Bobbie Williams A Bright Spot In O-Line
The veteran guard dropped 13 pounds and 'looks good' practicing with the firs-team offense.by Garrett Downing
Bobbie Williams grabbed the attention of the coaches when he showed up for the start of training camp last week.
The free-agent acquisition has dropped about 13 pounds since minicamp in June, and he was plugged in right away during practice as the starting left guard.
Williams, 6-foot-4, 345 pounds, passed the team's conditioning test "with flying colors" when he reported for camp, Head Coach John Harbaugh said. (And that's not easy to do, just ask Ryan Mink).
"Bobbie has done a great job," Harbaugh said. "He looks to be in very good shape. He looks good."
The 13-year veteran gives the Ravens a proven commodity at a position that was once considered the greatest area of concern on the line with the departure of Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs. Instead, his presence has been a breath of fresh air at a time when the team has some lingering questions surrounding the absence of left tackle Bryant McKinnie.
"He is a great asset, and he's going to be great for us at left guard," Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller said Friday.
Williams' new teammates are equally impressed by the veteran.
Michael Oher, who was recently named the left tackle until further notice, has been playing next to Williams and likes what he sees.
"Bobbie is a great guy," Oher said. "I like being on the side of him. He's physical and things like that, so I think he's a great addition to the team. I'm looking forward to playing with him this year."
Williams is the favorite to take over the left guard spot vacated by Grubbs (6-foot-3, 310 pounds), who was one of the Ravens' top offensive linemen last season.
Grubbs and Williams bring slightly different styles, but the most striking difference is the size of the linemen.
"Bobbie is a little bit bigger than Ben, a little bit taller, longer-armed and has a little bit more range," Moeller said. "I think Ben was a little bit smaller and quicker initially, but Bobbie gives us the ability to be physical on that side, and he's done well on cutting off and reaching and getting his hand outside, and he's done well. So, he gives us just a little bit more of a size presence in there at left guard."
Williams spent the last eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, starting every game that he played. An ankle injury ended his 2011 season after nine games, but he had surgery to repair the damage and has not been limited during any practices since coming to Baltimore.
The veteran primarily played right guard for the Bengals, but has said he has no problem switching sides and the coaching staff is confident he will be able to pick up the offense.
"We don't have to develop Bobbie Williams," Moeller said. "He just has to learn our system and play like he's been playing."
Garrett DowningStaff Writer