Pro Football Focus Oct 7, 2015It all starts up front. If you want to run the ball, you need the big guys to create some lanes. If you want to pass the ball, you need them to keep you upright in the pocket.This week, we’re going to pay special attention to those lineman who make good football possible. Yes, it’s offensive line rankings time after four weeks of the NFL season. See where your team comes.Editor’s note: Each team’s 2014 ranking is noted in parenthesis.32. Detroit Lions (14th)Pass blocking rank: 32ndRun blocking rank: 27thPenalties rank: 27thStud: While others around have floundered, the versatile Manuel Ramirez (+4.0) has excelled. He’s graded positively in every game, and has proven to be a tremendous draft day pick-up from the Broncos.Dud: The right tackle has been a disaster regardless of whoever has started, but it hasn’t been much better at center. Travis Swanson (-11.0) is the heir to the throne of Dominic Raiola, and to say it hasn’t gone well so far is an understatement.Summary: There’s a real litany of problems with the Lions line this year. Rookie Laken Tomlinson has struggled when pressed into action, Larry Warford isn’t healthy, and the right tackle spot has proved nothing more than a turnstile to pass rushers looking to fill their pockets with sacks, hits, and hurries. They need to get better—quick.31. Washington Redskins (12th)Pass blocking rank: 26thRun blocking rank: 32ndPenalties rank: 28thStud: As always seems to be the case, it’s Trent Williams (+4.4). The former first rounder is the team’s best offensive lineman by a distance, and has allowed just five hurries all year.Dud: Just what has happened to center Kory Lichtensteiger (-25.0)? He was impressive enough last year, earning a positive grade, but he’s performed as badly as any lineman in the league.Summary: While the team would have been hoping for more of an instant impact from Brandon Scherff, the real issue has been at the aforementioned center spot. Simply put, your center should not have given up 13 quarterback disruptions after four games, when he gave up just 16 total in 2014.30. Seattle Seahawks (19th)Pass blocking rank: 29thRun blocking rank: 28thPenalties ranks: 24thStud: None of the starters have earned a positive grade this year, which is telling. But credit to Drew Nowak (-2.8, who hasn’t looked like a complete liability.Dud: Unfortunately, Justin Britt (-14.8 hasn’t looked any better at guard than he did at tackle.Summary: It’s almost like the Seahawks have a contempt for their offensive line. Either that, or they’ve got a little too much confidence in the powers of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, because not only have they seemingly turned a blind eye towards the unit, they opted to get rid of its best player (Max Unger) last year.29. Baltimore Ravens (3rd)Pass blocking rank: 30thRun blocking rank: 21st,Penalties rank: 10thStud: We’re getting to the stage at PFF where we’re starting to think about who would make our own Hall of Fame. One name that is a lock? Marshal Yanda (+13.8 who is, as always, fantastic.Dud: The team is really missing Eugene Monroe, because James Hurst (-26.2) should not be manning anyone’s blindside.Summary: It’s been a case of poor play at the tackle spot that has Baltimore, with Hurst abysmal and Rick Wagner pretending like his excellent 2014 season never happened. The pair has allowed 35 quarterback disruptions.28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25th)Pass blocking rank: 24thRun blocking rank: 31stPenalties rank: 23rdStud: Can we pass? Before being injured in Week 2, Evan Smith (+0.5) was playing well enough.Dud: He’s shown improvements the pass two weeks, but the first two games of the year were particularly ugly for Donovan Smith (-12.4).Summary: Bad tackle play, below average guard play, and an injury to their starting center; this is a line in flux, and while the team can take solace in the fact that Ali Marpet hasn’t looked completely out of place, they’ll be annoyed that their big reputation guys (Logan Mankins and Gosder Cherilus) haven’t delivered.27. Miami Dolphins (32nd)Pass blocking rank: 31stRun blocking rank: 15thPenalties rank: 6thStud: The team has one of the best centers in the league in Mike Pouncey (+4.5). So, they have that going for them.Dud: In Dallas Thomas (-13.3) and Jamil Douglas (-17.2), the team has the worst set of starting guards in the league.Summary: Branden Albert can’t stay healthy, and their guards are playing at an extremely poor level, especially in pass protection, where they are making life really difficult for Ryan Tannehill. On