As the season limps down the stretch, the amount of injury news is just staggering. There are many lines that are upgraded, just by being healthy. At this point in the season staying healthy is rare and no news is good news for the league's offensive lines. Let's get to it.
Oakland minus five.
Starting center Rodney Hudson left the game last week at Detroit with an ankle sprain. Tony Bergstrom replaced during the contest and is likely to do the same this weekend. Hudson hsa been an excellent free agent pickup for this squad and while Bergstrom is a tough veteran, with above average athleticism, there is a drop off between Hudson and Bergstrom. Without their star center, the Raiders' line drops five slots to 8th overall. They are still a top-tier unit.
Washington minus four.
Left tackle Trent Williams left the game late (on a meaningless fourth down conversion attempt) with a knee injury. The training staff has deemed it a "contusion" and while Williams didn't practice on Wednesday, the language seems to indicate that he will be available for this weekend's game against the Giants. If Williams is still in the rankings, why the downgrade? The reason is that center Josh LeRibeus has been killing the team with inconsistant snaps. Frequent readers of this article will remember that Kory Lichtensteiger was lost for the year several weeks ago, and while the team did sign Brian de la Puente, they are still starting LeRibeus. It's not clear how much more leash LeRibeus will get. With the downgrade at the center position, the Washington offensive line falls four spots to 16th overall. Still mid-tier for now, but should Williams miss the game they would be graded as a low-tier unit.
Baltimore minus six.
Left tackle Eugene Monroe left the last game with shoulder injury. This has been the same shoulder that has hampered Monroe all season and James Hurst replaced him in the lineup. At left guard Kelechi Osemele was inactive and Ryan Jensen replaced. The line struggled mightily without these players and the proof of this was the loss of starting quarterback Joe Flacco and starting tailback Justin Forsett for the season. Without two key starters, the Ravens' line falls six spots, from the upper tier, to the mid tier.
Kansas City minus four.
Against the Chargers, left guard Ben Grubbs was inactive for the third straight game (neck). This injury is shrouded in unclear verbiage from the coaching staff and it's probably fair to conclude Grubbs will miss the next game. In Grubbs' place Jeff Allen played very well against the anemic San Diego defensive front seven. With the loss of their starter, there's a small drop in the Chiefs' line ranking, down four spot to 17th overall.
In other big man news, Dontari Poe scored what record keepers are calling the heaviest ever touchdown (as defined as their listed weight). William "the Refrigerator" Perry was listed at 335 pounds while Poe is listed at 345.
New York (A) minus seventeen.
Center Nick Mangold left the game against Houston with hand laceration. It is a deep cut on his snapping hand and his status is in doubt for the game gainst Miami this Sunday. In his place, Wesley Johnson stepped into the lineup. It is a huge drop from Mangold to Johnson and while Mangold isn't having the greatest year (due mostly to injuries), he is a huge upgrade over Wesley Johnson. Without their best lineman, the Jets' line falls seventeen spots to 23rd overall, a low-tier line.
New York (N) minus two.
Left guard Justin Pugh is officially in the concussion protocol and the team is calling him "week-to-week." Pugh missed last week's game with what the team called at the time an illness. Some concussions are more serious than others, and this one looks to be something the player will need several weeks to overcome. In Pugh's place, the large but mistake-prone veteran John Jerry steps into the lineup. Without Pugh, the Giants' line falls to 24th overall, still a low tier option.
San Diego minus two,
Right guard D.J. Fluker is unlikely to play week 12 with a concussion. This is Fluker's fourth concussion in three years, and his second in the span of two weeks. Without Fluker, Chris Hairston or Kenny Wiggins would get the call at right guard. Hairston is the preferred player but he might be called into service at left tackle, as King Dunlap started, but couldn't finish the contest against Kansas City. This Chargers' line is currently among the most injured in the league and with the latest developments, they check in at 25th overall.
Indianapolis minus six.
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo is described as "week-to-week" with an MCL sprain. Castonzo is the Colts' best lineman (by far) and he is probably going to miss the game against Tampa Bay. In his place the line shuffles with Joe Reitz moving to left tackle, Jack Mewhort to right tackle, and either Lance Louis or Todd Herremans getting the start at guard in place of Mewhort. All signs seem to indicate Louis would be the preferred choice and with all the changes, the Colts' offensive line falls to 31st overall, a six slot drop.
ST Louis minus zero.
This is a downgrade but as the league's lowest rated line, the Rams' couldn't be ranked any lower. Right tackle Andrew Donnal left the game last week against Baltimore with a knee injury. Donnal was later placed on the injured reserve and is done for the year. With other options Rob Havenstein and Darrell Williams hurt, the team turned to Garrett Reynolds at right tackle, Cody Wichmann at left guard and Demetrius Rhaney at right guard. Can it get any worse for this line? Stay tuned. The Rams' remain the league's worst rated line, at 32nd overall.
Week 12's Match-up's Of Note
- 3rd HOU O-Line vs. 32nd NO defensive front seven (+29).
- 4th GB O-Line vs. 30th CHI defensive front seven (+26).
- 11th JAX O-Line vs. 31st SD defensive front seven (+20).
- 13th TB O-Line @ 29th IND defensive front seven (+16).
- 6th AZ O-Line @ 20th SF defensive front seven (+14).
- 20th DET O-Line vs. 5th PHI defensive front seven (-15).
- 23rd NYJ O-Line vs. 8th MIA defensive front seven (-15).
- 31st IND O-Line @ 16th TB defensive front seven (-15).
- 18th BUF O-Line @ 3rd KC defensive front seven (-15).
- 32nd STL O-Line @ 18th CIN defensive front seven (-14).
A look back at Week 11's Match-up's of Note
Last week's predictions were 5-2, which brings the totals for the year up to 61 good predictions and 46 bad. Not bad, not bad at all.
GB - Corey Linsley out.
Center Corey Linsley left last week's game with an ankle injury. J.C. Tretter replaced. As these players grade out similarly, there is no change the Packers' ranking at this time.
CAR - Amini Silatolu placed on IR.
Silatolu left last week's game with knee injury. It was later revealed that Silatolu suffered a torn ACL and is out for the year. Last week, Chris Scott replaced Silatolu. But this week the normal starter Andrew Norwell is likely coming back. As such there is no downgrade to the Panthers' line at this time.
BUF - John Miller left the game with ankle injury.
Kraig Urbik replaced during Monday Night Football. Sources (Ian Rapoport) say Miller's injury is "minor"
CIN - Cedric Ogbuehi activated off the non-football injury list.
Ogbuehi will provide an interesting depth option, should Andre Smith get hurt again.
PIT - Mike Adams not activated from reserve PUP.
Adams is done for the year and as a free agent, is unlikely to return to Pittsburgh next season.
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 12 Offensive Line Rankings
|8||OAK||3||-5||30.03||B+||B+||B||Hudson ankle injury.|
|15||BAL||9||-6||28.78||C+||C+||C+||Monroe and Osemele out.|
|23||NYJ||6||-17||28.1||C-||C||C-||Mangold likely out.|
|25||SD||27||2||27.9||C-||C-||C-||Fluker in concussion protocol.|
|26||NYG||24||-2||27.85||C-||C-||C||Pugh in concussion protocol.|
|31||IND||25||-6||26.85||D||D||D||Castonzo likely out.|
|32||STL||32||0||26.23||D-||D||D-||Donnal to IR.|