OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ja’Wuan James has moved from right tackle to left tackle to back up Ronnie Stanley, who is on the PUP list with an ankle injury.
It's not an easy adjustment.
James hasn't played on the left side since high school and described the transition as “trying to wipe your butt with your other hand.”
Coach John Harbaugh is happy with his progress.
"Ja’Wuan [James], as you know, has been a right tackle," Harbaugh said. "He switched to left tackle throughout the camp, but with Ronnie [Stanley] not practicing, we have quite a few right tackles. We need a left tackle, and for him to go over there and do that, and do a good job, is really important. I can’t wait to see him in the game.
"He hasn’t played football for a while, so to see him out there with the physicality is going to be really important. But, really important for him to get back at it.”
James was originally selected by the Miami Dolphins in the first round (19th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.
He spent the entire 2021 season at the Ravens practice facility rehabbing from an Achilles injury suffered while under contract with Denver during the offseason.
"When I signed here, that’s what they talked about – getting the chance to come in, build some camaraderie with the O-line, learn some of the plays ahead of time, so when we got to this phase, it wouldn’t be like I was a fresh face or just [starting] to get to know the guys [and] getting to know the plays,” James said.
James allowed only 14 sacks since the start of the 2015 season — 49 starts at right tackle, according to STATSPASS LLC.
Now, he's getting acclimated to a new position and might be the starter if Stanley is not ready for the opener against the Jets.
“Man, it’s definitely been a challenge, it’s definitely been a challenge," James said. "I’m not going to lie, it was frustrating in the spring, just because – like you said – coming back for the first time in years, I wanted to be at my best. This is a new challenge, but I’m definitely embracing it. It’s an opportunity. It’s going to be work every day, so I’m just going to continue to work at it, continue to try to get better, and stack days.”