the positive side, Ja’Wuan James is playing well.26. Green Bay Packers (4th)Pass blocking rank: 14thRun blocking rank: 30thPenalties rank: 31stStud: He hasn’t got as much push in the run game as he’d like, but Josh Sitton (+3.7) remains the best pass blocking guard in the league.Dud: It’s pretty obvious that Don Barclay (-22.0) is no Bryan Bulaga. He’s allowed a terrible 22 quarterback disruptions.Summary: The Packers suffer from poor play at tackle, where Barclay has been an unable fill in. Also, David Bakhtiari has been pushed around in the run game and flagged for five penalties. They’re undoing a lot of the good work of the interior.25. St. Louis Rams (31st)Pass blocking rank: 25thRun blocking rank: 22ndPenalties rank: 26thStud: The unit has no positive grades, but rookie tackle Rob Havenstein (-3.6) has played well enough.Dud: The same can’t be said of Greg Robinson (-8.1), who is starting to worry people with his performance. It’s certainly not a make or break year for him, but you’d like to feel you’re watching a second overall pick.Summary: For the most part, this is a very young line, and so there is hope in that; while they’re all graded below average, none present the kind of liabilities that stick out like a sore thumb. You’d hope they’d improve as the season went on, simply by taking their lumps, especially with two rookie starters.24. Chicago Bears (15th)Pass blocking rank: 27thRun blocking rank: 18thPenalties rank: 29thStud: There’s no doubt that Chicago is a better team when Jermon Bushrod (-1.9) is playing…Dud: …mainly because it means that Charles Leno Jr. (-7.5) isn’t.Summary: For a line that feels a bit thrown together, it could be much worse. They’ve improved at right tackle by moving Kyle Long there, but the loss at right guard has been significant as a result.23. San Diego Chargers (29th)Pass blocking rank: 23rdRun blocking rank: 23rdPenalties ranks: 16thStud: It has gone somewhat unnoticed how good a pickup King Dunlap (+2.1) has been for the Chargers these past few years. He’s been a solid left tackle in a league that’s in desperate need of them.Dud: Starting Chris Watt (-10.8 did not go well, with him allowing too much pressure up the middle.Summary: Injuries have hurt this line significantly; nine offensive lineman have already taken snaps for the group. It’s a shame, because there’s obviously talent there. But, if you can’t field a settled lineup, there will always be problems.22. San Francisco 49ers (9th)Pass blocking rank: 18thRun blocking rank: 26thPenalties ranks: 13thStud: It’s good to see Alex Boone (+3.9) playing somewhere near his best.Dud: Second-year center Marcus Martin (-14.1) needs to start playing better. He looks overwhelmed right now.Summary: The left side of the line is looking good, as you’d expect. It’s the rest of the line that is reeling from the losses of Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis, in particular. Those are huge shoes to fill, and the team hasn’t come close in with Erik Pears and Jordan Devey.21. Philadelphia Eagles (2nd)Pass blocking rank: 17thRun blocking rank: 25thPenalties rank: 10thStud: Even the line’s best player isn’t anywhere near his usual production. Jason Peters (+0.5) isn’t playing badly, but he’s not at his 2014 level right now.Dud: The team was always going to miss Evan Mathis, but Allen Barbre (-10.5) and his struggles have really highlighted it.Summary: The Eagles have had to deal with injuries, but perhaps even they didn’t think it would be as hard to replace Mathis and Todd Herremans as it has proved. What was one of the league’s best lines has taken a huge hit in the continuity department, and it’s affected everyone’s play.20. Denver Broncos (10th)Pass blocking rank: 22ndRun blocking rank: 20thPenalties ranks: 16thStud: It’s Evan Mathis (+3.7), but he hasn’t reached anywhere near the levels of play he was at in Philadelphia.Dud: It was a lot to ask of Ty Sambrailo (-10.6) to adjust to life as an NFL left tackle—indeed, proving too much. He has struggled throughout the season.Summary: The line does seem to be getting better, and the play of Matt Paradis can be considered a success. But with so much invested on defense, there is a feeling that Denver may have neglected this unit.19. Indianapolis Colts (17th)Pass blocking rank: 18thRun blocking rank: 16thPenalties rank: 21stStud: Second-year starter Jack Mewhort (+2.4) has played well, whether at guard or tackle. That’s a valuable trait to have.Dud: One of the most dominating guards in the run game in his prime, it’s a little sad to see Todd Herremans (-9.1) struggling so much in that