John Matsko’s history developing offensive linemen bodes well for Redskins
Matsko’s work with the Ravens
One of the most notable stints of Matsko’s career came when he spent four years with the Baltimore Ravens. From 2008 to 2011, Matsko worked on John Harbaugh’s staff as the Ravens’ offensive line coach and did a good job in building strong blocking units that helped the team find success.
Matsko had a lot of talent to work with in Baltimore. Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda, two stellar guards, were selected in the first and third rounds of the 2007 NFL Draft. The duo were rookies when Matsko arrived and he helped to shape them into top-caliber guards.
Yanda notably benefitted from his tutelage. While the future Hall of Famer wasn’t a primary starter in his first two years under Matsko, he eventually cracked the starting lineup as the team’s right tackle in 2010. But Matsko had enough foresight to see that Yanda could be an elite guard instead of a solid tackle. So, he kicked him inside and the Iowa product went on to make eight Pro Bowls and two All-Pro first teams over the course of his career.
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Elsewhere on the line, Matsko helped to successfully develop tackles like Jared Gaither and Michael Oher. Gaither was on pace to be a solid starter at left tackle before a back injury derailed his career. Matsko saw his talent and helped him tap into it before the injuries struck.
Meanwhile, Oher had his best years in Baltimore and while he never became the proverbial “Blind Side” blocker the Ravens were hoping he would, Matsko flipped him between the right and left tackle spots during their three years together. He knew Oher could play either spot so depending on who his partner was — Gaither or Bryant McKinnie — Matsko would move Oher accordingly. And he truly maximized Oher’s skill set better than any other O-Line coach during the Ole Miss product’s career.
Matsko’s time in Baltimore showcased that he believed in players being versatile and being able to man several positions. He was never afraid to shake things up to find the best five-man unit he could field. That’s something that will be valuable for the Redskins during his time in Washington, especially given how well Matsko has identified unheralded linemen in the past.