Offensive Line Rankings: Week 10 Update

| November 13, 2012

Offensive line play is more than just about how many sacks a team gives up or how many yards they run for. Numbers can add something to an argument but they don’t make it.

In discussions with front office officials from around the league we’re agreed on that. It’s why we think our analysis of offensive line play trumps anything else out there. We’re accounting for the skill position players and it’s reflected in our grading that comes from watching every player on every play of every game.

It’s why we’re confident updating our Week 10 Offensive Line rankings.

As ever it’s a rather crude way of doing them. We add up the scores from every lineman that has played this year then divide it by the number of games played so we get an average score. Then we rank away, dividing into three categories (run and screen blocking are combined) before giving an overall score. Previous position is in brackets.

32. Arizona Cardinals (32nd)

PB = 32nd, RB = 32nd and PEN = 21st

Things haven’t got much better for the Cardinals, who by some distance still have the worst offensive line in the league. Nate Potter got some action and it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of him as D’Anthony Batiste is still our worst-ranked tackle in the league by some distance. How this line remains such a mess is inexcusable.

31. Carolina Panthers (26th)

PB = 25th, RB = 31st and PEN = 16th

A big drop for the Panthers with the performance of Amini Silatolu over the past few weeks being a key factor. His abuse at the hands of the Bears will live long in the memory. With Ryan Kalil down, only Jordan Gross is making life any easier on the players around him.

30. St Louis Rams (29th)

PB = 31st, RB = 19th and PEN = 28th

A one-spot drop for the Rams, who have done a reasonable job contending with a variety of injuries. The good news is Rodger Saffold is back and more than held his own against the 49ers’ fearsome Smith Connection. The bad news? Outside of him and Harvey Dahl, every one of them has graded negatively. The general feeling though is it could be a lot worse.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (31st)

PB = 29th, RB = 29th and PEN = 15th

A two-spot move for the Jaguars and a lot of it comes down to the play of Cameron Bradfield, who is much improved over his last three games. The partnership he and Uche Nwaneri have promises to push this unit up higher, although the struggles of Mike Brewster are a continual source of disappointment. Sometimes you lose something in the short term when you’re getting a guy ready to be a long-term contributor.

28.  Oakland Raiders (30th)

PB = 22nd, RB = 30th and PEN = 25th 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Raiders implementation of a zone-blocking scheme hasn’t gone exactly to plan. Nor does it take a genius to realize that the more they play Willie Smith, the lower their pass blocking grade as a unit will be. That said they’ll be encouraged with left tackle Jared Veldheer and his work in pass protection.

27. Chicago Bears (22nd)

PB = 27th, RB = 14th and PEN = 32nd 

A big drop for the Bears as they continue to be a unit who can get the job done with their run blocking, but struggle mightily in pass protection. So far they’ve only got one player graded in the green, and that welcome surprise is J’Marcus Webb. It stands to reason that Gabe Carimi highlights the strengths and weaknesses of this unit. He is our second-ranked tackle in run blocking and fifth-lowest in pass protection.

26. Indianapolis Colts (27th)

PB = 26th, RB = 22nd and PEN = 18th 

It’s a better line than we’ve come to expect from Indianapolis but it’s not without its flaws. Anthony Castonzo is a left tackle who gives up too much pressure and you never know what to expect out of the guys in the interior. Capable of making a play or getting beat, each snap is a roller coaster.

25. Seattle Seahawks (28th)

PB = 21st, RB = 17th and PEN = 31st 

Penalties have been a big problem for the Seahawks, though it would be foolish to write this without mentioning how they’ve improved as the season goes on. With Russell Wilson holding onto the ball for so long they have a tougher job than most, but with a more settled lineup, are upward trending.

24. Miami Dolphins (23rd)

PB = 14th, RB = 27th and PEN = 29th  

Whatever they might say, we’re used to seeing the Dolphins line run block a lot better than this. Mike Pouncey is emerging as the star of this unit, which is good considering the contract of Jake Long is up at the end of the year. He’s not helping negotiations right now with his play.

23. San Diego Chargers (21st)

PB = 30th, RB = 11th and PEN = 6th 

I’m confident saying this line would be a heck of a lot better if Jared Gaither didn’t have those chronic back problems. As it is, undrafted free agent Mike Harris has been forced to play far more than a man at his stage of development should. He’s responsible for their pass protection problems in a big way, and it’s overshadowing a much improved year from Jeromey Clary.

22. Dallas Cowboys (25th)

PB = 23rd, RB = 7th and PEN = 30th  

They give up too many penalties and too much pressure, but this is a line that can maul in the run game. That’s their strength and they really do a good job of putting running backs in position to make plays. Still 20 combined penalties between your starting tackles is poor.

Turn the page for the continued countdown to our top ranked offensive line.

Pages: 1 2 3

  • SC

    Why do I get the feeling that most comments are going to be about how my favorite team’s line is overrated-here.

  • Shaun

    based on your numbers how in the world are the Broncos rated higher than the Patriots?!?!

    • Zach

      If I were to guess, it would have to do with the fact that the patriots’ pass block is mediocre despite having a quarterback who holds onto the ball less than almost anyone else.

      • Lund

        Solder and Vollmer are two brick walls, those guys were stout against the Seahawks and the Rams. Broncos run game is miserable at best

    • Joe

      having the best pass blocking line in the nfl weighs more heavily than having the 3rd best run block and a far below average pass block like that of the patriots

  • Shaun

    And how in the world does Detroit all of a sudden have a good line?!?!

  • lightsout85

    The Gaither/Mike Harris “issue” also shows how much whole-line play is important. Even though Gaither’s not playing great in the pass-pro game, at least his mistakes happen when he’s working solo. Harris requires so much help & other people’s attention, it makes the whole line worse. A few weeks ago I compared team PBE #s in Gaither games & Harris games, the Gaither ones were so much better it wasn’t funny. That guy needs to get healthy & get his butt on the field.

  • http://twitter.com/Ben24626 Ben Fitzgerald

    How in the world do you not hate the Cowboys run blocking?

    • catch22

      The notion that the Cowboys OL “do(es) a good job of putting running backs in position to make plays” is so utterly ludicrous that one has to question the validity of any of these rankings.

  • birdofprey

    Whoever rated Seattles O-line at 25th knows nothing of football. One of the best O-line’s in football today. LT Okung no sacks, Moffit – No sacks. Unger – top 3 Center in football, RT Breno, creates some of the biggest holes for Lynch in zone blocking. Top 3 rushing team and allowed 27-28 sacks on the year.

  • thebirdofprey

    Seattle just dominated 49ers for 42 points last night. They created 11 yards per carry the two games prior and helped put up 50 plus games back to back.