There are several upgrades this week, based on several key starters returning to full health. Week 11's offensive line news, let's get after it!
Baltimore plus 17
The headline is that Marshal Yanda, the Ravens' All-Pro right guard has finally returned to practice and looks like a full go for the contest this week at Dallas. Yanda is one of the best guards in the game and the team's running attack has suffered without him. It's not all perfect news however, as promising rookie left guard Alex Lewis sprained his ankle last week and is likely out six weeks (or possibly the remainder of the season). The injury is the dreaded high ankle sprain, which can be slow to heal. Still, while Lewis is a good young player, the team has several interesting guard options, including John Urschel, who is likely to get the start. With their best player back in the lineup, the Baltimore line again grades out at top-tier status.
Tennessee plus 8
The Titans' offense has been firing on all cylinders as of late, and the line looks to keep the good times rolling with the return of starting left guard Quinton Spain. After missing several weeks with a knee injury, Spain is back practicing in full and his return will send Brian Schwenke back to the bench. It's not all been smooth sailing for this unit, as left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected last week for making contact with an official. Dennis Kelly substituted and the was able to protect the quarterback efficiently. They aren't the biggest or the best but the the Titans' line overcomes adversity better than most other teams, and as they return to health, the line currently grades out as one of the league's best units.
San Diego plus 7
Left guard Orlando Franklin returned to action this week and while he did miss a couple plays to get his wrist re-taped, the return was successful overall. Right tackle Joe Barksdale also left the game last week with a groin issue and could not return. Chris Hairston finished the game in place of Barksdale. These rankings assume Barksdale will play this week, but it could be a game-time decision. With all of their starters back in action, the Chargers' line finally creeps into the edge of top-tier status. It is a run first unit and the model rewards teams that can make run yardage even when the defenses know it is coming.
Carolina plus 20
All-Pro center Ryan Kalil had been dealing with a shoulder injury but he returned to full strength this week. Kalil's presence at practice has been a huge boost to the Panthers' offensive line, and to the offense as a whole. While Kalil's return is good news (and the reason for the huge jump in the rankings) It should be noted that left tackle Michael Oher is still missing from practice. Oher is reportedly experiencing sensitivity to light and his concussion recovery has taken way longer than most other cases. Mike Remmers does a replacement level job at left tackle, and the team still holds out hope that Oher can return, as evidenced by not putting him on the inured reserve list. Still, with Kalil back in action, the Carolina line grades out at the high end of the mid-tier, almost in top-tier status.
Indianapolis plus 7
Left guard Jack Mewhort and right tackle Joe Reitz have returned to practice this week and look to rejoin the lineup this week at Tennessee. Mewhort should start but the coaches might let Reitz recover a week in his swing tackle role as rookie Joe Haeg continues to develop at right tackle. It's not all perfect as Denzelle Good still appears out of action and the team might have to continue starting Austin Blythe at the right guard position. Still with Mewhort (their glue guy) back in the lineup, expect the Colts' offensive line to get better.
Green Bay minus 6
Already without starting center J.C. Tretter, the Packers' line will likely be without right guard T.J. Lang, who is dealing with an ankle injury. Lang is an above average starter and while Don Barklay did a decent job in relief last week, the running game will likely take (yet another) hit without this player. In related news, starting left tackle David Bakhtiari is day-to-day with a knee issue, but is likely to play this weekend at Washington. Without Lang, the Packers' line slips out of the top-tier.
Chicago minus 13
Tough news for the Bears' line as right guard Kyle Long was carted off last week and was placed on the injured reserve with a knee problem. Long is an impossible player to replace, as he showed a ton of leadership and toughness. It could get even worse for the unit, as right tackle Bobby Massie is in the league's concussion protocol. Mike Adams would likely get the start in place of Massie. It's too murky to tell if Massie's injury will be minor or major but the rankings currently assume he finds a way into the lineup. Without Kyle Long, the Bears' line falls to the mid-tier. Should Massie also miss time, this becomes a low-tier unit.
