If Eugene Monroe has anything to say about it, he won’t be sitting out another game while becoming acclimated to his new digs.
Monroe was acquired from the Jaguars last Thursday to take over as the Ravens’ starting left tackle, and he wants to do so beginning this Sunday against Green Bay.
“I’m ready. I think I’m ready to go,” Monroe said Wednesday. “I’ll get this work in practice this week starting today and start getting in there with the guys and building a relationship on the line and be ready.”
Monroe is in just his seventh day with the Ravens, but said he already feels comfortable with the playbook.
“Yeah, I do. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on,” Monroe said. “So I’ll get in there today, get reps with the guys, the calls being made as we do them and I’ll be rolling.”
To get there, the 6-foot-5, 306-pound lineman has spent a lot of time meeting with coaches, learning the protections and schemes, and getting to know his teammates.
Doing that now rather than during training camp and offseason sessions has been different.
“It’s been a grind, but it’s part of the job and it’s actually been fun being integrated into a system like this,” Monroe said.
As for his relationship with left tackle Bryant McKinnie, the man whose starting job is likely being lost, Monroe said it hasn’t been an awkward one.
“Not at all. I’ve never felt that here or anywhere else,” Monroe said. “When I first got drafted, there was a 12-year veteran in front of me and we had a great relationship and he did everything he could to bring me along. Having an awkward relationship or being mean or what have you, it just doesn’t help you. The more you can help everybody around you just only increases your stock, so it’s been good.”
The Ravens feel good about what they’re getting in Monroe and what the 26-year-old will add to the offensive line.
Tailback Ray Rice, for one, sees a big, strong, athletic guy that any team would want.
“He does add another athletic component I’m sure we’ve always wanted around here,” Rice said. “That’s not taking away from Bryant McKinnie’s big athletic ability because as big as he is, the guy can move as well. But we’re talking about two different style players. I’ve seen Eugene, he’s good with his hands. You can go shake his hand yourself and see the guy has massive hands. That’s something you always want in your left tackle - to have long arms, big hands and being able to move.”
Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he isn’t sure whether Monroe will be able to play this week. On Wednesday, he didn’t have a firm idea of how long he thinks it will take for Monroe to get caught up.
“I think we’ll know it when we see it,” Harbaugh said. “It’s something that’s a work in progress right now. We’re in the middle of it. Since the minute he got here, it’s been very hard work to get him up to speed on the offense. So I think we’ll know it when we see it. We’ll practice this week, see how he looks.”
McCLAIN CLEARED: Linebacker Jameel McClain hasn’t played since Dec. 9 at Washington because of a spinal cord contusion.
His outlook since the beginning of training camp has looked grim because the injury hasn’t healed as quickly as expected. But things started looking a lot sunnier Wednesday when McClain was cleared to return to action, according to The Sun.
That doesn’t mean McClain will return to game action right away, but after missing the Ravens’ last eight regular season games and their Super Bowl run, the news is finally good for the linebacker.
McClain remains on the physically unable to perform list and will be eligible to practice next week.