regard right now.Summary: The interior has struggled to find the right combination as they’ve coped with injuries. The tackles haven’t played up to their capability (in the case of Anthony Castonzo, at least). So, while it hasn’t been bad, they haven’t continued on from the progress of 2014, and their struggles, as a result, have been highlighted by the sluggish start to the year for Andrew Luck.18. Jacksonville Jaguars (18th)Pass blocking rank: 28thRun blocking rank: 4thPenalties rank: 4thStud: We wondered if Zane Beadles (-0.5) might be on the chopping block, but instead, he’s delivered a solid start to the year.Dud: There’s been improvement from Luke Joeckel (-3.1), but not to the level that makes you confident he’ll ever live up to his draft slot.Summary: Nothing overly worrisome here, but nothing that stands out. As the ranking would suggest, a very average collection that needs to do a better job in pass protection.17. Tennessee Titans (28th)Pass blocking rank: 17thRun blocking rank: 20thPenalties rank: 20thStud: Is Taylor Lewan (+5.4) ready to be a top tier tackle? His early play suggests so.Dud: It’s disappointing that Chance Warmack (-4.2) has never lived up to the huge reputation he had coming out of Alabama.Summary: It could be worse, and given some of the struggles Jeremiah Poutasi has had, you get the feeling it may do so going forward. The real disappointment, though, is the fact that the Titans have invested big in their line, and instead of reaping the benefits, they’re rebuilding again.16. Houston Texans (5th)Pass blocking rank: 9thRun blocking rank: 24thPenalties ranks: 2ndStud: If his name isn’t already in the conversation, the start to 2015 proves Brandon Brooks (+5.7) needs to be regarded as one of the best guards in the game.Dud: Switching between guard and tackle hasn’t helped, but Derek Newton (-10.9) has reverted to his 2013 level of play, rather than following up on his strong 2014 contract year.Summary: Getting Duane Brown back will prove big, because without him and center Chris Myers, the line looked very unlike the one that finished in the top 5 last year. Still, there are plenty of question marks as they break in new talent.15. Minnesota Vikings (21st)Pass blocking rank: 16thRun blocking rank: 17thPenalties rank: 3rdStud: Credit to the versatile Joe Berger (+2.6) for filling in for John Sullivan admirably.Dud: The team likely didn’t expect T.J. Clemmings (-7.6) to have to start. He’s not ready to go one-on-one with players like Von Miller.Summary: Given the injuries they’ve had, this can be considered something of a win. Matt Kalil is playing better, Michael Harris looks like a different player at guard, and there’s Sullivan’s return to look forward to.14. New York Jets (13th)Pass blocking rank: 10thRun blocking rank: 19thPenalties rank: 10thStud: Will he prove worth the money? Only time will tell, but James Carpenter (+2.3) has certainly been an upgrade at the left guard spot.Dud: The team shouldn’t be too disappointed with his play in pass protection, but Breno Giacomini (-8.1) has had a poor grasp of the run game.Summary: Is this line playing as well as it can? It’s certainly not full of any spring chickens, and it will be concerning that both D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold look to be slowing down. For now, though, they’re doing just enough, and just enough is all Chris Ivory needs.13. Pittsburgh Steelers (8th)Pass blocking rank: 1stRun blocking rank: 29thPenalties rank: 30thStud: He might be the least heralded member of the line, but Ramon Foster (+8.1) is playing exceptionally good football.Dud: Replacing Maurkice Pouncey was always going to be tough. Cody Wallace (-16.4) is making it look even harder than we imagined.Summary: They’ll need Le’Veon Bell to be at his best, given how badly they’re run blocking right now. The loss of Pouncey has proved devastating in that regard. Still, the good news is that they’re really holding up well in pass protection.12. New York Giants (20th)Pass blocking rank: 12thRun blocking rank: 12thPenalties rank: 14thStud: This is what they wanted from Geoff Schwartz (+5.6) when they signed him.Dud: It never works well for any team when they’re having to start Marshall Newhouse (-9.3).Summary: As bad as they are at tackle, they are as good (if not better) on the interior. Indeed, when the combo of Justin Pugh, Schwartz, and Weston Richburg line up, there may not be a better interior line in football right now.11. Arizona Cardinals (24th)Pass blocking rank: 15thRun blocking rank: 10thPenalties rank: 4thStud: With just five hurries allowed all