Ravens OL Coach Andy Moller is out for the first 2 games of this season. He is being punished by the League for his conduct last Spring in a DUI related incident. At the same time, the Ravens OL has been hastily thrown together with no games together as a unit. Former Sumo wrestler Bryant McKinnie joined the Ravens as their starting LT about 2 weeks ago
This same LT Bryant McKinnie was waived by Minnesota after spending an off-season training for the Casey Hampton look alike contest. The Ravens are desperately hoping that McKinnie has enough stamina to horse collar James Harrison all day. Incidentally, McKinnies' place on the Vikes was taken by the not-immortal Charlie Johnson. McKinnie meanwhile is backed up by Mark LeVoir, who looks like Kris Farris with less athleticism.
If Matt Birk can't go, then Andre Gurode will play center for the Ravens. He was signed only 6 days ago. Gurode is a long time pro, but you may recall that he was not considered a cerebral center to begin with in Dallas (he's got no Pouncey mind). And the center is supposed to be the QB of the Offensive Line.
Michael Oher is also flipping from LT to RT. This should not be a big deal for him personally as he had an excellent Rookie year at RT. But this is also one more position change, one more discontinuity and one more chance for a miscommunication against the Steelers complex defense.
With the Ravens O-line given no time to jell and with questions at LT and C, the Ravens are already facing problems.
Now, their position coach will not be there to correct, adjust or applaud their play. Imagine the Steelers inserting a new starting center with 6 days of practice and a new LT with 2 weeks of practice and then imagine Sean Kugler exiled from the game. By itself, this may not be a big deal. But piled on top of their already precarious position, this could be an underrated contributor to a missed blitz-pickup here or a flattened Joe Flacco there.
Last thought: I'm going to be concerned if James Harrison doesn't have a strong game on Sunday. At the least, McKinnie seems unlikely to maintain his stamina for 60 minutes if given a constant challenge.