The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, Guest. You are not logged in.   | Login  |  Help
HOME FANTASY DRAFT KIT IN SEASON ARTICLES NEWS STATS FORUMS TEAMS PLAYERS NFL DRAFT NFL ABOUT TICKETS myHuddle

FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

Offensive Line Review & Ratings: NFC Teams
John Tuvey
Updated August 16, 2013
Follow Follow @jtuvey
 
  TEAM MENU Ratings Summary Page
AFC North AFC South AFC East AFC West NFC North NFC South NFC East NFC West
Baltimore Houston Buffalo Denver Chicago Atlanta Dallas Arizona
Cincinnati Indianapolis Miami Kansas City Detroit Carolina New York St. Louis
Cleveland Jacksonville New England Oakland Green Bay New Orleans Philadelphia San Francisco
Pittsburgh Tennessee New York San Diego Minnesota Tampa Bay Washington Seattle

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

^ Back to Team Menu

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-

^ Back to Team Menu

Carolina Panthers

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 1,683 105.2 11 4.3 11
2011 35 15 1,643 102.7 14 5.3 1
2012 36 15 1,256 78.5 26 3.9 22

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Gross* T.Wharton R.Kalil* M.Bernadeau J.Otah
2011 J.Gross T.Wharton R.Kalil* G.Schwartz J.Otah
2012 J.Gross A.Silatolu (r) R.Kalil G.Hangartner B.Bell
2013 J.Gross A.Silatolu R.Kalil G.Williams B.Bell
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Carolina released Geoff Hangartner early in camp, leaving Garry Williams as the expected starter at right guard. However, injuries have depleted depth, especially at the tackle position, so things could get shaky in a hurry.

Injuries torpedoed this talented line; playing without Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil for most of the season was the domino that sent the entire unit into a tailspin. Everyone is back, so if this group--particularly Kalil and left tackle Jordan Gross--can stay healthy they should return to the upper echelon of offensive lines.

FANTASY SPIN: The plan is for Cam Newton to run less, and if the line stays healthy it should work: even amid their other struggles, the Panthers were the leagues' most efficient team in converting short-yardage runs. The sack numbers weren't awful, and between Kalil's return to healthy and Newton's ability to extend the play there are few worries about the passing game regressing due to protection issues.

RUN BLOCKING: B
PASS BLOCKING: C
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: B-

^ Back to Team Menu

Chicago Bears

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 56 32 1,344 84.0 26 3.8 26
2011 49 27 1,804 112.8 7 4.4 13
2012 44 25 1,705 106.6 13 4.1 18

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 C.Williams J.Asiata O.Kreutz R.Garza F.Omiyale
2011 J.Webb C.Williams R.Garza L.Louis G.Carimi (r)
2012 J.Webb C.Spencer R.Garza L.Louis G.Carimi
2013 J.Bushrod M.Slauson R.Garza K.Long (r) J.Webb
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Seven sacks in the first preseason game wasn't what the Bears were hoping for with their new-look line, though only one of those sacks came against the starters. Fifth-round pick Jordan Mills is pushing J'Marcus Webb at right tackle, which for the Bears is a good thing. Fellow rookie Kyle Long has looked good at right guard, but as evidenced by the exhibition opener it will take this unit time to come together with so many new parts.

Along with new coach Marc Trestman comes a long-overdue overhaul of the offensive line. Free agency signees Jermon Bushrod--a Pro Bowler with the Saints last year--and ex-Jet Matt Slauson shore up the left side, while rookie Kyle Long is expected to step in immediately at right guard. Add in shorter drops in Trestman's West Coast offense and Jay Cutler should be making that frowny face a whole lot less frequently this season.

FANTASY SPIN: Slauson helps immensely in the ground game, though the biggest fantasy beneficiary may be Michael Bush if he takes over for Matt Forte at the stripe. The addition of Bushrod and the new offensive scheme are geared towards keeping Cutler upright, which bodes well for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

RUN BLOCKING: C
PASS BLOCKING: C-
RETURNING REGULARS: 2
OVERALL GRADE: C-

^ Back to Team Menu

Dallas Cowboys

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 31 11 1,434 89.6 20 3.9 24
2011 39 18 1,724 107.8 12 4.6 7
2012 36 15 1,175 73.4 30 3.8 26

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 A.Barron K.Kosier A.Gurode* L.Davis M.Colombo
2011 D.Free M.Holland A.Gurode K.Kosier T.Smith (r)
2012 T.Smith N.Livings P.Costa M.Bernadeau D.Free
2013 T.Smith N.Livings T.Frederick (r) M.Bernadeau D.Free
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Injuries have blasted the Cowboys at left guard, where Nate Livings and Ronald Leary have both had knee scopes and are iffy at best for the start of the regular season. That leaves David Arkin to man the spot for now. Dallas has a standing offer out to former Chief and Patriot guard Brian Waters after Brandon Moore opted for retirement over joining the Cowboys. Jermey Parnell has battled hamstring issues and has been unable to beat out Doug Free at right tackle.

Everyone returns for the Cowboys, but the hope is that first-round pick Travis Frederick takes over at center and Jermey Parnell replaces--and upgrades--Doug Free at right tackle. Tyron Smith has been solid at left tackle, but three years in it's time for him to be as dominant as the team expected when they made him a top-10 draft pick.

