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Gradkowski not cutting it


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#1 TigerBlood

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:17 PM

While everyone is worried about the Ravens options at receiver, and deservedly so, perhaps a greater problem is sort of flying under the radar. If anyone recorded the game, go back and watch Gino Gradkowski on running plays. Many times he was simply slammed to the ground or tossed aside by linebackers weighing 250 lbs or less. He looks so incredibly undersized it isn't funny. I said this on another post but I think it deserves one of it's own. The Ravens RBs had no room to run, especially up the middle. After watching both our centers in preseason, when the Ravens cut Laquan Willaims and had that extra roster spot I was hoping we would pick up Fernando Velasco. The Steelers just picked him up today so that's no longer possible. I just don't see us beating quality teams with either Shipley or Gradkowski at center. Good D-lines will shut down the run and force Joe to throw. We all saw how that turned out. If we are going to win with these deficiencies at receiver and TE we have to run the ball. I am more than concerned.

#2 johnpolitics

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:20 PM

They lost by 20 points. The center did not cost them THIS ONE GAME OF THE ENTIRE REGULAR SEASON.

#3 bmore_ken

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:31 PM

When your D gives up 7 TD passes, Center is the least of your problems

#4 TigerBlood

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:32 PM

They lost by 20 points. The center did not cost them THIS ONE GAME OF THE ENTIRE REGULAR SEASON.


Did I say it cost them this game? No.

I said it was a concern. This also happened during the preseason, which was why they started Shipley the second game. Shipley was just as bad, if not worse.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious that this was one game of the season, and offering nothing else to debate my point.

#5 TigerBlood

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:33 PM

The defense may get better, but Gradkowski's not going to grow three inches and gain 50 lbs.

#6 OriginalColtsFan

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:39 PM

While everyone is worried about the Ravens options at receiver, and deservedly so, perhaps a greater problem is sort of flying under the radar. If anyone recorded the game, go back and watch Gino Gradkowski on running plays. Many times he was simply slammed to the ground or tossed aside by linebackers weighing 250 lbs or less. He looks so incredibly undersized it isn't funny. I said this on another post but I think it deserves one of it's own. The Ravens RBs had no room to run, especially up the middle. After watching both our centers in preseason, when the Ravens cut Laquan Willaims and had that extra roster spot I was hoping we would pick up Fernando Velasco. The Steelers just picked him up today so that's no longer possible. I just don't see us beating quality teams with either Shipley or Gradkowski at center. Good D-lines will shut down the run and force Joe to throw. We all saw how that turned out. If we are going to win with these deficiencies at receiver and TE we have to run the ball. I am more than concerned.

It was obvious in the preseason, and it was obvious in the first game. But hey...the coaches know best, right? No. They obviously do not. They should have done whatever they needed to to bring in an NFL center. Gradkowski is NOT an NFL center. And how/why they don't see that is beyond me. He has single-handedly reduced the quality of the O-line all by himself. I owe Matt Birk a belated apology.

#7 Jeebus

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:39 PM

Did I say it cost them this game? No.

I said it was a concern.


Not to Harbaugh.

From Matt Zenitz:

Harbaugh was complimentary of how Gino Gradkowski played against the Broncos



#8 OriginalColtsFan

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:40 PM

Not to Harbaugh.

That's funny. In a really sad sort of way.

#9 johnpolitics

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:55 PM

Did I say it cost them this game? No.

I said it was a concern. This also happened during the preseason, which was why they started Shipley the second game. Shipley was just as bad, if not worse.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious that this was one game of the season, and offering nothing else to debate my point.


Your point isn't worth debating. That's my point.

#10 OriginalColtsFan

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:54 PM

Your point isn't worth debating. That's my point.

Your point it pointless. First of all, you don't know how much his lack of any real push cost the Ravens on short yardage situations. And without a solid center, there's no room for Joe to step up when the pressure comes from the outside. And as TB already pointed out...this is a real problem, and it will continue to be a problem for the rest of the year. He's not suddenly going to gain weight and height. He's going to continue to get pushed around and it's going to continue to disrupt the offense, both on runs and passing plays.

#11 Andy in Hagerstown

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 07:25 AM

Gradkowski (6'3" 300) happens to be about the same size as a certain pro-bowl center from Pittsburgh Pouncey (6'4" 304). The center position isn't about size it's about technique and smarts. He is young and learning and hopefully he will get better. The reality is that he is our center for this year at least so we better get used to the growing pains.

#12 baltiMOREOandR

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 07:43 AM

I am real sure there are no 'plug and play' options at center on the free agent market or vet guys sitting at home that want to return...
so it's 'plug and pray'.

