Offensive Line Rankings and Notes: Week 8 - Footballguys

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

UPGRADES

Washington up seven slots.

Left guard Shawn Lauvao played all the snaps last week at home against Dallas. It was his first start since he injured his calf during Week 2 against Indianapolis. Lauvao had a mixed return, allowing three pressures of quarterback Alex Smith but opening some decent holes in the rushing attack. Overall, Lauvao's return was a boost to the lineup, as it allowed usual starting center Chase Roullier to claim his natural spot, and more importantly, put Tony Bergstrom back on the bench. The run game was improved with Lauvao in the lineup, and the line produced 130 yards on the ground on the way to the victory. Lauvao did not practice on Wednesday but he was working with trainers on the side. Lauvao should be able to make the start this week on the road against the New York Giants. Assuming Lauvao makes another start, this line grades as a top-tier unit.

Detroit up seven slots.

After spending two weeks in the league's concussion protocol, veteran right guard T.J. Lang made his 136th career start last week at home against Miami. Kenny Wiggins had been doing a decent job in place of Lang but the running attack looked outstanding last week, totaling 248 yards in the game. Many of those yards were behind Lang, and the first round rookie left guard Frank Ragnow. Along with center Graham Glasgow, the Lions' boast one of the nastier interiors in the league. The tackles are doing a good job protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was hit only twice in the home victory. The Lions' line is a solid, mid-tier unit who looks to keep their momentum going this week when they host Seattle.

DOWNGRADES

Atlanta down five slots.

Starting right guard Brandon Fusco was placed on injured reserve this week with a broken ankle he suffered during the Monday Night Football win against the Giants. Backup center Ben Garland took over in the game and played 38 snaps - 60 percent of the game. Garland barely lost out to Wes Schweitzer in a battle for the right guard spot before the 2017 season. Garland is 30 years old but only has three career starts. The team signed Rees Odhiambo off Indianapolis' practice squad and welcomed Austin Pasztor back to the roster. Pasztor was with the team last season and has experience in the offensive system. The Falcons' offensive line has talent, such as left tackle Jake Matthews who is in the best form of his career as he plays for a second contract. Still, the team lost both starting guards in the last month, and as a result, their grade has fallen out of the top-tier.

NY Jets down three slots.

Starting center Spencer Long is nursing several broken fingers which affected his shotgun snaps during the home loss against Minnesota. Long had been playing through the finger injury but an additional ankle injury forced him from the contest in the fourth quarter. Jonotthan Harrison played three offensive snaps in the contest and could make the start if Long cannot go. Long did not practice on Wednesday and while he is officially questionable for the game at Chicago, the team might give him the week off if only to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold to corral wild snaps in passing situations. The Jets' line still grades as a mid-tier option, but center remains a weak spot and if Harrison does start, he could have his hands full in Chicago.

Kansas City down six slots.

The team placed center Jordan Devey on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle suffered during the win over Cincinnati. Devey, making his second start in a row in place of center Mitch Morse, played all of the offensive snaps last week, so there was no replacement needed during the game. However, Morse is not out of the league's concussion protocol yet and the team may have to start either Austin Reiter or Jeff Allen at the pivot. Reiter is a decent center prospect but only has one career start, two years ago for Cleveland. Allen has over 60 starts but none at center. Meanwhile, Andrew Wylie made his first career start last week after usual right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was also placed on injured reserve. The team signed James Murray from the practice squad for depth and assuming Morse can't go, it should be interesting to see who out of Allen or Reiter the team announces as the starting center for this week's contest against Denver. The Chiefs' offense has been dealing fantasy points lately but the interior of the offensive line has been snake bit over the last month and the line is fast approaching low-tier status.

Cincinnati down three slots.

Right tackle Bobby Hart has been missing most practices this season with a back injury, and this week is no exception. Hart is playing through the injury but his effectiveness has reached all-time lows, even by his standards. Right guard Alex Redmond, whom the coaches like as a physical prospect, has been seriously struggling in pass protection since being elevated to the starting lineup this season. The result is a completely unreliable right side of the offensive line, and other teams are systematically attacking this vulnerability. The line has some hope for the future, as Cordy Glenn has been playing lockdown on the left side, and center Billy Price should provide an instant boost when he recovers from his foot injury. Price's return could allow the coaches to move Trey Hopkins back to right guard and bench Redmond. But the offense will not be with Price this weekend for the contest at Tampa Bay. There's no obvious replacement for Bobby Hart, as Jake Fisher is dealing with his own injuries. The Bengals' line grades as a low-tier option in the latest rankings.

Oakland down four slots.

The Raiders were on a bye week, allowing the team to recover from their trip to London, and host the Indianapolis Colts this week. Even with the extra time, the line could still be without left guard Kelechi Osemele, who has been battling a knee injury. Osemele did not practice on Wednesday, but Jon Feliciano, dealing with a rib injury, did participate. The injury report mentions two other starters, left tackle Kolton Miller (knee) and right guard Gabe Jackson (pectoral), but they should both play. This downgrade is primarily because of the extended absence of Osemele, who is the team's best lineman and a true power running force when healthy.

