No more drama for Ravens on blind side

When the Baltimore Ravens traded for left tackle Eugene Monroe in October, they improved the protection for quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side. The team also added some peace of mind.

For the first time in three years, the Ravens don't have to worry about what shape their left tackle will report in. Monroe is one of the Ravens' best-conditioned athletes because he takes so much pride in his regimen.

He swims, does yoga and watches what he eats. After the Ravens' final workout last month, Monroe remained in Baltimore to train at the Ravens' facility. When he went on vacation with his family last week, he still carved out time to work out.

"It really doesn't take much to get up 1½ to two hours early and get some work in," Monroe said. "By the time I'm done training, they'll still be sleeping. We can still enjoy our time together."

Monroe vacationed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but you wouldn't know it from his Twitter account. His only pictures from Mexico aren't of the beach. They show the athletes he worked out with.

This is much different from former Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie, whose Twitter feed documented his busy party calendar. The frustrating part for the Ravens came at the start of training camp.

In 2012, McKinnie skipped the first three practices of training camp because he said he fell and injured his back at his Miami home. In 2013, the Ravens held him out for the first day of camp because McKinnie was overweight.

There are no such concerns with Monroe. In fact, coach John Harbaugh went out of his way to applaud Monroe and left guard Kelechi Osemele during the offseason.

"Those guys, they’re looking very good, and they’ve been working really hard," Harbaugh said. "If you see these guys on their own, you see these guys early, late, you’re probably going to see these two guys in the weight room or the meeting room working, and they’ve done a great job."

With McKinnie, the Ravens gave him a target weight of 346 pounds. With Monroe, there's a good chance that he will report a few pounds under 300.

"You do need the time away, without a doubt," Monroe said. "The season is a long stretch, especially if you're a starter who is going to be playing every down. You have to know yourself and your own body. I put in the work that I need to be able to perform."