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Joe Flacco: Ravens' intact O-line a 'confidence-booster'

Joe Flacco's otherworldly success during last year's Super Bowl run partly was due to a reshuffled offensive line that kept him upright and safe in the pocket.

One reason to believe the Baltimore Ravens quarterback will continue his exceptional play is his team's decision to keep that group together. Re-signing veteran bookend Bryant McKinnie assures that both offensive tackle and guard spots will look the same. The only new face will come at center, where Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley will battle to replace the retired Matt Birk.

Asked if the continuity makes a difference, Flacco told The Baltimore Sun, "Yeah, it does. I think every year we've been here, we've juggled the offensive line around a pretty good amount."

Said Flacco: "I think the fact that we have a pretty good feel about who is going to be up there is definitely good for me, and the fact that they played so well together last year at the end of the season is definitely a big confidence-booster."

The Ravens' offensive front graded out as a middle-of-road operation through much of last season, but the switch was flipped when Mt. McKinnie took over at left tackle late in the year. That move allowed Michael Oher to move back to the right side (vs. The Blind Side) and kick Kelechi Osemele to left guard. The result was a late-season, hammer-dropping run game and more time for Flacco, who knew what to do with it.

A few months back, it was trendy to wonder if the Ravens had made one too many offseason moves to be considered a threat in the AFC North. Today, that sounds like crazy talk.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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