Week 9 is upcoming and injuries are starting to pile up. There is a slew of offensive line news, let's get to it.
Tampa Bay Plus 10.
The Bucs got their team leader Logan Mankins back in the lineup last week, just in time for in a big overtime victory against the Atlanta Falcons. With Mankins back in the lineup, the Buccaneers line looks more or less how it was supposed to look in the offseason, with the exception of Gosder Cherilus still filling in for Demar Dotson. Some say that Mankins is old and done but he's still well above average and the team simply plays better with him in the lineup. With Mankins back, The line rises to 15th overall in the rankings, good for a mid-tier spot. They have a favorable matchup this week versus the Giants' defensive front seven (see the Match-up's of Note below for more details).
Baltimore plus 10.
The Ravens are on a bye week, but comments from the coaching staff seem to indicate that left tackle Eugene Monroe will be back in the lineup after the bye. This is good news as James Hurst has been beaten often in his place. At left guard, Kelechi Osemele played last week against San Diego and should be counted upon to rejoin the lineup going forward. However there was no word on center Jeremy Zuttah, who left last week's game and was replaced by John Urschel. Urschel is a tough player but his inexperience with snaps hurt the offense. Keep an eye on the center spot, it's not clear how much time Zuttah will miss, but it could be a couple weeks. Getting their left tackle and guard back, the Ravens rise ten spots, to 8th in the rankings.
Buffalo plus 4.
The Bills get healthier with right tackle Seantrel Henderson back in the lineup, in place of Cyrus Kouandijo. Fully recovered from a concussion, Henderson is a better overall player, especially in the passing game, and with his return the Bills rise to the mid-tier, at 20th overall in the rankings.
Miami minus 3.
Right tackle Ja'Wuan James was carted off against New England last week, and he will reportedly miss at least a month with a severe toe injury. The primary plan is for swing tackle Jason Fox to replace James. Fox isn't an amazing player and the coaches are toying with the idea of shifting Dallas Thomas over to right tackle from guard. That change would allow Jamil Douglas to rejoin the starting line-up. Either way the team will miss James, and it's a hit to talent and cohesion. The Dolphins' line drops three spots, to 14th overall in the rankings.
Cincinnati minus 8.
Right tackle Andre Smith has been ruled out for the Thursday night against Cleveland. Smith has a concussion, and did not pass the protocol in time to play. Eric Winston will replace Smith. Winston could possibly be decent in a spot start, but the team should hope that Smith recovers quickly. Without Smith the Bengals' line falls from the top-tier to the mid-tier, currently checking in at 15th in the offensive line rankings.
Chicago minus 6.
The Bears had a makeshift offensive line on Sunday against Minnesota with the lineup as: LT Leno, LG Vlad, C Slauson, RG Omameh, RT Long. Slauson reportedly graded out well at center but the lineup is weaker with Omameh in there instead of Hroniss Grasu (or Will Montgomery). The lineup is also weaker without Jermon Bushrod, who appears to be a healthy bench for the rebuilding Bears. As Bushrod is reportedly not in the team's long-term plans, they don't want to play him. Leno is a decent player but not that great of an athlete. With all these changes, the Bears' line drops six slots in the rankings, to 18th overall.
Carolina minus 9.
Starting center Ryan Kalil was inactive with an ankle injury. Fernando Velasco replaced. It is not clear that Kalil will be back in the lineup this weekend. He is their best lineman and the unit is not the same without him. In addition, left guard Andrew Norwell left the game with leg injury. Many believe Norwell is ascending player, and while he has gotten better, he's far from elite. Chris Scott initially replaced Norwell, but he was so terrible, that he was replaced by Amini Silatolu. Silatolu saw the majority of the snaps and should be the starter until Norwell recovers. It is not clear when that will be, but Norwell did not participate in practice this Wednesday, and he could miss this week versus Green Bay. Without two starters, the Panthers' line falls nine spots, to 29th overall in the offensive line rankings.
San Diego minus 14.