#13 OriginalColtsFan

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 08:24 AM

Gradkowski (6'3" 300) happens to be about the same size as a certain pro-bowl center from Pittsburgh Pouncey (6'4" 304). The center position isn't about size it's about technique and smarts. He is young and learning and hopefully he will get better. The reality is that he is our center for this year at least so we better get used to the growing pains.

Just looking at size/weight, yeah...Gradkowski is more or less in the general mix of other NFL centers. And hope is a real wonderful thing. The Ravens hoped their younger WRs (NOT Brown or Mellette...the OTHER ones, most of whom flopped) would pan out. They didn't. You just don't go into the season pinning hopes on a guy at such a critical position who was totally untested and who's shown he can't cut it -- at least not right now. The truth is the Ravens SHOULD have been grooming a center from the day they signed Birk. They didn't. And now they're paying the price. So while "the reality" is that he's the Ravens center, that doesn't mean anyone needs to just sit back and say: "OH HOW WONDERFUL. HE'S THE CENTER". Hardly.

While I was questioning the advisability of counting on Gradkowski during the preseason, I saw tons of posts stating: "TRUST THE FO. TRUST THE COACHES. THEY KNOW BEST." Obviously, the did NOT know best, or else the situation wouldn't be what it is now. He's getting blown up, and there's no room for Joe to step up. And whatever the hell happened to Osemele? He rated out as one of the worst guards in week 1. That's a huge regression. So maybe bringing in Castillo (another friend of the Harbaughs) wasn't such a great move after all? And maybe the O-line problems go beyond the players themselves? KO was one of the best last year, we know that. What happened? And is what's affecting KO also affecting Gradkowski? We'll have to wait and see. You want to wait quietly? Be my guest. Just don't expect anyone else to follow your lead.

#14 CajunRaven

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 09:48 AM

Gradkowski (6'3" 300) happens to be about the same size as a certain pro-bowl center from Pittsburgh Pouncey (6'4" 304). The center position isn't about size it's about technique and smarts. He is young and learning and hopefully he will get better. The reality is that he is our center for this year at least so we better get used to the growing pains.


^^^^.

#15 Jeebus

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 10:06 AM

Ryan Jensen (6-4 / 320) broke his foot early in camp and should be able to return soon, not sure how much a 6th rd pick is gonna help though he was a D2 All American.

#16 Steveg85321

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:09 AM

I would think it would be obvious to anyone, especially such knowledgeable experts as we have among us, that nobody at any position starts his first game knowing everything and able to do everything that he may or may not eventually know and do. Of course it is our place to criticize; that is what this site is for, and I for one learn a lot from what other folks post. But it seems to go with the territory to at least seemingly write off a guy based on so little experience. I don't think it is possible for any team to have a player starting at every single position who is totally able and at the peak of his career.

#17 baltiMOREOandR

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 11:23 AM

especially such knowledgeable experts as we have among us...


hmm...

some may be blinded by the Kyle Boller mentality... that one never improves even with continual coaching, reps and increased strength and knowledge... but i guess it just could happen.

#18 TigerBlood

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:10 PM

I don't often like to quote Mike Preston, but in the preseason he said that Yanda and Osemele could help hide Gradkowski's inefficiencies by taking on the NT, linebackers, etc, because they were that good. Perhaps they are having to help out much more than anticipated and it is driving down Osemele's productivity in the process. When you are constantly having to provide help to cover up a weakness your play is bound to suffer as well.

If Gradkowski is really 6'3" then he certainly plays a lot smaller then that. He really does look like a boy among men when you look at the replays.

#19 TigerBlood

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:14 PM

You are right, and he shouldn't be completely written off. He did however, start the Cincy game last year and is in his second year so he's not a rookie. He may be good down the road but for a team that has playoff aspirations, he really shouldn't be starting yet.

#20 Steveg85321

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 02:25 PM

You are right, and he shouldn't be completely written off. He did however, start the Cincy game last year and is in his second year so he's not a rookie. He may be good down the road but for a team that has playoff aspirations, he really shouldn't be starting yet.

Playoff aspirations may be something we should wonder about. Ozzie particularly said right after the Super Bowl that repeating that championship was not as much their focus as building a team/system/organization that would be competitive for many years rather than burning out the future trying to do it right now. As I said above, no team is going to have an all-pro at his peak at every position, so guys have to be staged in. We notice that Gino may not be big-time NFL center material right now, and whether he will become so remains to be seen. I would bet that he was chosen more for some particular characteristics that complement the type of team the Ravens see themselves establishing for the future, like guys who are quick, smart, team players rather than big and powerful. This is just me speculating. I think and hope the Ravens are a playoff team this year, so they'll just have to work around who they have, and I believe they understand that.




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