Offensive Line Rankings and Notes, Week 16 - Footballguys

Offensive line related news, injuries and updates, prior to week sixteen of the regular season.

UPGRADES

Indianapolis up seven slots.

The Colts' offensive line had a dominant performance during last week's win over Dallas. Third-year center Ryan Kelly returned to the starting lineup after spending a month nursing an MCL sprain (knee). Kelly looked completely healthy and was part of a line which again kept quarterback Andrew Luck clean, allowing zero sacks. Kelly is playing at a Pro Bowl level, despite his recent fan voting snub in favor of the Pouncey brothers. Swing tackle Joe Haeg got the start at right guard in place of Mark Glowinski, who has an ankle injury. Haeg looked good and may have made a case to keep the job after Glowinski heals. This line looks strong heading into the final two games of the regular season, and they carry a top-10 grade in the latest rankings.

Green Bay up seven slots.

It's rare to upgrade a line after giving up 5 sacks of quarterback, but starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga was spotted at practice this week. Bulaga has missed two games with a knee injury and told the press he hopes to be ready to start this weekend. The offense needs Bulaga to be ready as right tackle Jason Spriggs is in the league's concussion protocol. Spriggs played 100% of the snaps against Chicago but symptoms emerged after the game. Should Bulaga suffer a setback to his knee rehab, Alex Light would get his first NFL start. But all signs point to the Packers' having their veteran starting right tackle ready in what could be an extremely choice matchup at the New York Jets.

Detroit up seventeen slots.

Another team getting their veteran right tackle back in the lineup, Rick Wagner practiced in full this week and he has been cleared from the league's concussion protocol after missing one game with a head injury. Even without Wagner, the line has played well, as fifth-round rookie Tyrell Crosby (originally from Oregon) got the start at right tackle and was part of a unit which kept quarterback Matthew Stafford in the clean jersey club (zero sacks allowed) during last week's one-point road loss at Buffalo. Crosby is showing promise and beat writers believe he has earned his way into the right guard conversation, where journeyman Kenny Wiggins starts for the perpetually injured T.J. Lang. This franchise did a good job of rebuilding their line through the draft and even though the team's season has not gone as planned (due in part to a difficult schedule), their line currently carries a top-tier grade.

Minnesota up three slots.

With second-round rookie Brian O'Neill starting his ninth game of the season (fifth at right tackle) the Vikings have once again earned their full cohesion grade. The line led the way during last week's home drubbing of Miami and they are executing at a high level, especially in the run game. The Vikings control their own fate for the NFC's 6th seed and if this team makes the playoffs it will be due in large part to the improved performance of their front five. This is a mid-tier line, trending upward .

Washington up two slots.

Due to the huge number of injuries, predicting this Washington lineup has been a tricky task all season. Last week against Jacksonville, Ty Nsekhe got the start at left guard but he was forced from the contest with a knee injury and replaced by Zac Kerin. Nsekhe has not practiced this week and appears unlikely to be ready in time for the Saturday game against Tennessee. The team did get good news however as Tony Bergstrom (listed with both knee and ankle injuries) practiced in a limited fashion. Assuming the veteran is able to go (Bergstrom has 17 career starts at left guard compared to Kerin's one), this line once again climbs into the mid-tier.

DOWNGRADES

Seattle down two slots.

Right guard D.J. Fluker has missed the last three weeks with a hamstring injury. Jordan Simmons has been fine in Fluker's place but Simmons was placed on season-ending knee injury after being forced from the loss at San Francisco with a knee sprain. Ethan Pocic replaced Simmons during the contest and struggled mightily, giving up two holding penalties which proved to be drive-killers. Fluker will work out on Friday to see if he can be ready when the team hosts Kansas City this Saturday. Swing tackle George Fant has been playing jumbo tight end and could be another option (instead of Pocic) at the spot if Fluker still can't go. It's not exactly clear who will get the start this weekend, and the uncertainty at right guard has dropped this power rushing line out of the top tier.

New Orleans down sixteen slots.