year, Jared Veldheer (+2.3) continues to prove he’s worth the money.Dud: He’s on the field, at least, and there have been many worse guards in the league. But you’d want more out of Jonathan Cooper (-4.3).Summary: It feels like it’s taken forever for the Cardinals to get anything resembling a decent offensive line. Well, after spending high draft picks and handing out big dollars in free agency, that day may be here. Now, can this line grow together if they all stay healthy?10. Kansas City Chiefs (27th)Pass blocking rank: 21stRun blocking rank: 3rdPenalties Rank: 16thStud: Whisper it quietly, but Eric Fisher (+4.2) has played really well since returning to right tackle.Dud: That’s good, because the guy he replaced, Jah Reid (-7.3), really wasn’t playing well at all.Summary: The offseason moves have worked, because Mitch Morse has hit the ground running, and Ben Grubbs has played better than anyone they had at guard last year. There are still some things to be decided, and it will be worth watching how Fisher plays as the season goes on, but it’s been an impressive turnaround so far for the Chiefs.9. Buffalo Bills (30th)Pass blocking rank: 13thRun blocking rank: 8thPenalties rank: 9thStud: Who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Richie Incognito (+9.4) is an interesting study—not because of “Bullygate”—but because a year away from the game has allowed him to recharge and come back better than ever.Dud: Rookies do tend to struggle, and John Miller (-10.6) is no exception.Summary: A big improvement here, and it’s not hard to figure out why, with Incognito the catalyst for a much-improved run blocking effort. Cordy Glenn has been his usual self, but it’s worth pointing out that Eric Wood has really elevated his game.8. New Orleans Saints (11th)Pass blocking rank: 11thRun blocking rank: 7thPenalties rank: 21stStud: A player who isn’t getting enough attention? Terron Armstead (+10.9). The left tackle is playing lights out right now.Dud: While his run blocking has been fun to watch, Tim Lelito (-3.9) needs to pass block better.Summary: They look rock solid at tackle, but there are questions up the middle. Jahri Evans is not the player he once was, we’ve mentioned the pass protection problems of Lelito, and Max Unger hasn’t found his stride yet. They can get better, and they might need to, if they want to make an unlikely playoff run.7. New England Patriots (23rd)Pass blocking rank: 7thRun blocking rank: 11thPenalties rank: 15thStud: Maybe the best right tackle of his generation, the consistency of Sebastian Vollmer (+8.4) should be admired.Dud: While Shaquille Mason (-5.0) has struggled in pass protection, given the Georgia Tech offense he came from, it could have been much worse in that regard.Summary: The Patriots have offered up a rotation of sorts, and as much as you’d think it wouldn’t work, it’s provided an increase in production from the group. Maybe the New England head coach knows what he’s doing after all …6. Cincinnati Bengals (7th)Pass blocking rank: 8thRun blocking rank: 9thPenalties rank: 6thStud: If one tackle appears to hate giving up pressure more than any other, it’s Andrew Whitworth (+11.0). He has allowed just two hurries all year.Dud: This could be the writing be on the wall for Andre Smith (-9.0). The team spent first and second round picks on tackles in the 2015 draft, and the play of Smith won’t keep them on the bench forever.Summary: The maddening inconsistency of Russell Bodine is the group’s biggest problem. If they can fix that, then the most complete team in the league might be even more complete.5. Oakland Raiders (16th)Pass blocking rank: 2nd,Run blocking rank: 14thPenalties rank: 16thStud: Just how well is Gabe Jackson (+10.0) playing? Enough that he made our All Pro team through four weeks.Dud: On the other end of the spectrum, J’Marcus Webb (-7.5) has not played well.Summary: Only one starter has a grade worse than -0.2, which tells you how consistently this line is performing. It a reward for the patience and shrewd pickups of Reggie McKenzie, who is rebuilding Oakland in a manner no one thought possible.4. Dallas Cowboys (1st)Pass blocking rank: 7thRun blocking rank: 5thPenalties rank: 11thStud: A true franchise left tackle, Tyron Smith (+8.0) has allowed fewer than one hurry per game.Dud: The team missed Ronald Leary early in the year, and probably learned that starting Mackenzy Bernadeau (-7.2) wasn’t something they want to do again.Summary: It’s been good, but not 2014-good. The injury to Leary hurt, but they haven’t quite found their stride running the ball yet. Still very