Photo Courtesy: USA Today

The Marshal Yanda Effect

The Importance of Yanda's return on the O-Line

July 11, 2018 - 6:13 pm

By Austin Medina  

For the past decade, it wouldn’t be a Ravens offseason without lineman Marshal Yanda, Yanda has been a staple along the Ravens front since 2007. Although he is widely regarded as the best guard in the NFL, an interesting rating has many, including myself, shocked.

Yanda was ranked the 4th best guard in the latest Madden NFL 19 ratings. He was rated behind Zach Martin, David DeCastro, and Super Bowl champion Brandon Brooks. Even though Yanda missed the majority of the 2017 season after fracturing his ankle, his rating could be looked at as both good and bad.

The good: Yanda’s ranking is among the top four guards in the NFL, even after breaking his ankle and missing 14 games.

The bad: Yanda was the best guard before his injury, has played at an elite level for nearly a decade, and is a Hall of Famer.

Yanda will return this season fully healthy from his ankle injury and is expected to be ready for minicamp.

His skill and presence is obvious, as the Ravens toughness offensively lays heavy on his shoulders. Before his ankle injury, Yanda made the Pro Bowl the previous six seasons and made first-team All-Pro in 2014 and 2015.

Where Yanda’s return makes the most impact is with the new faces along the offensive line. Rookies such as Orlando Brown Jr. and Bradley Bozeman will have a great teacher and leader to learn from. Back in 2007, rookie lineman Yanda was looking up and learning from Hall of Fame lineman Jonathan Ogden. Sound familiar?

This isn’t guaranteeing either Brown or Bozeman is the next staple of the line, but who’s to say they aren’t?

Like Ogden, Brown Jr. has a massive frame at 345 pounds and an inch smaller at 6’8. Perhaps Yanda’s experience is coming full circle?

Additionally, the injury to Yanda last season allowed the Ravens to establish another lineman in Matt Skura. When injuries to a great player such as Yanda occur, it's hard to find a positive. But in this case, it was pretty easy to find. After starting 12 games last season, Skura has the experience to replace Ryan Jensen (now on Tampa Bay) and start at center. In an article posted on the Ravens website, Skura talked about filling in for Yanda last season.

“It happened really fast and there wasn’t much time to process, but sometimes being thrown into the fire is the best way to do it.”

It’s a new season for the Ravens and the return of Marshal Yanda provides a lot of hope for Ravens fans. Having a locker room presence such as Yanda is huge for the rookies entering a new league and experiencing new game speed. His knowledge of staying ready and being tough is important for players such as Skura, who now has expectations to not just "fill in" but exceed.

Seeing #73 walk out of the tunnel on Sundays will be a huge spark for the offensive line, as well as the entire Ravens roster. 

Everyone should be excited for Yanda's return and here’s a prediction for the 2018 season:

Yanda’s injury in 2017 won’t haunt him this season. From 2013 to 2016, Yanda only missed three games. 2017 appeared to be a minor hiccup in Yanda’s progression and was an outlier in his durable career. His stellar season in 2016 saw him ranked #43 on the NFL's Top 100 list.

His presence in the locker room will benefit the progressions of young players such as Ronnie Stanley and help guide Brown Jr. in his first year.

Once again the Ravens will rank among the top-third in rushing and the offense will flow easier (and look smoother) with #73 in the trenches.

One of their generals are returning for battle.

A general battle-tested and hungry for another Super Bowl run.

Fear not Ravens fans.

Although there is some uncertainty at quarterback and the rushing attack seems to be “by committee,” the offensive line will once again be solid with the comeback of Marshal Yanda.