Offensive Line Rankings and Notes: Week 2

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

When the offensive line is completely ignored, that's usually a good sign. Along those lines, there's only one blurb about a team in the top-tier this week. Meanwhile, there's a ton of injury and lineup news to discuss. Over the course of an entire NFL season, often the best thing an offensive line can do to rise in these rankings is stay healthy.

It's Week 2, and we're talking about the big men, the maulers, the people-movers. Let's get after it!

UPGRADES

Baltimore up two spots.

The Ravens' offensive line looked sharp in the season opener against Buffalo. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley exhibited lock down pass protection and right guard Marshal Yanda dominated the running attack, looking more like a 24-year-old than a 34-year-old. Left guard Alex Lewis looks fully recovered from last year's injuries and at right tackle, James Hurst was given the start due to experience and played well. Hurst continues to hold off the impressive rookie Orlando Brown Jr. Brown, Bradley Bozeman, and Greg Senat all saw snaps during the fourth quarter when the team was up by over 30 points. With a solid performance, this line re-joins the top-tier.

NY Jets up five spots.

The new zone blocking schemes favored by run game coordinator/offensive line coach Rick Dennison and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates worked to great success during Monday Night Football at Detroit. There were questions about left guard James Carpenter's mobility in the new scheme but both he and right guard Brian Winters had an outstanding night opening holes for the Jets' tailbacks. Right tackle Brandon Shell looked especially spry getting to the edge on a Sam Darnold designed bootleg run on 3rd and short. Shell still has untapped upside. It's a modest cohesion boost for the Jets' offensive line, which still grades as a mid-tier unit.

Cincinnati up four spots.

Left tackle Cordy Glenn was dominant in run-blocking during the Bengals' Week one win at Indianapolis. Despite his bulk, Glenn has mostly been known as a pass blocking specialist thus far. Glenn has added an additional dimension to his game and could be seen blocking downfield during running back Joe Mixon's long runs. Right guard Alex Redmond got the start over the last year's starter Trey Hopkins. Redmond is known for his athleticism and raw power, and Hopkins was the weak link in the lineup headed into the season. It was not all sunshine and roses for Redmond in his first career start, as he and right tackle Bobby Hart were beaten at least five times total in pass protection. Hart especially had difficulty with former teammate Margus Hunt, who recorded the first two sacks of his career over the right tackle. Center Billy Price also had a mixed debut. The first play of his career, Price was bull rushed onto his back by Al Woods, directly leading to a pick-six interception. However, Price settled down as the game continued. This line grades in the mid-tier, trending in the right direction.

Tampa Bay up three spots.

This time last week, starting left tackle Donovan Smith was doubtful with a knee injury and few were talking about the Buccaneers' offensive line being competent, let alone dominant, in their Week One game at New Orleans. The left side of Smith and Ali Marpet didn't allow a quarterback pressure all game and the offense had time for long passing routes to develop. Center Ryan Jensen had an outstanding debut for his new franchise, providing a nasty edge in the run game. Jensen is proving he was worth the money the team paid him this offseason. The right side of Caleb Benenoch and Demar Dotson were not as perfect as the left side, but Benenoch has almost no starting experience and for Dotson to be decent at this point in his career seems like a victory. This line grades as a mid-tier option. They probably lack the pure talent upside to get to the top-tier but they can be solid if they stay healthy.

DOWNGRADES

Carolina down 13 spots.

All-Pro right tackle Daryl Williams played most of the game against Dallas without incident. But in the fourth quarter, he took a helmet directly to the side of the knee, which aggravated his preseason injury. Williams needs surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. With Matt Kalil already on injured reserve, the Panthers are now without both starting tackles. Usual left guard Amini Silaolu didn't get the start (Greg Van Roten continued his solid work at the spot) but Silatolu relieved Williams at right tackle and will probably get the start next week in the dome at Atlanta. In this short season to date, this line has been all over the map. Right guard Trai Turner is in the concussion protocol this week but these rankings assume he plays. This line currently grades as a mid-tier unit but will be a low tier unit if Turner misses the contest.

LA Chargers down six spots.

