OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Over the past four years, there have been two teams who've had both of their guards reach the Pro Bowl.
Could the Baltimore Ravens be the next one?
Right guard Marshal Yanda has gone to the Pro Bowl for the past three seasons, and left guard Kelechi Osemele has been one of the standout players this offseason for the Ravens. Osemele acknowledged that reaching his first Pro Bowl has been on his mind.
"I think about it daily," Osemele said. "That's something that wakes me up in the morning and gets me going. It's my personal motivation to come out here every day and grind and get after it and get better. It's one of those things where it's a carrot right out in front of you. You set goals and aim and go after it."
The Ravens made changes to the offensive line that struggled for most of last season. They traded for center Jeremy Zuttah, and they promoted Rick Wagner to starting right tackle.
The biggest improvement on the line has been getting back Osemele, a second-round pick who had started the first 23 games of his career before getting injured. He missed the final nine games last season after having back surgery.
Osemele has been as impressive as any Ravens lineman in making the transition to Gary Kubiak's zone blocking scheme. The renewed emphasis of running the ball suits what Osemele does best.
"That's what I like about it the most," Osemele said. "I feel like, as an offensive line, it's good to set the tone early and come off the ball, knock guys off the ball, assert your dominance, and, obviously, the play-action off of that and the passes off that [are important, too]. With the linebackers getting up in there, you have early success with the run game. I'm really confident."
In 2011 and 2012, the New Orleans Saints had both of their guards (Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks) make the Pro Bowl. The New England Patriots did the same in 2012 with Logan Mankins and Brian Waters. Last season, the Saints again sent both of their guards to the Pro Bowl (Evans and Ben Grubbs).
The Ravens could join those teams if Osemele lives up to the high expectations he has set for himself.