Offensive Line Rankings
One of the things we feel we do better than anyone, is assess offensive line play. We’re watching these maulers on the line getting to the second level, pancaking defensive linemen, and every so often getting beat. And we do it on every single play of every single game.
So as much as anyone can be qualified to rank offensive lines, we feel we’re up to the challenge. Thus, after seven weeks of NFL action, it’s time to unveil some offensive line rankings.
In a rather crude way we’re adding together the cumulative grades for every offensive linemen on a team to give a score for every team. With teams having played different numbers of games this number has been divided by how many games they’ve played to give an average score per game in each area.
Let’s start with the worst shall we?
(PB = Pass Block rank, RB = Run & Screen Block rank, PEN = Penalty rank)
32. Arizona Cardinals
PB = 32nd, RB = 32nd, PEN = 18th
Does this really surprise anyone? When you have two tackles giving up as much pressure as D’Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie, you’re bound to be in trouble. It hasn’t helped that they decided to invest in Adam Snyder at right guard. That move was always going to end up as subtraction by addition.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
PB = 31st, RB = 24th, PEN = 17th
What’s gone wrong with the Jags’ line? Well, outside of the excellent Eugene Monroe every player has graded out negatively. Having to use Guy Whimper on 173 snaps has hurt, but the performance of too many guys has been less than stellar.
30. Oakland Raiders
PB = 30th, RB = 28th, PEN = 14th
So how’s that zone blocking scheme coming along? The running game has been out of sync and it’s showing up when Darren McFadden gets the ball. The pass protection hasn’t been great either, with the forced use of Willie Smith proving to be a marked downgrade from Khalif Barnes.
29. St Louis Rams
PB = 29th, RB = 21st, PEN = 29th
While 29th may not seem great, when you consider the injuries this unit as overcome, it’s something of a victory. Guys who have been turnstile tackles elsewhere, Wayne Hunter and Barry Richardson, have held up reasonably well, while the worst-ranked performer (Quinn Ojinnaka) has just been let go.
28. Seattle Seahawks
PB = 27th, RB = 15th, PEN = 32nd
What’s killed the Seahawks rank? Well, the tackles giving up 17 penalties between them didn’t help. Still, at least they had the sense to get J.R. Sweezy out of the starting lineup. His early season work is still being felt in the team’s run blocking grade.
27th. Indianapolis Colts
PB = 17th, RB = 30th, PEN =23rd
Led by Winston Justice, the Colts haven’t actually done a terrible job in pass protection. Run blocking? That’s an entirely different matter, with only Anthony Castonzo and backup center A.Q. Shipley earning positive grades in this area.
26. Carolina Panthers
PB = 19th, RB = 29th, PEN = 13th
While the play-calling deserves its share of blame, the run blocking hasn’t exactly been great this year. That was especially true in the middle of the line, with Ryan Kalil not playing up to his potential before his injury and Geoff Hangartner really struggling.
25. Dallas Cowboys
PB = 24th, RB = 13th, PEN = 31st
The Cowboys’ offensive tackles were able to match the 17 penalties of the Seahawks, while also giving up 40 combined sacks, hits and hurries between them. They have been getting better as the weeks have gone on though.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
PB = 11th, RB = 31st, PEN = 27th
When you consider how they’ve been riddled with injuries this isn’t too bad. Now, if Mike Adams can continue to play the way he did against the Bengals, they’ll be moving up swiftly.
23. Miami Dolphins
PB = 14th, RB = 26th, PEN = 24th
Not quite what we’ve come to expect from the Dolphins. You can’t blame Mike Pouncey for that, he is putting forward a legitimate case for an All-Pro nod with his play.
22. Chicago Bears
PB = 25th, RB = 7th, PEN = 30th
No player sums this line up like Gabe Carimi. Excellent going forward, he’s something of a liability when he’s on his heels. All things considered, this is a big improvement from a line that was once a laughing stock.
21. San Diego Chargers
PB = 26th, RB = 20th, PEN = 3rd
There’s been too little of Jared Gaither on the field. This entire unit looks a different proposition when he’s fit and healthy. Without him, life seems a lot harder for Philip Rivers.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
PB = 28th, RB = 4th, PEN = 25th
There’s no doubt about it, the loss of Jason Peters has hit this team hard. While Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis continue to play well, the poor form of Danny Watkins, coupled with injuries, has seen a major drop off from 2011.
19. Tennessee Titans
PB = 18th, RB = 16th, PEN = 28th
They’ve come good recently with their tackles particularly impressive. Indeed, Michael Roos seems some way back to his best and he hasn’t even been 100%. The interior isn’t going to scare anyone, with the guards particularly disappointing.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PB = 13th, RB = 22nd, PEN = 22nd
As expected the left side of the line is doing a fine job, but they’ve missed Davin Joseph. Not because Joseph is anywhere near the player some make him out to be, but because the guys behind him have been so bad.
