It’s Ronnie Stanley.

Should you’re questioning which Raven participant coming off damage this season can imply probably the most to the crew’s success, it’s Ronnie Stanley. Additionally, when you’re questioning which Raven participant coming off damage this season can torpedo the crew’s success this season probably the most if the damage finally wins, nicely, it is usually Ronnie Stanley.

Sure, it’s a quarterback-driven league, and the Ravens’ MVP-winning Lamar Jackson additionally finds himself getting back from damage. By positional worth alone, Jackson ought to most likely be the reply to each these questions, proper?

However we’ve seen Jackson understanding all through this offseason. We’ve got a reasonably clear understanding regarding his damage late final season, and what his prognosis was to hit the bottom operating (and throwing) this 12 months. We additionally noticed him completely smoke Bernard Pollard on Twitter the opposite evening, so, yeah… he’s in recreation form.

However Stanley carries a bit extra thriller.

The All-Professional deal with bought damage in 2020, gutted himself by means of camp final season and lasted one out-of-character efficiency towards the Las Vegas Raiders earlier than succumbing to the fact of the state of affairs and subjecting himself to extra surgical procedure. What occurred subsequent was straight out of a Wes Craven film: Alejandro Villanueva took over the function of left deal with, the Ravens tried a mix of men on the fitting facet and left guard, and Jackson was enjoying a harmful recreation of hen each time he dropped again to go.

Fairly, it was not. A shining instance of what makes Stanley so essential to this offense, it was.

Reviews are good thus far with reference to Stanley being able to roll in 2022. In fact, we’ve heard that previously with Breshad Perriman, Derek Wolfe, Russian navy management and, clearly, Stanley himself. Simply final 12 months. The proof can be within the proverbial pudding.

The Huge Man Returns

If Stanley can come again, and return to even an in depth proximity of the participant he was earlier than, the Ravens’ offensive line — and thus their offense — might be in fine condition. Stanley’s PFF grades from 2016 by means of 2020 have been, respectively, 74.8, 75.1, 77.5, 88.5 and 79.9. These are the form of grades you’d count on, and be thankful for, from a franchise left deal with.

Contemplate that magical 2019 common season, when Stanley posted that 88.5 grade. He was credited with 4 penalties and nil sacks that season, whereas teaming with Marshal Yanda to assist spearhead the best dashing assault in NFL historical past. Villanueva final season was flagged 11 occasions, and gave up 9 sacks, and I actually don’t really feel that even tells the entire story. I love Villanueva for his service to our nation, the years of strong play he placed on tape in Pittsburgh and for suiting up each recreation final 12 months in a tough season.

However it was unhealthy. Actually, actually unhealthy.

Stanley again would solidify that fabled “blind facet.” The additions of Morgan Moses, Daniel Faalele and a believed-healthy Ja’Wuan James ought to end in good play on the fitting finish, and rookie Tyler Linderbaum is anticipated to step proper in and supply good play within the pivot. Final 12 months’s signee Kevin Zeitler was a standout at proper guard. That leaves a contest at left guard between Ben Cleveland, Ben Powers and Patrick Mekari, and also you’re going to really feel a bit higher about whoever emerges if they’ve a serviceable Stanley standing subsequent to them.

Growth. You’ve gotten a good line at that time.

Well being Doesn’t Maintain

If the early returns don’t pan out, and Stanley’s physique received’t permit him again on the sector, nicely, that clearly sucks for him. Rehabbing again from surgical procedure is terrible. Been there, completed that. Rehabbing again from two consecutive surgical procedures?  Properly, that’s a nightmare. Rehabbing again from two surgical procedures and nonetheless not having the ability to carry out? That’s simply an terrible situation for Stanley and his household, and I believe all of us pray for that to not occur.

However it additionally actually modifications the look of this 12 months’s line. Would Mekari line up at left deal with? James? Moses? Does it change what you do at left guard if that seasoned left deal with isn’t on the market? Does Nick Boyle change into an every-down participant offering assist on the left edge, limiting the Ravens playbook whereas Boyle is combating again from his personal traumatic accidents?

It’s a slope that may get actual slippery, actual fast.

You by no means need to put an excessive amount of on the shoulders of 1 participant, or particular person. However there’s so much concerning the 2022 Ravens that hinges on one very large man who performs one crucial place.

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