In what is becoming a weekly tradition, the Chargers' line was ravaged by injury this weekend. Left tackle King Dunlap left the game against Baltimore with a high ankle sprain, and it could be a multi-week injury. Chris Hairston replaced. Left guard Orlando Franklin was inactive and Kenny Wiggins got the start. During the game, Chris Watt hurt his shoulder, and was replaced by Trevor Robinson. The team must think Watt is hurt badly as they signed J.D. Walton for depth. The line will get better the second either Dunlap or Franklin return the lineup. However I am not comfortable predicting that outcome for this week. Missing several starters, the Chargers' line falls to 31st in the rankings. it should be noted that Philip Rivers has been productive all year behind a terrible offensive line, and this downgrade is mostly relevant to the running attack. Great quarterbacks can overcome bad line play.
Week 9 Match-Ups of Note
Positive Match-Up's to Trust
- 4th NO O-Line* vs. 23rd TEN defensive front seven (+19). *if Armstead and Evans play
- 6th OAK O-Line @ 24th PIT defensive front seven (+18).
- 12th DEN O-Line @ 29th IND defensive front seven (+15).
- 15th TB O-Line vs. 26th NYG defensive front seven (+11).
Negative Match-Up's to Fade
- 32nd STL O-Line @ 10th MIN defensive front seven (-22).
- 20th BUF O-Line vs. 7th MIA defensive front seven (-13).
- 17th JAX O-Line vs. 4th NYJ defensive front seven (-13).
- 29th CAR O-Line* vs. 19th GB defensive front seven (-10). *If Kalil and Norwell don't play.
A look back on Week 8's Match-up's of Note:
Last week the predictions went 4-4 with the Jets game coming off the board with Nick Mangold's injury. On the season there have been 50 positive predictions and 33 negative ones.
NE - T Cannon and G Jackson are unlikely to play vs Washington.
Sebastian Vollmer would stay at left tackle, Cameron Fleming on the right. With Shaq Mason, Josh Kline and David Andrews inside. The Patriots' line have been a hodgepodge but that hasn't stopped Tom Brady at home at any point this year. There's no point in downgrading this line, already rated among the low tier.
NO - Andrus Peat returns to practice.
The first rounder made an appearance in open practice on Wednesday, albeit in a limited fashion. Terron Armstead and Jahri Evans appeared to take maintence days off and should play Sunday.
IND - C Kheled Holmes late scratch at Carolina
Replacement Jonotthan Harrison fumbled the second snap from scrimmage which the Panthers recovered. Holmes was limited in Wednesday's practice, which is a positive sign that he should play this week.
ARI - C Lyle Sendlein MRI on shoulder
Lyle Sendlein did not miss any snaps during the contest at Cleveland, but he did require an MRI on his shoulder when the team returned home. The Cards are on a bye so we will revisit this situation next week. If Sendlein can't go, A.Q. Shipley is the next man up.
NYG- RG Geoff Schwartz out, John Jerry replaced.
Right guard Geoff Schwartz left the contest against New Orleans in the third quarter. John Jerry took his place. It is possible that Schwartz plays this weekend, so there is no downgrade at this time. This situation should be watched however, as John Jerry is not a good player. In related news, the team only has one week left to make a decision on Will Beatty, still on the PUP list.
Did Not Participate in Weds Practice but should play SUN
- NO - Terron Armstead
- NO - Jahri Evans
- JAX - Zane Beadles
- NYG - Geoff Schwartz
- NYJ - Willie Colon
- NYJ - Nick Mangold
- PHI- Jason Peters
- STL - Rob Havenstein
- TB - Logan Mankins
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 9 Offensive Line Rankings:
|8||BAL||18||10||30.65||B+||B+||B+||Monroe & Osemele back.|
|14||MIA||11||-3||29.55||B||B||B+||Ju'Wuan James out.|
|15||TB||25||10||29.4||B||B+||B-||Logan Mankins back.|
|16||CIN||8||-8||29.15||B-||B-||B-||Andre Smith out.|
|19||CHI||13||-6||28.4||B-||B-||C+||Hroniss Grasu out.|
|20||BUF||24||4||28.4||C||C||C-||Seantrel Henderson back.|
|29||CAR||20||-9||26.85||D||D||D||Norwell & Kalil out.|
|31||SD||17||-14||26.4||D||D||D||Dunlap, Franklin, Watt out.|