After signing with the Ravens earlier this week, Bryant McKinnie said that the team had informed him that he was going to play left tackle, a move which would bump Michael Oher back to the right tackle spot.
Tonight, head coach John Harbaugh confirmed that news.
“Our plan right now is to move Michael to right and to put Bryant at left,” Harbaugh said. “And we’ll see how that goes. Everything is fluid. I’d love to say ‘That’s set in stone’, but that’s not set in stone. Bryant’s played there, Michael’s played the right side. I’m going to tell you what - Michael Oher is about as good a person and as great as a team guy as I’ve ever been around in my career.
“Ozzie (Newsome, general manager) and I brought him in, we talked to him the night before last night, and he said it before we said it: ‘Whatever I need to do to help this be the best football team and the best offensive line I can be.’ All the career stuff can wait. We’re trying to be the best football team we can be, and that’s exactly what he said.”
Harbaugh acknowledged that the Ravens are taking a bit of a chance with McKinnie (who has battled weight issues and has had multiple run-ins with the law), saying, “The ball’s in his court in a lot of ways.”
“He’s been working out and he’s been eating right,” Harbaugh said. “I’m very impressed with him. He’s a very mature guy. He’s very excited to be here. He’s a very intelligent guy. I’m looking forward to getting him in the fold.”
The Ravens’ coach also made sure to point out that the decision to move Oher back to right tackle does not signify that the team is giving up on him as a left tackle in the future.
“It’s not indicative of him not being able to play left tackle by any stretch,” Harbaugh said. “Michael Oher can play left tackle. That is a proven fact. I just think it’s an impressive thing for him to do that, because not many players in this league would take that approach. The way the media is going to portray it is not always going to be the most positive way, but he doesn’t care. It’s a pretty neat deal.”
Talking about the move to the right side after the game, Oher didn’t seem to have any issues with the positional change.
“There’s no pride involved,” Oher said. “I’m trying to win games. I want to win a Super Bowl. It’s no big deal for me to go back to right tackle, and I never had a problem with it.”
McKinnie has played left tackle his entire nine-year career, and has played it at a pretty high level. Technically, the 31-year-old was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl, although he skipped out on practices and ended up leaving Hawaii before the actual game.
Oher played right tackle his rookie season, and it’s a position that he shouldn’t have much difficulty switching back to.
“It’s all football,” Oher said. “It’s just practicing, preparation and keeping in the (play)book.”