Here we are, fellow football fans, at the end of another exciting regular season. Hopefully it was a successful one for you, and hopefully these offensive line articles were a small part of that success. On a personal note I truly enjoy writing these articles and can't wait to do it again next season. Without further ado, let's get after the news and notes.
Green Bay minus 10.
The walls came crumbling down for the Packers' offensive line this week against Arizona. Left tackle David Bakthiari was a surprise inactive on game day, leaving Don Barclay to man the left side. Barclay was a disaster, giving up four sacks. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga hurt his ankle and could not finish the game. Josh Walker took his place and also was uneven. Bulaga is back in practice this week but there's no sign of Bakthiari, and that could spell trouble for the Packers' skill position players. Without their starting left tackle, and with Barclay being such a terrible replacement, the Packers' line falls ten spots, to 13th, firmly in the mid tier of the rankings.
Tennessee minus 14.
Talented left tackle Taylor Lewan left the game against Houston last week with a concussion. He has not been cleared to practice and it's not essential for the team to rush him back. Last week, the team turned to right tackle Byron Bell to swap over to the left side, with Jamon Meredith stepping into Bell's right tackle spot. This week, rookie Jeremiah Poutasi could also be in the mix, as it appears to be a preseason type atmosphere for the Titans. Without their best lineman, the Titans' offensive line falls to 30th in the rankings, a low-tier grade.
San Diego minus 11.
Could this injury ravaged season for the Chargers get any worse? The answer of course is yes, as the line lost three significant players last week. Their best player Orlando Franklin, and the center Trevor Robinson left the game concussed. Neither player was seen practicing. Chris Hairston, a defacto starter for most of the year, was also unable to finish last week's game, and his injury is vague but described as abdominal in nature. Hairston sounds the closest to playing but assuming that none of these players can go this weekend, right tackle Joe Barksdale would slide to left tackle and Tyreek Burwell would get his first start of the year in place of Barksdale. J.D. Walton would be the replacement center for Robinson. All of this adds up to an eleven slot drop for the Chargers, who check in at 31st overall in the offensive line rankings.
New England minus 5.
The Patriots lost Sebastian Vollmer last week against the Jets. He was immediately carted off and ruled out for the remainder of the game. Vollmer, normally the starting right tackle, had been playing on the left side in the place of Nate Solder. Without Vollmer, LaAdrian Waddle, previously of the Detroit Lions, was elevated to left tackle. At one point Waddle also left the game with a shoulder or stinger, and right tackle Marcus Cannon slid over to the left side, with Cameron Fleming taking Cannon's place. Waddle made it back into the game but wasn't effective. All of this upheaval hasn't been good for the Patriots' offense, which wasn't productive last week. This week, the team is saying that Vollmer is not "seriously hurt" and could return in a couple weeks. However in the short run it looks like either Waddle or Fleming will start, and the Miami Dolphins' defensive front seven grades out well in weekly match-ups. Without Vollmer, the Patriots drop to 32nd overall, the worst offensive line in the rankings.
Week 17's Match-ups of Note:
- 3rd PHI O-Line @ 26th NYG defensive front seven (+23).
- 6th HOU O-Line vs. 25th JAX defensive front seven (+19).
- 20th ATL O-Line vs. 32nd NO defensive front seven (+12).
- 2nd NYJ O-Line @ 13th BUF defensive front seven (+11).
- 32nd NE O-Line vs. 8th MIA defensive front seven (-24).
- 31st SD O-Line @ 12th DEN defensive front seven (-19).
A quick word on why Philadelphia is the picture in the article this week. The first reason is that there were no upgrades in the rankings. The second is that they have a favorable matchup. But with all these comments coming out about the players not wanting to play for this particular coach (see Jason Peters note below), his firing should be grounds for celebration. The locker room could respond to Pat Shurmur and there was a similar effect when Dan Campbell took over for the Dolphins earlier in the season. Look for the Eagles to be loose and play surprisingly well against the Giants, who were lifeless last weekend.
A Look Back at Week 16's Match-up's of Note:
Last week's predictions were 7-5, bringing the total on the year to 92 good predictions and 65 bad predictions (58.5%).
PHI - LT Jason Peters "tapped out" against Washington
Prior to the Chip Kelly termination, this troubling story emerged. Jason Peters, the team's only offensive Pro Bowler, reportedly took himself out of the game in the second half, with an elbow injury.Peters has been playing hurt all season and has been a cornerstone for this team. Peters is back in practice and looks like he will play in the final game of the season.
NYG - RT Marshall Newhouse left game with a concussion.
Bobby Hart took his place in the loss at Minnesota. These players grade out similarly so there is no change to the rankings at this time.
SEA - Alvin Bailey and Patrick Lewis struggle against STL
Center Patrick Lewis reportedly apologized to the team for his play, and Alvin Bailey was not good replacing Russell Okung. The team needs better play out of this unit, if they want to have success in the post season.
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 or in the Shark Pool.
Week 17 Offensive Line Rankings
|13||GB||3||-10||29.1||B-||B||B-||Bakthiari still out.|
|LOW TIER||22||SEA||24||2||27.65||C-||C||C-||Okung still out.|
|31||SD||20||-11||25.9||F||D-||F||Franklin, Hairston & Robinson out.|
Week 17 Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|5||New York (A)|
|26||New York (N)|