As teams venture into the second half of the season, the lines are getting banged up. There is a ton of injury news this week. Let's get to it.
Carolina plus 13
The Panthers' line gets a huge upgrade as their best player, Ryan Kalil (high ankle) returned to the lineup last week for the big win against Green Bay. Kalil did not miss a snap. He is the leader of this unit and getting him back was great news. In addition, left guard Andrew Norwell remains sidelined, but Amini Silatolu has stepped in and done a decent job, especially in the running game. With Kalil back and the form they are exhibitting currently, the Panthers' line checks in at 16th overall, and a move to the mid-tier.
Tennessee plus 9
The Titans' line went through a serious shuffle last week, with only Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack starting the same spots as the week prior. Usually this would lead to a huge downgrade. However the line played much better in their upset victory at New Orleans. Bryon Bell, who had been playing left guard, moved to right tackle. This is the position Bell played through most of his career and he was an instant upgrade over the unsteady rookie Jeremiah Poutasi. At left guard, Joe Looney, the veteran from San Francisco made his start, and he also looked comfortable. The Titans' line boasts more veterans, playing in their natural spots, and the results speak for themselves. The coaching change really helped this line. With these changes, the Titans' line checks in at 18th overall, good for a mid-tier grade.
New York (A) minus 3
There are two serious problems with the Jets' offensive line right now. First and foremost, starting right guard Willie Colon was placed on injured reserve, with knee issues. Brian Winters will again take his place. Winters is decent in running game but a flawed player in pass protection. The opposing head coach this week, Rex Ryan, is all too familiar with Winters and his shortcomings . This the the main reason for the downgrade. However the health of center Nick Mangold continues to be a concern. Mangold is tough and playing through a neck injury but couldn't make it through last game against the Jaguars, only making it through 28 snaps before yielding to Wesley Johnson. The Jets are on a short week and are banged up. Without Mangold they are a low tier unit. With him playing hurt, they stay in the top tier, but be aware the unit has health issues.
Tampa Bay minus 2.
Ascending rookie guard Ali Marpet sprained his ankle last weekend and was replaced by Evan Smith. Joe Hawley keeps his center spot. The team got some good news when tackle Demar Dotson was activated off the injured reserve list. Dotson is not starting over current right tackle Gosder Cherilius yet, but that should happen sooner rather than later. Without Marpet in the lineup, the Bucs fan a couple spots to 17th overall.
Denver minus 10
Left tackle Ty Sambrailo was placed oninured reserve with a shoulder injury. In his place the team is platooning Ryan Harris and Tyler Polumbus at left tackle. In Harris' place at right tackle steps Michael Schofield, a second year player without much game experience. Besides these issues, Max Garcia has been subbing in for Louis Vasquez, who coaches refer to as "hurting." Vasquez is the team's best lineman, by far. All of this adds up to a ten slot downgrade, into the low tier. Losing a starting left tackle for the second time this season, the Broncos check in at 22nd overall, a ten slot drop.
New England minus 2.
The Patriots' line is an absolute tire fire. The team is on their 4th left tackle of the season, as Cameron Fleming steps in after Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, and Sebastian Vollmer have gone down with injuries. In Vollmer's place on the right side, newly activated center Bryan Stork played. Let me repeat that, the Patriots have a practice squad player at left tackle and a center at right tackle. Ryan Wendell, who the team had been waiting on to get healthy, was placed on injured reserve. But despite having the worst offensive line in football, it's hard to see how this will effect Tom Brady's quick passing offense. There are a handful of quarterbacks in the league who could be effective behind such a makeshift unit, and Tom Brady is one of those rare players. Ravaged by injuries, the Patriots' line falls to 32nd overall in the standings.
Week Ten's Match-ups of Note
- 2nd CLE O-Line @ 24th PIT defensive front seven (+22).
- 13th WAS O-Line vs. 32nd NO defensive front seven (+19).
- 1st DAL O-Line @ 16th TB defensive front seven (+15).
- 6th HOU O-Line @ 18th CIN defensive front seven (+12).
- 3rd GB O-Line vs. 13th DET defensive front seven (+10).
- 24th NYG O-Line vs. 2nd NE defensive front seven (-22).
- 22nd DEN O-Line vs. 3rd KC defensive front seven (-19).
- 21st BUF O-Line @ 6th NYJ defensive front seven (-15).
- 20th CHI O-Line @ 9th STL defensive front seven (-11).
A Look Back on Week Nine's Match-ups of Note
The match-ups of note went 3-5 last week. Yuck. Pretty much all the fades came through and produced big numbers. The Titans were a surprise, as their lineup drastically changed prior to the Saints game. This was the first time all season where the predictions were underwater. On the year, there have been 53 good predictions and 38 bad ones. Still, looking to do better this week.
CLE - Joel Bitonio ruled out.
Bitonio left last week's contest against the Bengals with an ankle injury. First round rookie Cameron Erving replaced. Because Erving is talented, and also because the Browns line was rated highly prior to the injury, there is a small downgrade to their score, but not enough to drop them too far in the rankings. The Browns are currently tied for third, with the Green Bay Packers.
SEA - Okung back after bye.
The Seahawks are expecting Russell Okung to be full go after their bye week. Okung had been battling injuries.
SD - Dunlap and Franklin still out. Watt to IR.
The Chargers' line remains a problem as center Chris Watt was placed on the injured reserve. Trevor Robinson had been starting in his place for several games. King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin also remain injured, replaced by Chris Hairston and Kenny Wiggins, respectively.
BUF - Cyrus Kouandijo surprise inactive with knee
Despite not being on injury report, right tackle Kouandijo was inactive for the contest against the Dolphins. Seantrel Henderson took his place, and there is no change to the rankings at this time.
CIN - Andre SMith still out with Concussion
There's been no sign of right tackle Andre Smith in Bengals' practices. Eric Winston has been ok but it's not a sustainable long term solution. In related news, rookie Cedric Ogbuehi back at practice (from the Non-football injury list) and the team has three weeks before the team has to make a decision on adding him to the roster.
WAS - Kory Lichtensteiger on IR with a pinched nerve in neck.
Brian de la puente signed. LeRibeus continues to start.
AZ - Lyle Sendlein remains out with a shoulder injury.
Aftertheir bye week, it's bad news to see Lyle Sendlein still out of practice. In his place Ted Larsen and AQ Sipley are options to start.
NYG- Giants have until Thursday to activate Will Beatty from PUP
The Giants haven't made a decision about Will Beatty yet, but they are running out of time. If they can add this player, it would be a boost to the lineup, just in time to face the fearsome Patriots' defensive front seven.
As usual, if you have a question about a team not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact me via twitter or in the Shark Pool.
Week Ten Offensive Line Rankings
|8||NYJ||5||-3||30.6||B+||B+||B||Colon on IR.|
|10||AZ||10||0||29.7||B+||B+||B||Sendlein likely out.|
|13||WAS||11||-2||29.4||B||B+||B||Lichtenstieger to IR.|
|16||CAR||29||13||29.1||B-||B||B-||Kalil back in lineup.|
|18||TEN||27||9||28.6||B-||B-||B-||Bell to RT, Looney to LG.|
|LOW TIER||22||DEN||12||-10||28.23||C||C||C-||Sambrailo on IR.|
|32||NE||30||-2||25.35||D-||D-||D-||4th LT of the season.|
Week Ten Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|5||Philadelphia||Alonzo & Kendricks back.|
|6||New York (A)|
|14||Denver||Ware still out.|
|26||New York (N)||JPP active, Hankins & Beason to IR.|