season, McKinnie was fresh coming off the bench and did not have wear and tear on his body. This led to the phenomenal pass protection from Flacco's blindside, with pass rushers such as Aldon Smith and Von Miller becoming virtually non-existent.
It turns out that McKinnie's success in the postseason was nothing more than an aberration, which is one way to describe the Ravens' offensive productivity last postseason.
His struggles ultimately led the Ravens to the conclusion that he would be best served as providing depth on the roster, and not anchoring the most crucial position on the offensive line.
Thus, general manager Ozzie Newsome continues to make everyone take his moves for granted. He acquired Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and did so when there were no known competitors for his services.
The deal involves multiple third-day draft selections, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That is entirely worth it for a 26-year-old left tackle who was the Jaguars best player this season.
Monroe provides an immediate upgrade to both pass-protection and run blocking. Pro-Football Focus ranked him as the 10th best left tackle in football last year.
The immediate impact with Monroe is fairly obvious. However, it remains to be seen if the former first round pick will stay in Baltimore beyond 2013.
If Monroe continues to improve in his development, it would be in the best interest of the Ravens to sign him for multiple seasons. It would make sense that it's a priority for Ozzie Newsome to lock up one of the emerging talents at a position that is hard to find.
The Ravens could very well re-negotiate contracts with Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs to create open cap space for the move. Monroe could also sign an extension at a fair price if he becomes convinced by the winning culture in Baltimore.
Ultimately, the defending Super Bowl champions have acquired an elite talent that will help them right now, and potentially for many seasons to come.
Matt Miselis has covered the Baltimore Ravens four five years. He has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report and has been featured on ESPN Radio and CBSSports.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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