After 12 years and a list of injuries longer than one of his brave arms, we could forgive Marshal Yanda if he does not accelerate to return to the game he is abused in every corner of his box.
But here it is twice that All-Pro's guard assumes the way he feels to hit the bodies after a 2017 season in which he lost the last 14 games in an ankle injury: "I am grateful to be back and play and be Part of that, because, obviously, I was very much in the past year. I love this game. I love competing. "
Yanda moved away from football when he recovered last fall. He tried to keep up with Ravens on television a couple of times: too disturbing.
"It was hard to see. I just moved away," he said, as he pulled out a pair of headphones in the locker room this week.
On Sundays in the morning he took his family to lunch and directed his mind to other matters. The only game he attended, the loss of the team season to Cincinnati Bengals, proved to be a miserable experience.
"It was so hard to be around that environment when it's not part of it," he recalled.
At the age of 34, Yanda remains the player of a player, ready to lie to the young lanterns, worried about the narrative of the team more than the own one, still being one of the best guards of the league in spite of the diverse bad ones that overthrew throughout years
He acknowledged that he will have to evaluate his long-term future on all occasions. But for now, whenever you are in a position to play football, that's what you want to do.
Yanda has been the main source of stability for an offensive line of Ravens that is assaulted again by injuries. Starting to approach Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst, both lost the defeat of team week 9 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meanwhile, the left guard, Alex Lewis, strived to meet the high expectations of the franchise.
For one or two games at the beginning of this season, it seemed that Yanda could not recover his usual status as one of the best football lanterns. He returned not only from the broken ankle, but from a shoulder injury requiring surgery outside the season. He lost all the pre-season and it seems that he does not have his usual blast off the line. His worst performance was against the Cincinnati Bengals defensive strike, the same guy who will try to block Friday's game of victories at M & T Bank Stadium.
But as the weeks passed, Yanda's notes on the exploration website, Pro Football Focus, increased steadily. He is now classified as the fourth best guard in the league and as the best Ravens runner blocker and second best blocker of passes.
Nothing that caused a lot of buzzing, partly because he is a guardian and partially because the Ravens are so used to seeing him rebound from each reverse.
Asked if everyone is taking Yanda for granted, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said: "We do! The marshal has been playing for a long time. He is not a newcomer. He has spent a lot, he has disappeared in recent years, rehabbed very well , and I would say that yes, he is playing at his usual high standard. I'm very happy that we have there. He is a creator of differences. "
Yanda is fine with the lack of jet. You have a better chance to beat him for a bag than to get her talk about his individual performance during the season.
But colleagues always seem happy to fill the vacuum of quotas. No player in the list is more respected. And it's always interesting to talk to new rookie linemen about their experiences with the Pro Bowl six-fold selection.
"It is really well, man, "said the right first year to approach Orlando Brown Jr., who started alongside Yanda in the last three games." What a lot of people do not see is the communication and soccer awareness she brings to help me and help her play a great game. It is someone in the meeting room that we all seek to get answers. It was a big part of helping me to participate as a player. "
Brown wants to think that he will be so passionate about football in 12 years as now it is Yanda.
"You are working even more than what you did, of what I hear," said the novice. "It's somebody in this team that I think we all look up – the pro professional. He does all the right way, he never complains. Twelve years on the road? I would like to think I'll be in his shoes."
After losing Yanda and Lewis in 2017, the Ravens finally had a steady and healthy offensive line during the first weeks of this season and was shown to be the quality of their pass blockage. Yanda acknowledged that it is not fun to return to the old unstable state given the injuries to Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst.
But he offered the perspective of a veteran: "It's adversity. And obviously it's soccer and getting injured is 100 percent of the game. It's a 100 percent injuries rate, so you have to find a way to fight for That's frustrating? Yes. But there's no excuse, it's the next guy and we have to prepare for these guys to intensify and play. "
Beyond such immediate concerns, Yanda is one of several basic elements of the Ravens list that could be about to close their time in Baltimore if the team continues its slip and changes to a complete reconstruction. His contract ends after next season.
But it's not about to discuss his big picture.
"Not now, no. I'm just caring today," said Yanda. "These things, there are so many moving parts during the season and controlling what you can control [is most important]. Right now, I just concentrate on playing good football, productive football and trying not … Great things, worry about this after the season or, obviously, if we do enough and we go into the playoffs, we will toward that part. But now, all eyes are in Cincinnati, and this is where they should be. "
For the offensive line, this means a shot by channeling one of its worst performances of the season in a 34-23 loss to the Bengals. For Yanda, this is a recognition with Atkins, a player that he said has given him such a problem as any person in the sport.
"Geno does a good job of being a bullfighter, taking the inner movement, taking the outer movement; he has the three strokes as a passing rush," said Yanda, wearing the hat of his soccer doctor. "Normally, a defensive attack is very good with the bull [rush], and it is not so good with edges and a lateral speed to the side. Geno has a good mix of it all. You can run more. You can take the inner movement. He has the lateral speed and the sudden and twisted force. Then, those things, and he also does a good job of reading the player. Some young people have a head movement. Saying I'm going to make a spin move out to this guy in this upcoming move. Geno does a good job of reading what the offensive lineman is doing to him, and he takes what he gives him. "