Ravens vs. Steelers Key Players: Eugene Monroe/James Hurst

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Byline MattIt’s not like left tackle was a premiere position for the Ravens before Monroe went down with an ankle injury a few weeks ago. However, throwing an undrafted rookie like James Hurst into the most important position on the offensive line in a playoff game isn’t the ideal solution, either.

If Monroe, who ranked 119th among linemen according to Pro Football Focus, plays, he’ll need to step up his game. He was called for nine penalties, allowing three sacks and four quarterback hurries this season.

That can’t happen. Monroe or Hurst, who ranks 137th in that same category, will need to contain the likes of James Harrison, Jason Worilds and Lawrence Timmons. Joe Flacco has shown over the past few weeks that he struggles against strong pass rushes, so the stronger Hurst or Monroe will be, the easier Flacco’s job will be.

The whole offensive line needs a strong game, but the focal point will be whoever starts at left tackle.


What to do without Nelson Cruz

Tyler's BylineNelson Cruz signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Mariners on Monday, which ends his time as an Oriole.

Cruz quickly became a fan favorite for Oriole fans, as his mammoth home runs led to a league-leading total of 40 for the season and helped propel the Orioles into the playoffs. He also hit .271 on the year, which was his second best batting average in his 10-year career.

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