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Purple_ICE 81

How do we like Gino Gradkowski as our starting center?

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Matt Birk has been great during his time in Baltimore, and it is sad to see him finally hang em up. However we drafted Gino Gradkowski to step in as his potential successor, but I think this will be a competition to watch during training camp....so would you feel comfortable with Gradkowski as our starter or would you want more talent at the position to add wood to the fire?
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[quote name='Purple_ICE 81' timestamp='1361551724' post='1364829']
Matt Birk has been great during his time in Baltimore, and it is sad to see him finally hang em up. However we drafted Gino Gradkowski to step in as his potential successor, but I think this will be a competition to watch during training camp....so would you feel comfortable with Gradkowski as our starter or would you want more talent at the position to add wood to the fire?
[/quote]

He filled in some during the season and did well. I wanted him to have a year behind Birk to hopefully learn a thing or two before he was a full-time starter. Given limited playing time, it's hard to make an informed determination at this point in time. I believe he'll do well though.
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I'd like to see some competition brought in. Not a top-flight center of course, but a veteran acquisition who is cabable of making Gino give his all to win that spot. Besides, we at the very least need depth in case he gets hurt, so why not bring in some competition??
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He looked very good filling in for Birk in Cincy - I'm pretty comfortable with him anchoring the line, with Yanda and KO as the guards. He's smart, definitely stronger and more athletic than Birk is at this point in his career, and I think we have a good coaching staff in place that will give him the knowledge he needs to get better.
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[quote name='PurpleCityLights' timestamp='1361553063' post='1364849']
Gino is a small dude compared to other centers in theNFL......we might have some problems.
[/quote]

You don't need mammoth centers in a zone running scheme. It's not as if he can't add bulk to his frame in the off-season either.
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I'm anxious but I have faith that our coaches will have him well prepared by the time the regular season rolls around. He has a lot of growing up to do. He has a huge responsibility in keeping that pocket clean so our franchise quarterback can step up and throw the long bomb to Jacoby and Torrey.
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[quote name='bMore Heathen' timestamp='1361553797' post='1364863']
Gradkowski is only an inch shorter and 10 lbs lighter then Birk. I don't think that should be a huge issue...
[/quote]

And that is most likely preseason measurements. I know the focus this year was to get Gino in the weight room, so I'm sure he bulked up a bit over the course of the season.
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he looked good against cincy but i dont think anyone will know till werer halfway through preseason or into the reg season.
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[quote name='PurpleCityLights' timestamp='1361553063' post='1364849']
Gino is a small dude compared to other centers in theNFL......we might have some problems.
[/quote]

Size doesn't matter as much as the tape, if I hadn't seen him play I'd be worried too but he's explosive and strong.
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[quote name='RavensAllTheWay' timestamp='1361554278' post='1364875']
All I'm going to say about Gino right now is if he pans out, our 12 draft class will only be that much better.
[/quote]
Agreed. Upshaw,Osemele,Pierce,Gradkowski ..... Alot of the picks in 2012 were picked on the fly as well!


[quote]DeCosta said the Ravens had to “manufacture some runs” this year during the draft, as they were forced to shift on the fly more often than in the past. “We had some guys we liked and they got picked,” he said. [/quote]
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[quote name='bMore Heathen' timestamp='1361553797' post='1364863']
Gradkowski is only an inch shorter and 10 lbs lighter then Birk. I don't think that should be a huge issue...
[/quote]

Yea, plus if it makes anyone feel any better Gino is listed as an inch taller and 5 pounds heavier the Jeff Saturday. I know a lot of talk is about how much the Ravens offense will now resemble the Colts offense with Peyton and Caldwell, so that's something similar, a smaller center.

I think Gino will do well, but like others have said only time will tell. I really like our interior line.

The thing I think will be interesting is that Birk made a majority if not all of the line calls. Now with Gino, will it be Flacco's job to the set the line and call out defensive alignments? If that's the case, how much of the offense will Flacco now control from the LOS? This could be a move that brings out even more in Flacco, and showcase his ability to run the offense. Which we actually saw in the playoffs.
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[quote name='Ravens<3' timestamp='1361556787' post='1364914']

Agreed. Upshaw,Osemele,Pierce,Gradkowski ..... Alot of the picks in 2012 were picked on the fly as well!
[/quote]

Yea I guess to that we say thanks to the teams picking around us. Even though undrafted, we can add Justin Tucker to that list and if either one or both Streeter and/or Thompson pans out....wow
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[quote name='gabefergy' timestamp='1361556989' post='1364916']
Gino will be great, but we probably need to sign a veteran to at least be a back-up.
[/quote]

Yeah, I think we definitely would be better served with a veteran back-up for insurance. Right now, I have faith Gino will do well though.
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[quote name='PurpleCityLights' timestamp='1361553063' post='1364849']
Gino is a small dude compared to other centers in theNFL......we might have some problems.
[/quote]

Chris Myers says hello.
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[quote name='ravensdfan' timestamp='1361557240' post='1364920']


Yeah, I think we definitely would be better served with a veteran back-up for insurance. Right now, I have faith Gino will do well though.
[/quote]

Yea, that's the route we've gone the last couple years at OG with Groude and Williams. So I think Ozzie will definitely bring someone in. Maybe a guy like Dan Koppen. Similar build to Gino, longtime Center for Brady, then played well for Denver last year. Not sure if Broncos will re-sign him or not, but he's a nice insurance policy for a 1yr deal.
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[quote name='platinumxx2' timestamp='1361559564' post='1364950']
I think we should draft Barrett Jones in the 2nd round to compete with Gino for center, and to provide depth at other O-Line positions.
[/quote]

I think the Ravens are really high on Gino. Reports were that if he didn't play at Delaware he would have been a much higher ranked Center, but many teams didn't know much about him until close to draft.

If you draft a guy who is consider the best Center in round 2, you better hope he's your guy at Center or at least could slide to OG. I think KO and Yanda are the OGs no question. So the Ravens might not see much value in drafting Jones.


I do expect to see another interior olineman drafted late though.
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LOL @ Gradkowski being too small.... Someone nationally must have used that as a snippet and people bite into it hook, line and sinker....

A quick canvassing of some NFL centers tells me.

Jeff Saturday 295 -- Pro Bowl
Ryan Kalil 295
Nick Mangold 307
Nick Hardewick 305
Alex Mack 311
Markice Pouncey 304 -- Pro Bowl
Chris Myers 290 -- Pro Bowl
Max Unger 305 -- Pro Bowl

So can we please stop with the he's too small bit?

Gradkowski will add muscle and weight in the right places if he needs it.
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Gradkowski is not THAT small, he will probably be fine physically. It's not like Matt Birk was overwhelming anyone, anyways. A bigger deal for centers is dealing with the mental adjustments and line calls, he got to learn from one of the best ever for a year.
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Looking at his performance in Cinci as compared to his play in the pre-season, Gino improved a lot. It's up to the coaches to decide, if he is ready, but we will have to draft a center regardless, just for depth. We might as well make it a competition. Worked out for us in the kicking position.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1361559443' post='1364948']


Chris Myers says hello.
[/quote]
Well that sure is nice of him to say hello
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1361559806' post='1364956']
I like Gino as the starter. I really do. I have a on of faith in him. We just need to get him a veteran backup.
[/quote]

and how much is that going to cost us?

Birk should've stayed for next year. At least that way, we can ease Gino in. Now we have to pay another center that a lot worse than Birk and he needs to learn our system. Terrible.
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