Can Gino Gradkowski Be The Answer At Center For Ravens?
Written by BSR Contributor: Judd Bleser. Follow Judd on Twitter @TheInternsTake
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: the Denver Broncos took the Ravens out to the wood shed on Thursday night. Now, if you were to tell me that Peyton Manning was going to have his way with our defense, I wouldn’t have been completely shocked. After all, he had all offseason to prepare for this matchup, against a Ravens defensive unit that still has to develop chemistry with one another.
One thing that did shock me, however, was the complete inability to run the ball for the Ravens.
Yes, I know that for much of the second half they were down and were forced to throw the ball, but the problem existed from the get-go: the Ravens could not get anything inside.
The offensive line simply couldn’t get any type of push on the front four of the Broncos.
I don’t like to point fingers—and he wasn’t the only one struggling—but it became evident to me that Gino Gradkowski had his hands full all night, and he capped it off with a senseless personal foul penalty.
Those of us who became uneasy with former center Matt Birk knew that, while he was a great communicator and leader in the trenches, he was a bit under-sized and got pushed around toward the end of his career. Therefore, I was a bit surprised that the Ravens picked Birk’s successor to be another guy who has similar limitations.
Gino is young, and has plenty of time to grow as a player, but let’s hope it starts to happen sooner rather than later. His tenacity and mean-streak are things I love to see, and if he can bottle those emotions into smart play, he could successfully mask his limitations—something all great players do.