Week one of the regular season. No more messing around, these games are for real. The big men, the offensive line. Let's get after it!
The Cardinals swooped in on former Minnesota Vikings guard Alex Boone after his unexpected cut. The bulk of Boone's NFL experience is at right guard and while it won't happen in time for Week 1, Boone probably will replace Evan Boehm at right guard in short order. Boone also could be Mike Iupati insurance at left guard if/when the big man gets injured again. Boone even has experience at right tackle and could be considered an emergency option. The Cardinals' offensive line has crossed the barrier to upper tier with the signing.
The Seahawks line isn't the worst in the league any longer. The lineup is gaining cohesion and it will be interesting to see how the left side holds up under a real pass rush. Rees Odhiambo will be targetted early and often by opposing defensive coordinators, starting week one against Green Bay.The additions of Matt Tobin and Isaiah Battle via trades could prove to be helpful to this beleaguered unit. Left guard Luke Joeckel underwent Regiokine treatment on his knee last week and is expected to start the regular season. The Seahawks' offensive line remains a low tier option but the trend is pointing upward.
Former first round pick Joshua Garnett was put on injured reserve last week. It is not necessarily the end of Garnett's season. If Garnett's rehab goes well, he could be one of the players that the team targets for reinstatement from injured reserve. In the near term, Zane Beadles starts at left guard while Brandon Fusco starts at the right. Both are experienced veterans, and Laken Tomlinson was acquired in a trade with the Detroit Lions to push both players. Still, the loss of Garnett hurts from both a cohesion and a talent perspective, and the 49ers' offensive line falls to the mid-tier in the latest rankings.
The team drafted Pat Elfein to compete with Nick Easton at center. Elfein looked great, but Easton also had some excellent plays at left guard this preseason while Boone was sitting out. The team made a financial and football decision to get rid of Alex Boone and go with the younger, cheaper Easton. It is a perfectly reasonable decision and probably is the correct one for the long term. However, in the short term, the line loses its most experienced starter in Boone. Mike Remmers has been an adventure at right tackle this preseason, perhaps he just needed his old number back. The Vikings' offensive line falls to the lowest spot in the rankings.
BUF - LT Cordy Glenn expected to play week 1.
Cordy Glenn has missed time this preseason but should be ready for the regular season home opener against the New York Jets.
NO - C Max Unger expected to play week 1. LT Terron Armstead removed from PUP.
Max Unger played in preseason week 4 and looks full go. Terron Armstead is on the 53-man roster, which means the team believes he will be ready before Week six. Ryan Ramcyzk will start at left tackle until Armstead is ready.
JAX - Still not sure of their LG starter.
Patrick Omameh will probably get the start over Earl Watford and Tyler Shatley. But no one really knows for sure.
CHI - LG Kyle Long week 1 injury situation hazy.
Last two seasons, the Bears' offensive line started week 1 of the regular season as a full team despite not playing together all preseason. They could make it three years in a row and prove the current rankings wrong. However, Long seems really hurt this time and it is too risky to keep him in the rankings for this week. Cody Whitehair will likely start at left guard while Hroniss Grasu will likely start in Whitehair's center spot.
HOU - LT Duane Brown not expected to play week 1.
Duane Brown's hold out has not ended and the team expects to be without its best lineman for week one against Jacksonville.
Looking for the offensive line vs defensive front weekly feature from last season? That blurb is now its own article, called "In The Trenches." It is co-written with Justis Mosqueda.
|7||BUF||7||0||30.35||A+||B+||A||LT Glenn expected to play week 1.|
|11||AZ||12||1||29.45||B+||B+||B+||Signed OG Boone (backup).|
|MID TIER||12||NO||13||1||29.15||B||B||B||Assuming C Unger plays.|
|16||SF||9||-7||28.98||B-||B+||B||LG Garnett to IR.|
|LOW TIER||22||CHI||22||0||28.53||C+||B-||C+||Assuming LG Long out. #11 w/ Long.|
|28||HOU||28||0||28.1||C||C||C||LT D. Brown out week 1. #12 w/ Brown.|
|29||SEA||32||3||27.38||C||C-||C-||Traded for OT Battle.|
|32||MIN||29||-3||27.1||C||C-||C-||Cut LG Boone.|
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.