As big a story as any concerning the Baltimore Ravens’ four-game march through the NFL postseason to a Super Bowl title was the way its offensive line was so efficient.
Rookie Kelechi Osemele of Iowa State had played 16 games at right tackle, but was shifted to left guard in the playoffs when starter Jah Reid was out with a toe injury.
In fact, center Matt Birk and right guard Marshal Yanda of Iowa were the only two Ravens offensive linemen to keep their same starting position once the postseason started. Yanda, named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl team for the second-straight year, probably had to play a little better than normal because of all the switching.
Osemele was no slouch. Monday, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King gave Osemele this tout:
Dr. Z Unsung Man in the Trenches of the Week
The award for the offensive lineman who was the biggest factor for his team in the weekend’s games, named for my friend Paul Zimmerman, the longtime SI football writer struggling in New Jersey to recover from three strokes suffered in November 2008. Zim, a former collegiate offensive lineman himself, loved watching offensive line play.
Kelechi Osemele, left guard, Baltimore. Osemele performed very well against Justin Smith, and when Smith wasn’t over him, he held out the other interior rush men for the Niners. Once, he crushed Ricky Jean-Francois trying to storm into the backfield.
Baltimore safety Sean Considine was a valued special-teams player this season. He had more special-teams tackles than anyone for the Ravens in their three AFC playoff wins.
This was his eighth year in the league. He has had injuries. He is on his fifth NFL team. He was cut by the Carolina Panthers in the middle of the 2011 season.
But now he’ll have a Super Bowl ring.
This was someone who came to Iowa from Byron, Ill., as a walk-on in 2000. In August 2002 before Considine’s sophomore season, he said this:
“All I’ve been looking for since I’ve stepped foot here are opportunities.”
He got them. He used them. He had 157 tackles, six interceptions, five blocked kicks, four fumble-returns. He earned the Hawkeyes’ Hustle Award three years in a row. He got drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.
He’s going to have a Super Bowl ring.
Considine provided some insights to the Rockford Register Star during Super Bowl week. Here is his “diary” from Media Day.
Funny how fortunes change. In 2001, Iowa beat Kent State, 51-0. Kent State’s head coach was Dean Pees, whose 6-year record there was 17-51.
The defensive coordinator of the world-champion Baltimore Ravens is … Dean Pees.
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