There are just a ton of injuries in New Orleans right now. Center Max Unger was forced from the win at Carolina with a concussion. Unger was replaced by Cameron Tom during the contest. Unger remains in the league's protocol and has not practiced this week. Unger is a key player, the glue who holds this unit together. The offense had trouble protecting the quarterback without him in the contest. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod was also forced from the game with a hamstring injury. With usual left tackle, Terron Armstead, still out rehabbing his pectoral tear, left guard Andrus Peat bumped out to left tackle. Peat and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk were both limited in practice with their respective shoulder injuries but both are expected to play. Armstead was also limited, but he was limited last week. The team listed new injury designation, his knee, to go along with pectoral. It's never a good sign when a player has missed three weeks and the team is adding more injuries to the list. Armstead will return at some point, but it might not be until the playoffs. This unit cannot be trusted at the moment, and as the regular season winds down, their grade falls almost all the way to the low-tier.

NY Jets down four slots.

Right tackle Brandon Shell was carted off during the loss against Houston. The nephew of Hall of Famer Art, Brandon Shell was the team's best young lineman and this week the team placed him on injured reserve. The coaches did not specify the exact injury, saying only it was "a knee injury which likely requires surgery." If it is an ACL, like the one suffered by Titans right tackle Jack Conklin last postseason, Shell may not be ready for next year's opening day. Brent Qvale replaced Shell in the game and spent the remainder of the contest getting worked over by J.J. Watt. Even though the Jets' offense is showing signs of life in the last two weeks, this line has fallen from the mid-tier to low-tier without Shell.

Miami down three slots.

This line allowed nine sacks of quarterback Ryan Tannehill against Minnesota last week and are being punished with a pass blocking cohesion downgrade. The line was under siege all game by blitzes and could not sort out how to protect their quarterback. In fairness, at least 5 of the 9 sacks were due to mistakes by the running backs and tight ends. Still, teams smell blood in the water and are routinely sending the house. Although left tackle Laremy Tunsil does a good job (and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate) there's not much else to like about this line at the moment, and they grade as one of the worst units in football.

Oakland down three slots.

This team is dealing with several key injuries. Left guard Kelechi Osemele continues to rehab his toe and it is unclear if he will be available for this weekend's game against Denver. Right guard Gabe Jackson was placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury he originally suffered during the Week 14 win against Pittsburgh. Last week, the Raiders started Chaz Green at left guard and Denzelle Good at right guard. If Osemele joins the lineup, their grade would jump about 10 slots. But assuming he sits out another week (or more), Oakland currently carries the lowest grade in the model

OTHER NEWS

ATL - RG Ben Garland a healthy scratch. The veteran Zane Beadles continues to start. Still no word officially why Ryan Schraeder was benched, but he turns 31 next year and could be a cap casualty.

AZ - RT Joe Barksdale was in the concussion protocol but cleared. Barksdale should play this week against the Rams. Will Holden took 19 snaps last week, and the line gave up six quarterback sacks.

BAL - LG Alex Lewis is limited with a shoulder injury. After missing several weeks, Lewis could play this week at the Chargers. Last week, Bradley Bozeman got 36% of snaps with at left guard with James Hurst.

BUF - Ike Boettger getting reps at RG. The team is in full evaluation mode, and current right guard John Miller is an unrestricted free agent after the season.

CIN - RG Alex Redmond didn't practice. Redmond has an illness but should be ready for the Cleveland game.

CLE - C JC Tretter didn't practice. Tretter has been gutting through a high ankle sprain but hasn't missed a snap all season.

DAL - RG Zack Martin still out of action. Martin looks unlikely to return from his knee injury this week. Xavier Su'a-Filo was forced from last week's game with an eye injury but will play this week with a visor.

KC - RT Mitchell Schwartz considered day to day. Schwartz is not practicing with a knee injury, but the model assumes he plays against Baltimore. Monitor this situation, as the line drops about 10 slots without him. At left guard, Cameron Erving is fully recovered from his knee injury and should supplant Jeff Allen in the lineup.

JAX - RT Jermey Parnell still out of action. Parnell has a knee injury and is unlikely to play this weekend at Miami. Josh Walker would get another start.

