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Offensive Line Review & Ratings: NFC Teams
John Tuvey
Updated August 16, 2013
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Arizona Cardinals

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 50 30 1,274 79.6 29 4.3 12
2011 54 32 1,396 87.3 26 4.1 24
2012 58 32 971 60.7 32 3.1 32

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 L.Brown A.Faneca L.Sendlein D.Lutui B.Keith
2011 L.Brown D.Colledge L.Sendlein D.Lutui B.Keith
2012 L.Brown D.Colledge L.Sendlein A.Snyder J.Bridges
2013 L.Brown J.Cooper (r) L.Sendlein D.Colledge E.Winston
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: The Cardinals signed Eric Winston to take over at right tackle, and after surrendering just one sack in the preseason opener there's reason for cautious optimism in Arizona.

Arizona's line was so bad last year, it's hard to say if not having left tackle Levi Brown for the entire season helped or hurt. Also hard to say if returning three starters plus getting Brown back from his torn triceps is good news or bad news. First-round pick Jonathan Cooper should help immediately; fellow rookie Earl Watford may join him sooner rather than later at the other guard spot.

FANTASY SPIN: At least Rashard Mendenhall is used to running behind shaky offensive lines; unless the rookie guards deliver even more than expected, he'll get little help up front. Carson Palmer, on the other hand, is used to a clean jersey. The Cards can hope Brown's return and a quick release from Carson will be enough to avoid yet another 50-sack season--and more importantly, get the ball out of Palmer's hands and into those of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

RUN BLOCKING: D
PASS BLOCKING: D
RETURNING REGULARS: 4
OVERALL GRADE: D

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Atlanta Falcons

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 23 3 1,772 110.8 8 4.0 20
2011 26 6 1,697 106.1 13 4.2 20
2012 28 7 1,228 76.8 28 3.7 30

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 S.Baker J.Blalock T.McClure H.Dahl T.Clabo*
2011 S.Baker J.Blalock T.McClure M.Johnson T.Clabo
2012 S.Baker J.Blalock T.McClure G.Reynolds T.Clabo
2013 S.Baker J.Blalock P.Konz G.Reynolds M.Johnson
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Mike Johnson, expected to step in for the departed Tyson Clabo, suffered a season-ending ankle injury so untested Lamar Holmes is next man up at right tackle. After a shaky exhibition opener this unit looked better in both run and pass blocking in the second preseason game so it's far too early to hit the panic button.

The cracks began to show last year--Matt Ryan absorbed a career-high 28 sacks--and the departure of Tyson Clabo and retirement of Todd McClure puts the spotlight squarely on Atlanta's front line. Second-year player Peter Konz slide over from guard--where he played in relief of an injured Garrett Reynolds last year--to his natural center position. The Falcons have been trying to give Mike Johnson a job for years; now he's competing with Lamar Holmes to replace Clabo at right tackle.

FANTASY SPIN: It wasn't all Michael Turner's fault last year, so you may need to dial back the rosy expectations for Steven Jackson behind this line. Atlanta was the worst team in the league in converting on short-yardage runs, but the hope is that either Johnson or Holmes--both well over 300 pounds--at right tackle will help pave the way for improvement. And while the 28 sacks was a career number for Ryan, the Falcons' pass protection was still top-10; unless the reshuffle is an abysmal failure, there should be no worries about continuing to feed Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez.

RUN BLOCKING: B-
PASS BLOCKING: B
RETURNING REGULARS: 3
OVERALL GRADE: B-

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