Miami minus 17
Left tackle Branden Albert injured his hand last week and was forced from the game against Miami. Albert's injury appears serious (dislocated wrist) and his status for this weeks' contest at Los Angeles is very much in doubt. Laremy Tunsil slid from left guard to replace Albert during the game and will likely do so again. Kraig Urbik will likely start for Tunsil at guard. In that sense, not many teams have the depth to put a first round pick in at left tackle when the starter gets hurt (New Orleans is another such club). Still, Albert's a significant player and without their starting left tackle, the Miami offensive line falls from the top-tier to the low-tier.
Los Angeles minus 7
Center Tim Barnes has started 25 consecutive contests for the Rams, but that streak is in doubt this week as Barnes is dealing with a foot injury and his start this weekend against Miami is in doubt. Should Barnes not be able to go, Demetrius Rhaney would take his place. Rhaney has more ideal measurables than Barnes, but he's raw. The idea of any team starting an inexperienced center with a rookie quarterback in his first start (Jared Goff) is troubling. Without their center, the Rams' line drops from the mid-tier to the low-tier.
MIN - LT Long out for the season. Boone to LT?
The Vikings lost Jake Long for the year with an Achilles' tendon tear. Alex Boone is lobbying to play left tackle but the coaches might stick with T.J. Clemmings. Neither option is that great. The Vikings' line lingers in the low-tier.
NYG - Pugh still out, Jones hurt, Newhouse in at LG.
In for Justin Pugh, left guard Brent Jones lasted one series as a starter last week before he was hurt. Marshall Newhouse replaced Jones. With both Pugh and Jones still not practicing, look for Newhouse to again get the start. As a side note, a player like Newhouse might actually be decent at guard, after being a liability at right tackle. There's no change to the Giants' grade at this time.
WAS - RT Moses practicing after the bye.
Updating an older news story, right tackle Morgan Moses used the bye week to recover and appears to be on track to start for Washington. Despite not having Trent Williams' in the lineup, the Washington line performed well last week in the win against Minnesota. Another strong week will force an upgrade.
PHI - LG Barbre back, Wisniewski to the bench.
Allen Barbre has returned to practice and looks to take his left guard spot back from Stefan Wisniewski. These players grade out similarly.
DEN - Sambrailo over Stephenson after bye?
Rumors have the coaching staff unhappy right tackle Donald Stephenson and there could be an opportunity for Ty Sambrailo to rejoin the starting lineup. With Denver on a bye, this is a news item for future weeks.
BUF - RT Mills' job in jeopardy?
Right tackle Jordan Mills could be replaced by Seantrel Henderson. In other news, the center job appears to be Ryan Groy's to lose with Eric Wood out for the season. Patrick Lewis is the other option.
Week 11 Matchups of Note
- 5th PIT offensive line @ 32nd CLE defensive front seven (+27)
- 7th TEN offensive line @ 30th IND defensive front seven (+23)
- 6th BAL offensive line @ 26th DAL defensive front seven (+20)
- 4th OAK offensive line vs. 23rd HOU defensive front seven (+19)
- 3rd CIN offensive line vs. 19th BUF defensive front seven (+16)
- 27th AZ offensive line @ 6th MIN defensive front seven (-21)
- 24th NYG offensive line vs. 8th CHI defensive front seven (-16)
- 17th TB offensive line @ 1st KC defensive front seven (-16)
- 19th PHI offensive line @ 3rd SEA defensive front seven (-16)
- 22nd MIA offensive line@ 7th LA defensive front seven (-15)
Week 11 Offensive Line Rankings
|6||BAL||23||17||30.4||A-||A-||A-||Yanda to return, Lewis out.|
|20||CHI||7||-13||28.65||B-||B||C+||Long out. Massie concussion.|
|21||IND||28||7||28.58||C+||B-||C-||Mewhort and Haeg return.|
|LOW TIER||22||MIA||5||-17||28.55||C+||B-||C||Albert out. Tunsil to LT.|
|28||LA||21||-7||27.6||C-||C||C-||Barnes likely out.|
Week 11 Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|15||New York (A)|
|16||New York (N)|
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.
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