NYG - C Spencer Pulley is out. Pulley was forced from last week's Titans' loss with a calf injury. John Greco replaced Pulley in the contest and would likely get the start again. Pulley is better than Greco but their individual grades are similar.

PHI - LG Isaac Seumalo still out with a pectoral injury - Last year's starter Stefen Wisniewski replaced Seumalo, and if anything the line improved.

TEN - RT Dennis Kelly in for Jack Conklin. Usually, this would be a downgrade but Kelly has been a similar player than Conklin this season (or rather, Conklin has not been his usual dominant self after offseason knee surgery). Although fans expect Adrian Peterson like recovery times, these injuries often require an additional year for players to recover their full abilities.

FULL RANKINGS

Rank
Team
Old
Diff
Score
Overall Grade
Run Grade
Pass Grade
Cohesion
Notes
1
LAR
1
0
33.5
A+
A+
A+
5.0
2
PHI
2
0
33.5
A+
A+
A
4.5
3
PIT
3
0
30.7
A
A+
A-
4.5
4
BAL
4
0
30.1
A-
A
B+
4.5
5
LAC
5
0
30.0
A-
A-
A-
5.0
6
SF
6
0
30.0
A-
B+
A
4.5
7
IND
14
7
29.7
B+
B
A-
4.5
C Ryan Kelly returned; Pass blocking cohesion upgrade.
8
CLE
8
0
29.5
B+
A-
B
4.5
9
GB
16
7
29.5
B+
A-
B
3.5
Assuming RT Bryan Bulaga returns to the lineup (Jason Spriggs in concussion protocol).
10
DET
27
17
29.5
B+
B+
B+
5.0
RT Rick Wagner (concussion) to return to the lineup (Tyrell Crosby to the bench).
11
TEN
9
-2
29.5
B+
A-
B
4.0
12
DAL
10
-2
29.3
B
B+
B-
4.5
Assuming RG Zack Martin misses the game vs TB (Connor Williams).
13
SEA
11
-2
29.3
B
A-
C+
4.5
RG Jordan Simmons to IR. Assuming RG D.J. Fluker misses the game vs KC (Ethan Pocic).
14
KC
12
-2
29.3
B
B-
B+
3.5
15
CIN
13
-2
29.3
B
A-
C+
4.5
16
CAR
15
-1
29.1
B
B+
C+
4.5
17
MIN
20
3
29.1
B
B-
B+
5.0
Scheduled cohesion upgrade.
18
TB
17
-1
29.0
B-
C+
B+
4.5
19
WAS
21
2
29.0
B-
C+
B
3.5
Assuming C Chase Roullier and RG Tony Bergstrom return for TNF at TEN.
20
NE
18
-2
28.9
B-
C+
B+
5.0
21
DEN
19
-2
28.8
B-
B+
C+
5.0
22
NYG
22
0
28.5
C+
B
C-
4.5
23
NO
7
-16
28.4
C+
B-
C
4.5
C Max Unger in concussion protocol (Cameron Tom). LT Terron Armstead still limited with a shoulder injury. Jermon Bushrod also injured hamstring (Andrus Peat to LT
Will Clapp to LG)
24
CHI
24
0
28.3
C+
B-
C
4.5
25
HOU
25
0
28.2
C
B
D
4.5
26
ATL
26
0
28.1
C
C+
C-
3.0
27
NYJ
23
-4
28.0
C
C+
C-
4.0
RT Brandon Shell to IR (Brent Qvale).
28
JAX
30
2
27.4
C-
C
D
4.5
Assuming RT Jermey Parnell misses the game at MIA (Josh Wells).
29
BUF
31
2
27.4
C-
C
D
4.5
30
AZ
32
2
27.4
C-
C-
C-
4.5
31
MIA
28
-3
27.3
C-
C-
C-
4.0
Pass blocking cohesion downgrade
32
OAK
29
-3
27
D+
C
D+
3.5
RG Gabe Jackson to IR (Denzelle Good) Assuming LG Kelechi Osemele misses the game at DEN (Chaz Green).

If you have a question about a player, team or matchup not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact the author via Twitter.

Follow @Draftdaddy