With four weeks in the books and the first (scheduled) bye weeks, the rankings look different than where we started in week one. Injuries have had a tremendous impact and the lines that have stayed healthy have been rewarded in the rankings. Week 5, the big men. Let's get after it.
CHI + 4
The quarterback situation has overshadowed a hard working and talented Chicago offensive line. For the first time this season the Bears' interior matched as they drew it up on paper. Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long were on the field all healthy and it's a fearsome lineup. Whitehair needs to improve his shotgun snaps but that will come with familiarity. The group gets excellent push on rushing downs. Charles Leno Jr. has quietly become one of the league's better left tackle starters. With the return of Sitton the Bears' line climbs even higher into the top-tier.
Last week a reader Joe M. contacted on Twitter, claiming that the Rams' offensive line ranking was low. Joe M. believed that the pass blocking grade was inaccurate because the Rams had not given up many sacks.To clarify last week's ranking, center John Sullivan was not in last week's rankings and that hurt the grade (turns out Sullivan played on Sunday). Also, as Cleveland Browns fans will attest, sacks can be as much a quarterback and play calling stat as it is an offensive line stat.
But long story short, Joe M. was right. The Rams' line has been among the better units this year and underrated. It was a rough preseason with the shuffle of RG and RT, and the vets on the left Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan need to stay healthy. But yeah, welcome to the top-tier Rams. And thanks Joe M. for the feedback. It's no wonder that FBG readers are consistently the most informed.
This is a contrary opinion, considering how long Duane Brown has been holdingout. Still, left tackle Chris Clark had an outstanding game in the lopsided Week 4 win over Tennessee. Center Nick Martin has played like an extra first round pick in his return from the injury that wiped out his rookie year. Right guard Jeff Allen has struggled through an ankle sprain but he might get a rest with Greg Mancz returning to health. The Texans' line is still below average but they grade out as a mid-tier unit in the current rankings.
On quarterback Andy Dalton's first pass attempt, right tackle Jake Fisher allowed Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah through for a strip sack. Andre Smith, who had started the game at left tackle, moved to right tackle after that and the offense settled down. The Bengals are rotating Smith at both tackle positions (Cedric Ogbuehi is also struggling) and the veteran is clearly outplaying the youth so far. With a new offensive coordinator and their best lineman in the lineup, the Bengals' offensive line starts their long climb out of the cellar.
In the first quarter of last week's game against Washington, right guard Laurent Duvarnay-Tardiff suffered a leg injury and had to be carted off the field. Jordan Devey was the next man in and he had a mixed performance. Devey is good in run blocking but can be beaten easily in pass protection. Center Mitch Morse is still out, with Zach Fulton in his place. Despite the Chiefs' winning record, their line continues to fall in the rankings due to injury.
Center Weston Richburg is in the league's concussion protocol. With right tackle Bobby Hart still out with an ankle injury (Justin Pugh to right tackle). The Giants' had to shuffle Brett Jones from left guard to center, John Jerry from right guard to left guard, and D.J. Fluker at right guard. It's not clear if that will be the lineup for Week 5. But there's not many other options for this troubled unit, unless Richburg or Hart returns to health.
- AZ - LT Humphries to return, slide Wetzel to LG. Boone ahead of schedule in rehab.
- IND - C Bond hurt, Redmond replaced. C Kelly practicing and could play (Not in rankings).
- NE - LT Nate Solder reportedly had a strong game against Carolina.
- NYJ - RG Winters returns to lineup but RT Shell out (Qvale).
- PHI - LG Wisniewski in lineup over Seumalo and Warmack.
- PIT - LG Foster returns, RT Gilbert still out (Hubbard replaces).
- SEA - LT Odhiambo to hospital after game with chest injury. LT Tobin could replace.
|6||CHI||10||4||30.15||A||A||B+||LG Sitton returns.|
|8||PIT||9||1||29.65||B+||B+||B+||RT Gilbert (Hubbard). LG Foster returns.|
|9||ATL||8||-1||29.43||B+||B+||A||RT Schraeder (Sambrailo).|
|MID TIER||12||NO||7||-5||29.03||B+||B+||B+||LT Armstead (Peat) RT Streif (Ramcyzk).|
|13||NE||16||3||29.03||B+||B+||B+||RT Cannon returns.|
|16||BUF||14||-2||28.85||B||B+||B-||LT Glenn (Dawkins).|
|17||DEN||23||6||28.73||B||B||B||LT Bolles returned.|
|19||CAR||17||-2||28.6||B-||B||B-||C Kalil (Larsen)|
|20||HOU||25||5||28.6||B-||B||C||OL Mancz returns. LT Brown holding out.|
|23||KC||20||-3||28.28||C+||B-||C+||C Morse (Fulton) & RG Duvernay. (Devey)|
|25||IND||24||-1||28.25||C+||B-||C||C Good (Redmond) .|
|26||CIN||32||6||27.9||C||C+||C-||LT Smith rotating at both OT spots.|
|28||NYJ||30||2||27.85||C||C-||C-||RT Shell (Qvale). RG Winters returns.|
|29||AZ||27||-2||27.7||C-||C-||D+||LG Boone (Holden).|
|30||NYG||26||-4||27.6||C-||C-||D+||RT Hart (Pugh). Jones for Pugh at LG.|
|31||GB||29||-2||27.6||C-||D+||C||LT Bakhtiari (Murphy). RT Bulaga (McCray).|
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.