The Baltimore Ravens offensive line may possibly take a hit on September 9; according to Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun, perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden could possibly not participate in the Ravens’ season opener at Cincinnati. Ogden told the Sun yesterday, “My goal is to get out there for Week 1. It’s still too soon to really say with any certainty that it’s going to happen.”
Currently, Ogden is on the “physically unable to perform” (PUP) list; that being the case, assuming Ogden can not play week one, rookie OT Jared Gaither would probably be the prime replacement. Ogden, for the most part, has been conservative on keeping his injured toe as healthy as possible. His injury dates back to December 17, 2006, when he hyperextended his big toe on his left foot against the Cleveland Browns, missing the remaining two games of the 2006 season. He further aggravated the toe in their playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts; the injury did not require surgery but was told that he would need 4-6 months to fully recover.
By all indicators, both in training camp and team meetings, Ogden’s toe is gradually getting better. The Ravens will probably leave it up to Ogden as to whether he plays against the Atlanta Falcons in their preseason finale on Friday. A healthy Jonathan Ogden will only help the Ravens in their quest for another AFC North title and beyond. This is not a knock against Gaither – he has acquitted himself very well in Ogden’s place so far this preseason – but this is Jonathan Ogden we’re talking about here. If – and this is a big if – Ogden is out for even a small amount of the 2007 season, the Ravens will struggle early. As the team’s running game goes, so do the Ravens. The defense cannot carry them alone and I doubt that quarterback Steve McNair can pull off miracles like he did when he played for the Tennessee Titans.