impressive, though.3. Cleveland Browns (6th)Pass blocking rank: 3rdRun blocking rank: 4thPenalties rank: 25thStud: There will come a time when Joe Thomas (+13.0) doesn’t playing well. That time is not yet here.Dud: Coming back from injury, Alex Mack (-3.1) is the only Browns’ lineman with a negative grade.Summary: The O-line remains the strength of Cleveland’s offense, although it’s somewhat disappointing that Joel Bitonio hasn’t followed up his amazing rookie year with a strong start to his sophomore campaign.2. Carolina Panthers (22nd)Pass blocking rank: 5thRun blocking rank: 6thPenalties rank: 1stStud: The leader of a young and inexperienced line, Ryan Kalil (+6.6) seems to have grown as a player. He’s our top-ranked center right now.Dud: No surprise that Michael Oher (-9.9) has struggled. It’s not all bad news, though, because he’s been far from terrible in pass protection.Summary: The Panthers’ have shown remarkable turnaround from 2014, one of which the coaches and scouting staff can feel particularly smug. The team has a 2014 third-rounder (Trai Turner), a 2014 undrafted free agent (Andrew Norwell), and a 2012 undrafted free agent (Mike Remmers) all playing exceptionally well.1. Atlanta Falcons (26th)Pass blocking rank: 4thRun blocking rank: 2ndPenalties rank: 6thStud: What a difference a year makes. He was, quite frankly, awful last year as he played through injuries. But in 2015, Jake Matthews (+5.6) looks like one of the better linemen in the league.Dud: The only player with a negative grade is right tackle Ryan Schraeder (-0.1), and you can thank J.J. Watt for that.Summary: What a turnaround. Something you rarely see, Atlanta has morphed its scheme and personnel to achieve immediate results. Mike Person has been a revelation at center, and Chris Chester has proven to be a tremendous free agent pickup. Even Andy Levitre, who looked spent in Tennessee, has fit in seamlessly.
Some dummy was on here earlier today trying to tell me that "they've played well". lol.
They have not played very well, but you should take these rankings with a grain of salt. There are other factors that contribute to individual players receiving an unfair grade. For instance, teams will run stunts at rookie linemen all the time but they usually send two players through his gap, so even if he blocks the first one, he gets a negative grade for the other one getting through. It is not a perfect ratings system by any means.
I feel as though with the offensive line you have to grade them using the eye test rather than stats. It is hard to grade them by just stats and this years line has played inconsistent but fairly well considering there are two rookies.I am happy with Smith and Marpet and feel they both have a bright future.
Wait a minute…Falcons have the top ranked line? I thought they were horrible just last year? I thought it took like 5 years to fix anything in this league?How many years has that coach had to turn things around up there in Atlanta?...Well, he must be a Vet HC then because ...Oh.
He walked into a situation with a proven vet qb and proven stud wrs. Also their line last year had a toooooon of injuries. Even normal regression would make them not terrible.
Matthews is not a rook anymore either. It sure looks like Matthews was certainly the stud LT last year and not Robinson after all. Robinson is the weak link on a OL with two rookies starting and he went No.2 overall
“….Stud: Just how well is Gabe Jackson (+10.0) playing? Enough that he made our All Pro team through four weeks….”I know many on this board (myself included) wanted Gabe Jackson in the worst possible way. We passed on him for ASJ and Sims.
I think the Bucs o-line has played well. Mankins is simply collecting a paycheck though. He has not future beyond this year. I still don’t understand the hate towards Evan Smith. Cherilus is a decent backup so when Dotson returns it will solidify the o-lineDonovan Smith is progressing as you would expect as a rookie while Marpet is way ahead of schedule.
Wait a minute...Falcons have the top ranked line? I thought they were horrible just last year? I thought it took like 5 years to fix anything in this league?How many years has that coach had to turn things around up there in Atlanta?...Well, he must be a Vet HC then because ...Oh.
Even more, they drop Koetter and improve while we get him and are near the bottom. Not a good look.
In the run rankings there is no #1 and no #13, whereas there are 2 #20’s and 2 #4’s (or so it looks at first glance.Glad to see Gabe Jackson is doing well. Wanted him badly. Jackson was drafted in the 3rd after Sims,