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Ravens O Line

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Is it getting better?


there are signs that the line may be hitting its stride.


“I see progress,” guard Marshal Yanda said Thursday. “I think we’re playing pretty decent. It’s coming together well.”


Although Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been sacked 21 times this season and taken a beating in several games, he has gone down just once in each of the past two games, escaping relatively unscathed.


It’s helped that the Ravens have started using a quick-hitting shotgun alignment more frequently on passing downs, enabling Flacco to get rid of the ball sooner.


“He’s not getting hit a lot, (just) every once in awhile,” Yanda said.


As for the other part of the line’s job description – blocking for the run – the Ravens rushed for 105 yards on 28 attempts last Sunday against Cincinnati.


“It’s getting to be that time of year when you run it and the line needs to be dominant,” tackle Bryant McKinnie said. “I think we’re working toward that.”


Bryant, who joined the team in training camp after nine years with the Minnesota Vikings, has seemingly worked himself into decent shape, which was an issue when he signed.


He also has played alongside three guards – Mark LeVoir (since cut), Andre Gurode and starter Ben Grubbs, who missed six games with a toe injury before returning two weeks ago. Gurode filled in for Grubbs.


“There’s been a lot (to deal with), a new team and three guards. I’ve handled it all right,” McKinnie said. “I’m playing better and better now that Ben is back because he knows the offense.”


San Francisco’s defense will provide a stern challenge Thursday night. The 49ers are first in the league against the run and haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season.


“That’s something we’d like to change,” McKinnie said.


But the Bengals were ranked second in the league in rushing defense before Ravens running back Ray Rice gained 104 yards on 20 carries last Sunday.


“Guys (on the line) are working hard, which is all you ask for,” Yanda said. “The bye weeks are over. Everyone is making a push. You come in and grind it out every day, every week. It’s the time of year when you have to have guys with good heads on their shoulders, guys willing to dig down and work. We’ve got that.”


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