The interior of the Ravens' offensive line will look exactly the same entering training camp as it did at the end of 2009.
The Ravens are strong up the middle, and return a Pro Bowl center, and two young, physical starting guards.
Here is the group that you will see line up along the interior of the line throughout training camp and the preseason:
C Matt Birk, 6-4, 310 pounds, 13th NFL season
Where he stands: Birk's first season in Baltimore was a success, and he proved worthy of the three-year, $12 million contract he signed last offseason. The Harvard product anchored the Ravens' offensive line, and provided a veteran presence to an otherwise young group. Birk is in great shape and is a student of the game.
What needs to be done: With the exception of the tackles switching spots, the O-line should look exactly the same as it did at the end of 2009, so Birk and Co. can just pick up where they left off. The veteran center just needs to stay healthy, keep doing his thing, and try and avoid getting his patented bloody nose (at right).
G Ben Grubbs, 6-3, 310 pounds, 4th NFL season
Where he stands: Grubbs is on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowler. Named an alternate for the All-Star game last year, the Ravens' starting left guard is getting some national recognition for his physical play and impressive mobility. He's a great pulling guard and with Michael Oher right next to him, the Ravens will have a very tough left side of the line.
What needs to be done: Keep taking the minor steps forward. It seems like Grubbs has slowly improved every season, and if he can continue to progress, he might settle in as one of the top-five left guards in the league.
G Marshal Yanda, 6-3, 310 pounds, 4th NFL season
Where he stands: Yanda will enter training camp as the Ravens' starting right tackle, but as I wrote yesterday, he has the ability to play tackle as well. The Iowa farm boy might be a quiet, friendly guy off the field, but he's a fiery competitor between the lines, and gives the Ravens good versatility and toughness.
What needs to be done: Stay healthy. A knee injury in 2008 ended Yanda's season, and caused him to start 2009 on the bench. He took over the right tackle job once he was completely healthy, and if he can stay that way, he should stick there this season.
G/C Chris Chester, 6-3, 315 pounds, 5th NFL season
Where he stands: Right now, Chester is a high-quality backup and a guy who can be used when the Ravens need an extra lineman in jumbo formations. He has plenty of experience starting for the Ravens, but lost his job to Yanda mid-way through last year, who the coaches view as the better all-around option at right guard. Chester will use training camp to try and earn the starting gig back.
What needs to be done: Be more physical. Chester is very quick for a guy his size and is good when he pulls and gets into space, but he needs to be tougher at the point of attack. That's Yanda's area of strength, and the coaches want to see more of that out of Chester.
G/C David Hale, 6-6, 315 pounds, 3rd NFL season
Where he stands: Hale appeared in 12 games for the Ravens last year, but almost all of his action was on special teams. He sat out four games with a head injury and then was inactive for both of the Ravens' postseason games. He is incredibly versatile; Hale can play both guard and center and also played tackle in college.
What needs to be done: Keep up his solid special teams play, and show well whenever he gets a chance to play along the line. He should get plenty of reps with the second and third teams at guard and center.
G Bryan Mattison, 6-3, 272 pounds, 2nd NFL season
Where he stands: I'm not entirely sure where Mattison stands, and I wouldn't be shocked if he isn't either. The son of Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Bryan has moved back and forth from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side in his two years on the Ravens' practice squad. He spent most of last year at guard, then switched to the D-line, but I believe he's back on offense for now.
What needs to be done: This is it for Mattison; he's no longer eligible for the practice squad, so it's 53-man roster or bust. His ability to play both offensive guard and defensive tackle help him, but he needs to establish himself at one position and play solid special teams to prove that he's worth keeping around.