Yanda finds ways to dom­i­nate while in­jured

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would look up to just in terms of the to­tal pack­age,” Har­baugh said. “The abil­ity to do what he did, the will­ing­ness to do it and then to be able to pull it off, it’s pretty re­mark­able.”

Yanda has served as a model of pro­fes­sion­al­ism for an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of Ravens of­fen­sive line­men.

“As soon as I came here, I knew one of the guys I’d be look­ing up to was Mar­shal,” said left tackle Ron­nie Stan­ley, the team’s No. 1 draft pick. “He’s ev­ery­thing I ex­pected him to be and more. Great team­mate, great leader, re­ally un­der­stands the game with­out tak­ing it too se­ri­ously. If coaches are do­ing some­thing he doesn’t think is use­ful to play­ers, he’ll say some­thing. He’s kind of a play­ers’ leader. He’s al­ways fight­ing for us, and out on the field, he’s al­ways fight­ing.”

Yanda hurt his shoul­der some­time dur­ing the Ravens’ Week 5 loss to the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins. The stoic All-Pro didn’t come out of the game, so many were sur­prised when he ap­peared on the team’s in­jury re­port the fol­low­ing week.

He missed three of the next four games, fu­el­ing con­cerns that his shoul­der might be wrecked enough to cost him the rest of the sea­son.

Leave it to Yanda, how­ever, to find a way to keep play­ing.

In the Ravens’ 27-17 loss to the Dal­las Cow­boys, he did not merely grit his way through a so-so per­for­mance. He graded as the best guard in the league, ac­cord­ing to the scout­ing web­site Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

He was flaw­less in pass pro­tec­tion, a ma­jor rea­son quar­ter­back Joe Flacco took just three hits all game. And he was the key blocker on the Ravens’ first scor­ing drive, which fea­tured runs of 20, 16 and 18 yards.

Af­ter run­ning back Ter­rance West (Tow­son Univer­sity, North­west­ern High) pow­ered across the goal line, Yanda sprinted to meet him in the end zone, where he wrapped West in a hug.

The last thing he looked like was some­one with an in­jured shoul­der.

Of course, we’ve seen this be­fore. Yanda played with a torn ro­ta­tor cuff dur­ing the team’s run to Su­per Bowl XLVII, post­pon­ing surgery un­til five days af­ter the Ravens beat the San Fran­cisco 49ers.

As a rookie, he fa­mously took two jolts from a stun gun to win a $600 bet. Eas­i­est money he’d ever made, the Iowa farm boy de­clared.

Yanda, 32, has ac­cepted pain as an in­her­ent part of the job ever since he blew out his knee five games into his sec­ond sea­son.

“You have to un­der­stand, it’s not if you’re go­ing to get hurt. It’s when,” he said in 2014.

It’s an out­look he shares with line­backer Ter­rell Suggs, one of only two play­ers who have been on the Ravens longer than Yanda.

“That’s kind of the men­tal­ity, for some of us,” said Suggs, who’s play­ing with a torn bi­ceps. “It’s the cost of do­ing busi­ness. That’s the only way Mar­shal knows to play. We all be get­ting banged up, and Mar­shal’s go­ing to be out there. It’s good to see your bell cow out there, def­i­nitely.”

Yanda has never been the most talk­a­tive Raven, and he po­litely de­clined an interview re­quest Wed­nes­day.

But his team­mates are happy to fill in the blanks on one of the most re­spected play­ers in the locker room.

“I asked him when was the last time he was on the left side, and I for­get what he told me, but it wasn’t any time close to now,” Flacco said. “So it’s def­i­nitely im­pres­sive what he does, week in and week out.

He re­called Yanda was “pretty down” a few weeks ago when his sea­son ap­peared to be in jeop­ardy. But when Flacco showed up for work last week, he no­ticed “an ex­tra pep” in Yanda’s step.

“Then he broke it to me he was go­ing to try to play the left side,” Flacco said. “Ob­vi­ously, I love that.”

Har­baugh is no longer sur­prised by Yanda’s adapt­abil­ity. He has shifted him to tackle sev­eral times over the years to cover for in­juries to other play­ers. But the right-to-left flip re­vealed an­other layer of ver­sa­til­ity.

“I don’t know if it’s quite as dras­tic as this, but in some ways, it’s like you’re a lefty all of those years, and now, you have to go over to the right of the plate and hit,” Har­baugh said. “You have your other hand down. You have your other foot back and ev­ery­thing is back­wards; you’re set­ting to the left in­stead of to the right. All the plays are flipped. I think for him to do it … I was weary of it early in the week. I was just watch­ing him in in­di­vid­ual and see­ing how he moved, but he did look nat­u­ral do­ing it. It just shows you what a phe­nom­e­nal ath­lete he is and how de­ter­mined he is and re­ally what a good foot­ball player he is.”

Stan­ley made the switch from right tackle to left tackle over an en­tire off­sea­son in col­lege and said it’s no small thing to re­set your mus­cle mem­ory.

“That’s the hard­est part, is just get­ting your body parts to re­act the same way,” Stan­ley said. “Of­fen­sive line isn’t a nor­mal body po­si­tion for hu­mans to be in, so to al­ter that af­ter you’ve been prac­tic­ing your legs to move a cer­tain way for so long, it doesn’t just come nat­u­rally. It’s def­i­nitely a big feat.”

Stan­ley was im­pressed with the way Yanda car­ried it off against the Cow­boys.

“But for Mar­shal,” he said, “it’s prob­a­bly just nor­mal.”


Play­ing left guard last week for the first time in the NFL, Mar­shal Yanda graded as the best guard in the league, ac­cord­ing to the scout­ing web­site Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

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