NY Giants down two slots

The coaches benched right guard Patrick Omameh before last week's loss at Atlanta on Monday Night Football. Omameh was replaced by veteran John Greco, who had been the starting center. The team elevated Spencer Pulley to starting center, which freed up Greco to play his more natural guard position. While Pulley is a decent starting center, Omameh was supposed to be a decent starting guard. Like the coaches' recent decision to elevate Chad Wheeler to right tackle, these moves feel like moving deck chairs on the Titanic. The grade on the Giants' line remains low-tier.

Minnesota down two slots.

Left guard Tom Compton has a knee sprain and 24-year-old backup Danny Isidora could get his second career start against New Orleans. Neither are elite options but Compton is better against the run and he had been building cohesion with center Pat Elfein. Isidora is an interesting prospect but the Vikings' line has faced a ton of uncertainty lately and needs left tackle Riley Reiff to recover from his foot injury. Reiff has missed the last two games, forcing Rashod Hill to the left side, and putting Brian O'Neill into the lineup. Reiff has been limited in practice this week. If the Vikings get him back in the lineup, they would grade as a mid-tier line, 23rd overall. Without him and Compton, they grade as the league's worst unit this week.

OTHER NEWS

AZ - Pugh in, Iupati out. The team's three top guards -- Mike Iupati (back), Justin Pugh (hand), and Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) -- are all considered day-to-day. It's a projection but the model expects Pugh to play, two weeks after suffering a broken hand.

LAC - RT Joe Barksdale played. Barksdale played 12 snaps last week (27% of plays) including Mike Williams' long touchdown catch in the third quarter. Sam Tevi appears to remains the starter but this situation will be revisited after the team's Week 8 bye.

NO - Various injuries. LG Andrus Peat suffered a concussion in practice last week. Larry Warford was unable to play through a back injury, and Josh LeRibeus couldn't finish the game Sunday after a painful ankle injury. Max Unger was added to the injury report with a hand injury. He did play 100% of the snaps. The only player who appears to have a multi-week injury is LeRibeus, but the Saints' depth is being tested.

TEN - RG Josh Kline is injured. Kline limped off the field with 43 seconds left in the game. With Corey Levin already starting to Quinton Spain, Dennis Kelly took Kline's place. The Titans are on a bye.

FULL RANKINGS

Rank
Team
Old
Diff
Score
Overall Grade
Run Grade
Pass Grade
Cohesion
Notes
1
LAR
1
0
32.3
A
A+
A-
5.0
2
PHI
3
1
32.0
A
A+
A+
3.5
3
PIT
2
-1
31.7
A
A+
A-
5.0
4
NO
6
2
30.8
A-
B+
A
5.0
5
WAS
12
7
30.6
A-
A
B+
4.5
LG Shawn Lauvao returned to the lineup (Chase Roullier to C).
6
GB
7
1
30.5
A-
B+
A
4.0
7
DAL
8
1
30.3
B+
A
B
4.0
8
BAL
10
2
30.3
B+
A
B+
4.5
LG Alex Lewis could return to the lineup (James Hurst/Orlando Brown to RT).
9
ATL
4
-5
30.1
B+
A-
B
3.5
RG Brandon Fusco placed on injured reserve with a broken ankle (Ben Garland).
10
TEN
9
-1
30.1
B+
A
B
4.0
11
SF
11
0
30.0
B+
B
A-
4.5
12
SEA
13
1
29.8
B+
B+
B-
5.0
13
CHI
14
1
29.3
B
B+
B-
5.0
14
DET
21
7
29.3
B
A-
C+
4.0
RG T.J. Lang returned to the lineup.
15
CLE
15
0
29.0
B
B+
B-
4.5
16
LAC
16
0
29.0
B
B+
B-
4.0
RT Joe Barksdale splitting reps with Sam Tevi.
17
JAX
19
2
28.9
B-
B-
B-
4.0
18
CAR
19
1
28.6
C+
C+
C+
4.0
19
IND
20
1
28.5
C+
B-
C
4.0
20
NYJ
17
-3
28.5
C+
C+
C+
4.0
C Spencer Long is questionable (Jonotthan Harrison)
21
TB
22
1
28.5
C+
C
B-
4.0
22
HOU
26
4
28.2
C
C
C
4.5
23
NE
27
4
28.1
C
C-
C+
4.5
24
KC
18
-6
28.0
C-
C-
C+
3.0
C Mitch Morse in concussion protocol (Jordan Devey to IR, Austin Reiter or Jeff Allen to center).
25
BUF
25
0
28.0
C-
C+
C-
4.5
26
CIN
23
-3
27.9
C-
C
D+
3.5
The right side of Alex Redmond and Bobby Hart are leaky in pass protection.
27
MIA
29
2
27.8
C-
C-
C-
4.5
28
OAK
24
-4
27.7
C-
C
D+
3.5
LG Kelechi Osemele still not practicing.
29
AZ
31
2
27.5
D+
C
D+
4.5
RG Justin Pugh likely to play but LG Mike Iupati and Jeremy Vujnovich still injured.
30
NYG
28
-2
27.5
D+
C-
D
3.5
RG Patrick Omameh benched (Spencer Pulley to C, John Greco to RG).
31
DEN
32
1
27.3
D+
D+
D+
3.5
32
MIN
30
-2
27.2
D+
C-
D
4.0
LG Tom Compton likely out with a knee injury (Danny Isidora). LT Riley Reiff is questionable (#23 ranked line with Reiff)

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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