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Offensive Line Rankings and Notes: Week 7

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

Former offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz has been making these segments "Disrespectful Blocks Of The Week." Fans of the #offensiveline would do well to check em out.  

For those not yet retired, it was another rough and tumble week for the league's offensive linemen, as injuries are taking their toll. But it's not all bad news as a couple of NFC teams are getting healthy in time for the second half of the season. The big men, #beastmode, let's get after it! 

UPGRADES

NO + 3

Left tackle Terron Armstead returned to the lineup last week and the offense looked great in the home win over Detroit. Coaches were going to limit Armstead's reps but the veteran did not miss a snap and after the game he told reporters that he felt amazing. Armstead's return allows Andrus Peat to return to guard, where he has Pro Bowl potential. Rookie Ryan Ramcyzk is a work in progress at right tackle but overall the Saints' offensive line returns to the top-tier with their left tackle in the lineup. 

AZ + 15

The Cardinals' offensive line got a huge boost last week, and it wasn't just the arrival of running back Adrian Peterson. Left tackle D.J. Humphries and left guard Alex Boone both returned to the lineup after missing multiple weeks. The offense as a whole was productive in the 38-33 victory and the line has momentum as they travel to London for their matchup with the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals' line grade out as a mid-tier unit, trending upward in the latest rankings. 

DOWNGRADES

 

MIN - 8

Left guard Nick Easton missed last week's win over Green Bay with a calf injury. Jeremiah Sirles got the start in place of Easton and is on track to do so again this week against Baltimore as Easton did not practice on Wednesday. Sirles has some starting experience (12 games in his career thus far) and is a tough guy (former Nebraska Cornhusker) that the coaches like as a band-aid. Still, Easton is the more talented player and the Vikings' line takes a drop to the mid-tier while he recovers.  

DEN -3

Right tackle Menelik Watson is dealing with what coaches call "a serious calf injury." Watson is not practicing and is not likely to get the start this week at home against Tennessee. Billy Turner got the call last week but he broke his hand in the loss against the Giants. That leaves Donald Stephenson to get the start at right tackle this week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Stephenson has become a whipping post for Broncos fans as he has not played well since arriving via free agency. Another option is to slide left guard Allen Barbre to right tackle and give Max Garcia (who had been rotating with Barbre) his left guard job back full-time. Whatever happens, it's a small downgrade (for now) as the Broncos' line shuffles to replace a starter.   

GB - 14

The Packers' line is dealing with a ton of injuries. Left tackle David Bakhtiari made his return last week against Minnesota, but he re-aggrevated his hamstring injury and could not finish the contest. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga also started last week after a layoff for injury and he left the game with a concussion. Lane Taylor (who had been playing left tackle) injured his knee and ankle and appears to be the most seriously injured of the three. Bulaga and Bakhtiari are not in the rankings now but have been spotted doing light practice on Wednesday. It's possible they could play. Lane Taylor seems a longer shot for this week. Should the tackles return, the Packers' line would be about 16th, right in the middle of the mid-tier. But the current rankings reflects the real possibility all three starters are out and the line a mash unit boasting such luminaries as Lucas Patrick, Adam Pankey and Ulrick John.   

MIA - 12

Center Mike Pouncey left the second half of last week's win over Atlanta with a concussion. Jake Brendel filled in his place. Brendel is a former undrafted free agent out of U.C.L.A. and he had a surprisingly good showing against the Falcons. Although some beat writers are ethusiastically claiming Brendel is an upgrade over Pouncey, these rankings like it when veterans play with other veterans and create cohesion. Even if Brendel is a diamond in the rough, the Dolphins' line takes a hit to the short term without the former All-Pro Pouncey in the lineup. Keep in mind that Pouncey could find his way out of the league's protocol by the weekend (it has happened before) and with him the Dolphins' offensive line would grade out mid-tier, about 20th. Without Pouncey the Dolphins are a low-tier line (until Jake Brendel makes me eat my words). 

OTHER NEWS

 

BUF - RG Miller and Ducasse rotate. Will LT Glenn start? OT Henderson comes back from suspension.

DET - LT Greg Robinson benched but team could get Taylor Decker back after bye week.

JAC - C Brandon Linder improving from illness that held him out last two games.

PIT - RT Marcus Gilbert not healthy but Chris Hubbard good in replacement.

SEA - LG Luke Joeckel out a month with knee injury.

 

FULL RANKINGS

  Rank Team Old Diff Score Overall Run Pass Notes                                
TOP TIER 1 DAL 1 0 34.23 A++ A+ A+  
2 CLE 2 0 31.35 A+ A A+  
3 ATL 3 0 31.05 A+ B+ A  
4 OAK 4 0 31.03 A+ A+ A  
5 WAS 5 0 30.68 A A B+  
6 PHI 6 0 30.23 A B+ A  
7 CHI 7 0 30.15 A A B+  
8 TEN 8 0 30.13 A A B+  
9 NO 12 3 29.78 B+ B+ B+ LT Armstead returned.
10 PIT 9 -1 29.65 B+ B+ B+ RT Gilbert (Hubbard). 
11 LAR 10 -1 29.4 B+ A- B  
MID TIER 12 NE 13 1 29.03 B+ B+ B+  
13 SF 14 1 28.98 B B B+  
14 DET 15 1 28.98 B B- B+ LT Robinson & LG Lang (BYE)
15 AZ 30 15 28.83 C- C- D+ LG Boone returned.
16 TB 17 1 28.78 B B+ B-  
17 IND 20 3 28.63 B- B- C  
18 MIN 11 -7 28.6 B+ B+ B+ LG Easton (Sirles).
19 CAR 21 2 28.6 B- B B- C Kalil (Larsen)
20 HOU 22 2 28.6 B- B B- LT Brown holding out.  
21 DEN 18 -3 28.48 B B B RT Watson (???).
LOW TIER 22 NYJ 23 1 28.48 C+ C+ C+  
23 LAC 24 1 28.4 C+ C+ C+  
24 KC 25 1 28.28 C+ B- C C Morse (Fulton) & RG Duvernay. (Devey)
25 JAX 26 1 28.28 C+ B- C Monitor C Linder.
26 BUF 27 1 28.1 C C+ C- RG Miller (Ducasse). Henderson activated. 
27 CIN 28 1 27.9 C C+ C-  
28 BAL 29 1 27.9 C C+ C-  
29 NYG 31 2 27.6 C- C- D+  
30 GB 16 -14 27.35 B B- B+ LT Bakhtiari, LG Taylor & RT Bulaga out. 
31 MIA 19 -12 27.18 B- B- B+ C Pouncey (Brendel). 
32 SEA 32 0 26.63 D+ C D LG Joeckel (Glowinski)

 

If there are any questions about a team or lineman not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact me via Twitter.