During the third possession of the home loss against Kansas City, starting right tackle Joe Barksdale's left knee was rolled up by the blocking traffic behind him. Barksdale went down in a heap and by mid-week, the team was still evaluating the injury. Reading the tea leaves, Barksdale's knee could require long-term recovery time. Sam Tevi, a second-year player out of Utah, got the call in relief of Barksdale. While Tevi can be a load in the run game, he had several unsteady moments in pass protection. In other news, left guard Dan Feeney had a truly awful performance against the Chiefs' front seven and quarterback Phillip Rivers never really looked comfortable in the pocket. The team might have to make a change by moving Forrest Lamp to the starting lineup, if not at left guard, perhaps at right tackle. The Chargers' line, which had been considered one of the most improved this preseason, falls to the bottom of the mid-tier.

Cleveland down four spots.

The coaching staff made a last-second change to the starting lineup, putting rookie Desmond Harrison at left tackle before the home tie against Pittsburgh. Joel Bitonio was moved back to his usual left guard spot while rookie Austin Corbett was sent to the bench. Harrison is a rare athletic prospect but he also has off the field issues, having failed his drug test at this year's combine. The coaching staff probably wanted to make this move sooner but Harrison missed most of the preseason with a toe injury. Harrison was flagged for three penalties in the first half, two false starts and an illegal formation. Harrison settled down in the second half and could even be the long-term solution at the spot. However, it's reasonable to expect growing pains in the short term. Despite the downgrade, this line still grades in the mid-tier.

Tennessee down 12 spots.

Left tackle Taylor Lewan suffered a concussion when he was crack-back blocked during an interception return. Lewan was not looking and took a vicious hit which left him motionless on the ground. Fights broke out while Lewan was out cold. The team used Kevin Pamphile at left tackle for the rest of the contest, and Pamphile did a mostly acceptable job. Lewan is a team captain known for his toughness and could try to hustle his way through the league's protocol. It would not be especially surprising to see him out there next week at home against Houston. However these rankings assume Lewan will need time to recover and reflect the possibility Pamphile will start at least this week. Lewan's absence might not be as huge an issue if the guard play was better. This line is a mid-tier unit with their best lineman and a border-line low-tier unit without him.

Indianapolis down three spots.

Left tackle Anthony Castonzo had been practicing through a hamstring injury and was listed as questionable against Cincinnati. These rankings assumed Castonzo would be ready for opening day but in fact it was Joe Haeg who got the start at left tackle. Haeg is a decent utility lineman but is out of his depth at left tackle. Castonzo is a veteran, known for toughness and there is a real chance he plays this week at Washington. However, the rankings are holding Castonzo out of the grade this week. The team also got some bad news as starting right tackle J'Marcus Webb was placed on injured reserve with a torn hamstring suffered on the 81st of 82 total offensive plays during the game. Rookie Braden Smith saw out the final play. Smith could get the call if Denzelle Good remains unavailable. Good started games at right tackle last season but has been rehabbing wrist and knee injuries this preseason. The Colts' line can be decent with Castonzo but are a low-tier unit without him.

* FRIDAY 9/14 UPDATE *

MIAMI down Three spots.

Left guard Josh Sitton has been placed on I.R. with a torn rotator cuff. Sitton played 100% of last week's snaps at Tennessee but appeared as questionable on the mid-week injury report. Sitton will undergo surgery and likely miss the entire season. Ted Larsen is a versatile backup with experience but is not an impact player in the run game like Sitton. The team signed Sitton (a four-time Pro Bowl selection with Green Bay and Chicago) to offset the loss of Mike Pouncey (a much younger three time Pro Bowl center) who went to Los Angeles Chargers in free agency. Sitton had not earned a full cohesion score yet so this downgrade is lesser than it would have been had it happened later in the season. Still, this is bad news for the Dolphins' line, which falls to the low-tier in the latest grades. Please note the rankings below are Wednesday's numbers, the chart will update in next week's article.

OTHER NEWS

These news blurbs are significant and should be watched but did not affect the current rankings:

ARZ - Right tackle Andre Smith questionable with an elbow injury. These rankings assume he plays.

HOU - Right tackle Seantrel Henderson broke his ankle. The team moved left tackle Julie'n Davenport to the right side and placed rookie Martinas Rankin at left tackle. Rankin was fine in the second half at New England.

JAX - Right tackle Jermey Parnell and center Brandon Linder are both questionable. Both players have knee injuries but the rankings assume they play.

NYG - The right side struggled in pass protection. Right tackle Ereck Flowers started the game with an awful tripping penalty and right guard Patrick Omameh was the source of the pressure during Eli Manning's pick-six.

NO - Left guard Andrus Peat missed the season opener. Josh LeRibius got the start and was part of an offense which put up 475 total yards and 40 points in the loss. These rankings expect Peat to recover from his quad injury this week. Left tackle Terron Armstead is also questionable. He is expected to be full go for a challenging matchup against Browns' defensive end Myles Garrett.

