Here we are, the final offensive line news and rankings article of the 2017 season. Some sources don't have resources assigned to offensive line coverage. Good thing for everyone that FBG readers demand it.
Without further ado, it's the bitter end. The freezing temperatures, the big men, week 17's #offensiveline...
Let's get after it!
CAR + 14
Right guard Trai Turner missed two weeks while in the league's concussion protocol. It was good news as Turner returned to practice in a limited fashion this week. Signs appear to Turner starting in the crucial game at Atlanta. For those VIP types who roll heavy, please note this upgrade is an assumption based on Turner's status, be sure to check for news that Turner cleared protocol around Saturday night or Sunday inactive list. Amini Silatolu did a good jow two weeks ago but the offense could have used Turner last week. On a side note, while most of the east coast games this weekend will be played in a bitter cold, the Panthers' offense will have the benefit of the cozy dome. With ideal weather conditions and their best lineman returning to action, Carolina's line rises to the top-tier as the regular season comes to a close.
MIN - 4
Left guard Nick Easton was placed on injured reserve this week after suffering a fractured leg early in last week's win at Green Bay. Jeremiah Sirles stepped in and played 53 total snaps on the evening. Sirles is a better specimen than Easton but the starter has been a dynamic blocker all season. Easton converted from center after battling rookie Pat Elfein to a draw in the preseason. While Easton was a nice find for the Vikings' staff, he was holding back the dogs by keeping his job as long as he did. The franchise migh tbe eager to see what Sirles and Danny Isadora can do. The team did not add any offensive linemen to the roster. This is a minor loss for the Vikings' running attack, who remain a top-tier unit this weekend as they host Chicago in the season finale.
Left guard Brian Winters has been battling an abdominal issue since mid season. Brandon Shell was concussed making a tackle on an Hail-Mary interception scramble at the end of the first half. Dakota Dozier and Brent Qvale are the replacements and these players are run heavy types. However they are vulnerable to both pass rushers and penalties. Look for the New England Patriots to exploit both weaknesses as the Vegas Super Bowl favorites host the Jets in 14 degree weather this weekend at Foxborough. The Jets' offensive line actually has some talent at the left side; Kelvin Beachum is about average and James Carpenter is the best of the group. But the center, right guard and right tackle positions are a free for all. Center Wesley Johnson lost his job due to injury/performance to Jonotthan Harrison. Harrison led the way on Bilal Powell's 57 yard touchdown last week. But he was also bulled over in pass protection on several occasions. This squad checks in as a low-tier option
LAR - 25
The Los Angeles Rams will either be the 3rd or 4th seed in the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of their game against San Francisco. The coaching staff has hinted that veterans such as left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan will not play in the contest. Sullivan needs the week to rest as he is listed as questionable. It seems likely that Austin Blythe will get most of the reps at the pivot. For Whitworth, Andrew Donnal should get his first start since Week 17 of last year. For those who care about the Rams' offensive line in the playoffs, this line will presumably be back in top-tier form in a couple weeks. For week 17 it checks in as a shabby unit.
IND - 8
Right tackle Denzelle Good was forced from the contest against Denver two weeks ago with a knee injury and his status does not look promising for this weekend's game against Houston. Good, who was activated off the injured reserve list earlier this season, did not practice on Wednesday. The replacement lineup had Joe Haeg sliding out to tackle while Kyle Kalis stepping in at right guard. Haeg is a good player but is overmatched in that tackle situation, as evidenced by the blocked field goal against Baltimore. The Colts' line can actually be decent next season, assuming Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly return to health. For now they are a low-tier unit.
HOU - 1
Second year center Nick Martin was placed on the injured reserve list last week with an ankle injury. That injury was operated upon this week and Martin is expected to be back for next season. The team might have some concern about Martin's durability as, even though it is week 17, technically this is the second season he ended on the injured reserve list. Beyond Martin, the Texans' offensive line have been truly unfortunate with injuries this season. If only they could test at the combine for luck. Greg Mancz steps in at the center spot.
|4||CAR||18||14||29.85||A||A+||A-||RG Turner returns.|
|5||JAX||4||-1||29.28||A||A+||B+||LT Robinson (Wells).|
|9||MIN||5||-4||29.08||A-||A||B+||LG Easton to IR (Sirles).|
|11||NO||11||0||29.03||B+||B+||B+||LT Armstead (Peat).|
|19||CHI||22||3||28.15||C+||B-||C||LG Sitton (Sowell).|
|20||WAS||23||3||27.93||C+||B-||C||LT Williams (Nsekhe).|
|LOW TIER||22||CIN||25||3||27.9||C||C+||C-||LT Ogbuehi (Winston).|
|23||GB||26||3||27.85||C||C+||C-||RG Evans (John).|
|25||AZ||28||3||27.83||C||C-||C+||RG Watford (Boehm).|
|27||NYJ||17||-10||27.73||C-||C||D||RG Winters (Dozier) & RT Shell (Qvale).|
|28||IND||20||-8||27.7||C-||C-||C-||RT Good (Haeg).|
|30||DET||32||2||27.23||D+||D+||D||RG Lang, C Swanson & RT Wagner doubtful.|
|31||LAR||6||-25||27.03||D+||D+||D||LT Whitworth and C Sullivan to rest.|
|32||HOU||31||-1||26.6||D||D+||D-||C Martin to IR (Mancz).|
If there are any questions about a team or lineman not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact me via Twitter.