Gurode Excels In Start At Guard

Andre Gurode had never played left guard before, but impressed in pass blocking.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 3 at Rams

Andre Gurode had won five Pro Bowls at center, but never played left guard before.

He had very limited action at right guard long ago, but that didn’t help too much. Gurode said going to the left side is like writing with the opposite hand.

If a casual onlooker hadn’t known that, however, they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell by watching Sunday’s game in St. Louis.

The 10-year veteran excelled in his first start, filling in for the injured Ben Grubbs (toe) and taking over for Mark LeVoir.

“I thought it went pretty well,” Gurode modestly said. “There were some things I messed up on, but overall, it was a good day.”

Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked just twice in 48 drop backs, and both were more coverage sacks than a breakdown in protection. The line protected Flacco well enough for him to notch a career-best 389 passing yards and take numerous deep shots.

The Ravens also piled up 168 rushing yards, thanks in part to a high-octane passing attack that loosened a Rams’ defense that was originally stacking the box.

Last week, the Titans defense sacked Flacco three times and held the Ravens to 45 rushing yards.

“The pass protection really looked good with [Gurode] in there,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s a credit to the communication with Matt [Birk] and Bryant [McKinnie]. I’m really impressed with that.”

The blocking angles changed for Gurode in moving from center, which he worked on diligently throughout the week.

Coaches said they would base who played between Gurode and LeVoir (who had a head start in his transition from tackle to guard) on who progressed the most in practice.

“After a week of doing it, I felt more comfortable,” Gurode said. “But it’s a practice-by-practice, game-by-game thing and I’ve still got to work at it.”

The Ravens’ offensive line still hasn’t had the same five lineman start in back-to-back games yet. There’s no indication of when Grubbs will be able to return, so Gurode could have more starts ahead.

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