PIT - Right guard David Decastro is questionable with a fractured hand. Usually linemen play through hand injuries but this one was described as 'crunchy,' and might need a week or two off to heal to the point he can play with the cast. The rankings assume he plays but this situation bears further observation.

SEA - Right guard D.J. Fluker missed the season opener. J.R. Sweezy took Fluker's place. Holding on Sweezy brought back a big play by running back Chris Carson. Fluker is the key to any power running attack the Seahawks try to mount.

SF - Lost two interior starters at MIN. Center Mike Person and right guard Josh Garnett were both forced from the contest at Minnesota with foot injuries. During the game, Garry Gilliam went to right tackle and Mike McGlinchey played guard for the first time since middle school. This week Matt Tobin could get the start if Erik Magnuson is still out with injury.

WAS - Right tackle Morgan Moses is questionable. Washington has the best swing tackle option in the league in Ty Nsekhe, but still these rankings assume Moses plays.

FULL RANKINGS

Rank
Team
Last
Diff
Score
Overall Grade
Run Grade
Pass Grade
Cohesion
Notes
1
PHI
1
0
34.7
A+
A+
A+
5.0
2
PIT
2
0
31.7
A
A
A
5.0
3
ATL
3
0
31.6
A
A
A
4.5
4
GB
4
0
31.5
A
A
A
5.0
5
LAR
6
1
31.3
A
A+
A-
4.0
RG Jamon Brown suspended 2 weeks (Austin Blythe).
6
WAS
7
1
31.1
A-
A-
A
5.0
7
KC
8
1
31.0
A-
A
B+
5.0
8
JAX
9
1
30.9
A-
A
B+
4.5
9
BAL
11
2
30.8
A-
A
B+
5.0
Line playing well (Cohesion Boost).
10
NO
10
0
30.8
A-
B+
A
5.0
LG Andrus Peat missed Week 1 (Josh LeRibeus).
11
DAL
12
1
29.8
B+
A-
B
3.5
12
OAK
13
1
29.7
B+
A-
B
3.5
13
SF
16
3
29.5
B
B+
B-
4.0
RG Josh Garnett (Matt Tobin) and C Mike Person (Weston Richburg) out with foot injuries.
14
CHI
17
3
29.3
B-
B
C+
5.0
15
DET
18
3
29.3
B-
B
C+
4.0
16
DEN
19
3
29.3
B-
B-
B-
4.5
17
NYJ
22
5
29.0
B-
B-
B-
4.5
Line playing well (Cohesion Boost).
18
CAR
5
-13
28.6
C+
B-
C
4.0
RT Daryl Williams injured knee to IR (Amini Silatolu).
19
SEA
21
2
28.6
C+
B-
C
4.0
20
LAC
15
-5
28.5
C+
B-
C
4.0
21
TB
25
4
28.5
C+
B-
C
4.0
Line playing well (Cohesion Boost).
22
NE
23
1
28.4
C+
C
B-
4.5
23
CIN
27
4
28.3
C+
B-
C
3.5
LT Cordy Glenn individual grade boost. RG Alex Redmond coaches' decision starter over Trey Hopkins.
24
CLE
20
-4
28.0
C
C+
C-
4.0
LT Desmond Harrison was a surprise Week 1 starter; Joel Bitonio to LG.
25
MIA
24
-1
28.0
C
C+
C-
4.0
LG Josh Sitton to IR (Ted Larsen) MIA RANKED 28th as of 9-14, see downgrade notes.
26
TEN
14
-12
27.6
C
C+
C-
4.5
LT Taylor Lewan left the game with a concussion (Kevin Pamphile).
27
NYG
28
1
27.5
C
C+
C-
4.0
28
MIN
29
1
27.3
C-
C-
C-
3.5
C Pat Elfein still rehabbing left ankle (Brett Jones).
29
IND
26
-3
27.3
C-
C
D+
4.0
RT J'Marcus Webb to IR (Denzelle Good). LT Anthony Castonzo still out (Joe Haeg).
30
AZ
30
0
27.3
D+
D+
D-
4.0
31
HOU
31
0
27.2
D+
C-
D
3.5
RT Seantrel Henderson broken foot to IR (rookie Martinas Rankin to LT; Julien Davenport to RT).
32
BUF
32
0
26.9
D
C-
D-
4.5

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.

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