17. Green Bay Packers
PB = 7th, RB = 27th, PEN = 16th
A somewhat shaky start to the year for Green Bay who are definitely worse off for replacing Scott Wells with Jeff Saturday. On the plus side, Marshall Newhouse has taken a step forward and Bryan Bulaga is looking like his 2011 self.
Turn the page for 16-1
16. New York Jets
PB = 20th, RB = 17th, PEN = 8th
Sorry to say it Jets fans, but you guys were spoiled. In the glory days when Damien Woody was manning the right tackle spot you had the best line in the league by a distance. Now it’s dropped off so much it may seem like it’s terrible, but it’s merely average. Guys like Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson are still among the best at their position.
15. Washington Redskins
PB = 12th, RB = 23rd, PEN = 11th
This line would be a lot higher if not for Tyler Polumbus bringing them down. As it is, Trent Williams is playing as well as any tackle in the league right now, while Chris Chester has taken a huge step forward from the horror show that was his 2011. Getting better.
14. New York Giants
PB = 21st, RB = 8th, PEN = 15th
What a difference losing one player can make. David Diehl, or ‘The Turnstile’ as some would have him be known, went out injured and since then they’ve looked like a different unit. Big step forward after the mess that was 2011.
13. Houston Texans
PB = 15th, RB = 19th, PEN = 5th
Not many teams can lose two starters and not suffer a drop off. The Texans are living proof of that, with new starters Derek Newton and Antoine Caldwell struggling. The fact they’re in a rotation should tell you all you need to know.
12. Atlanta Falcons
PB = 22nd, RB = 9th, PEN = 2nd
They haven’t made life easy for Matt Ryan, but their discipline has been a big part of not putting the offense in unfavorable situations. While no one has stood out, the entire line has graded positively. Solid.
11. Baltimore Ravens
PB = 23rd, RB = 2nd, PEN =19th
They can thank Marshal Yanda, the leagues’ best guard so far, for being this high up. While the rest of the team has struggled with their pass blocking he’s excelled, and been at his mauling best in the run game to boot.
10. Cleveland Browns
PB = 9th, RB = 11th, PEN = 21st
While Mitchell Schwartz has been up and down on a week to week basis, the solid play of Alex Mack and Joe Thomas has been evident for all to see. What’s more of a surprise is just how good John Greco has looked since stepping into the lineup. Two team-of-the-week performances in a row.
9. Buffalo Bills
PB = 4th, RB = 18th, PEN = 20th
They’re a worse team for not being able to call upon rookie Cordy Glenn every week, but they do a good job in keeping pressure off Ryan Fitzpatrick (he doesn’t need any assistance making mistakes). The run blocking is a little “meh”, with the team taking the approach that Spiller and Jackson will get yards regardless of what they do.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
PB = 1st, RB = 25th, PEN = 10th
How much better would this line have been if Kyle Cook wasn’t on injured reserve? His replacement Jeff Faine is our lowest-rated center on the year so far. Everyone else on the line? Ranked in the top six at their position.
7. New England Patriots
PB = 16th, RB = 3rd, PEN = 1st
Even with Logan Mankins at less than 100% the line has still come together to play well, with nobody more so than Sebastian Vollmer. Special credit goes to the run blocking of Ryan Wendell and how Nate Solder has held up at left tackle.
6. Denver Broncos
PB = 3rd, RB = 14th, PEN = 26th
You think the line prefers blocking for Peyton Manning than Tim Tebow? Ryan Clady is having a career year (just in time for contract negotiations), though the loss of J.D. Walton will have been a bitter disappointment with his play really picking up.
5. Detroit Lions
PB = 5th, RB = 12th, PEN = 6th
It would be easy to blame the line for the Lions’ problems, but they’re winning their battles and giving their quarterback more than enough time to throw.
4. New Orleans
PB = 6th, RB = 6th, PEN = 4th
They’ve lost Carl Nicks, and Jermon Bushrod started the season playing like a man who hated Drew Brees. Even though it’s taken time, they’ve found their rhythm recently and it’s coincided with some wins.
3. Minnesota Vikings
PB = 8th, RB = 5th, PEN = 7th
Matt Kalil has been as advertised and has yet to give up a sack in the NFL. The star though, is none other than John Sullivan who is proving 2011 was no fluke.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
PB = 2nd, RB = 10th, PEN = 9th
You can’t blame the Chiefs struggles on their offensive line. Branden Albert has given up just eight quarterback disruptions all year, Ryan Lilja (who was playing well at LG) looks like a natural at center, while Eric Winston and Jon Asamoah have formed a handy combination. The quarterback situation is killing this team.
1. San Francisco 49ers
PB = 10th, RB = 1st, PEN = 12th
The 49ers’ offensive line has a run blocking score over three times greater than the next highest. They have four men on our NFC Pro Bowl squad after seven weeks. They are, for want of a better word, awesome.
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