FANTASY SPIN: With Bill Callahan expected to bring a bit more ground game to the Cowboys' play-calling, there's a chance for this unit to capitalize--or at least not be forced to deal with ears-pinned-back pass rushers on every snap. If Parnell holds up over a full 16-game schedule as well as he did in limited action last week, Tony Romo--and, subsequently, Dallas receivers and their fantasy owners--will be thrilled; last year Free allowed six sacks, four QB hits, and 41 hurries on the right side.

RUN BLOCKING: C
PASS BLOCKING: B
RETURNING REGULARS: 3
OVERALL GRADE: C+

^ Back to Team Menu

Detroit Lions

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 27 6 1,158 72.4 32 3.5 32
2011 36 17 1,298 81.1 28 4.2 19
2012 29 9 1,349 84.3 23 4.0 21

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Backus R.Sims D.Raiola S.Peterman G.Cherilus
2011 J.Backus R.Sims D.Raiola S.Peterman G.Cherilus
2012 J.Backus R.Sims D.Raiola S.Peterman G.Cherilus
2013 R.Reiff R.Sims D.Raiola J.Scott J.Fox
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Jake Scott has surged past Dylan Gandy and rookie Larry Warford at right guard, while Jason Fox is leading the battle for right tackle over Corey Hilliard. Early on the unit has fared well in pass protection but struggled in run blocking, which is hardly a surprise.

The Lions had the best adjusted sack rate in the league last season, according to Football Outsiders; unfortunately, Detroit follows up that success by replacing both tackles with untested options and plugging in a rookie at right guard. Riley Reiff won't have to be great to replace the retired Jeff Backus, who allowed 14 QB hits and 31 hurries last season, but the Lions hope he can develop as well as fellow first-rounder Gosder Cherilus did last season... just before the Lions let him leave via free agency. Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will compete to replace Cherilus, giving Detroit an inexperienced right side with third-round pick Larry Warford slated to start at right guard. Detroit does have plenty of veteran insurance lined up in case Warford isn't ready, with Dylan Gandy, Bill Nagy, Jake Scott and Leroy Harris all on the roster entering training camp.

FANTASY SPIN: For the volume of passes Matthew Stafford threw last season--an NFL-record 727 passes-- you have to be impressed with the top-10 rank in sacks. But that was last year, and now the hopes and dreams of Calvin Johnson and the Detroit passing game rest on a trio of tackles with a combined 13 NFL starts between them. So yeah, you can be a little worried. The Lions' o-line also performed better than expected on the ground last year, which bodes well for Reggie Bush living up to the preseason fantasy hype.

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

^ Back to Team Menu

Green Bay Packers

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 38 19 1,225 76.6 30 3.5 31
2011 41 16 1,295 80.9 29 4.1 26
2012 51 31 1,248 78.0 27 3.5 31

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 C.Clifton D.Colledge S.Wells J.Sitton M.Tauscher
2011 C.Clifton D.Sherrod (r) S.Wells J.Sitton B.Bulaga
2012 M.Newhouse T.Lang J.Saturday* J.Sitton* B.Bulaga
2013 B.Bulaga J.Sitton E.Dietrich-Smith T.Lang M.Newhouse
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari would have displaced Marshall Newhouse at right tackle; instead, with Bryan Bulaga out for the season with a torn ACL he takes over at left tackle. Meanwhile, Don Barclay may yet unseat Newhouse on the right side. The unit played well in the first preseason game, so any panic over the Bulaga injury appears to have been premature.

With Marshall Newhouse unable to nail down the left tackle gig, the Packers flip-flopped their entire line; now it's former first-round pick Bryan Bulaga charged with protecting Aaron Rodgers' blind side. Green Bay also swapped Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton from right to left to help Bulaga, with last year's left side now occupying the right for the Pack. Evan Dietrich-Smith replaces Pro Bowl joke Jeff Saturday at center, which isn't a big deal because Dietrich-Smith had already moved ahead of Saturday on the depth chart last season. If Green Bay still can't solve the post-Chad Clifton riddle at left tackle, former first-round pick Derek Sherrod and rookie David Bakhtiari await their turn.

FANTASY SPIN: Green Bay's line was surprisingly good in short-yardage situations last year, and switching sides shouldn't shake things up dramatically, although the Packers had more success running behind Sitton and Bulaga than they did behind Lang and Newhouse. Improved backfield play from rookies Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin should help those rushing numbers climb as well. The pass protection numbers will never look good as long as Rodgers holds the ball as long as he does, but you can't argue with the results so it may not be worth noting that Bulaga surrendered hurries at an even higher rate than Newhouse last season.

RUN BLOCKING: C
PASS BLOCKING: B-
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: C+

^ Back to Team Menu

Minnesota Vikings

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 36 17 1,650 103.1 12 4.4 9
2011 49 27 1,556 97.3 19 4.7 4
2012 32 11 2,275 142.2 1 5.7 1

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 B.McKinnie S.Hutchinson J.Sullivan A.Herrera P.Loadholt
2011 C.Johnson S.Hutchinson J.Sullivan C.DeGeare P.Loadholt
2012 M.Kalil* (r) C.Johnson J.Sullivan B.Fusco P.Loadholt
2013 M.Kalil C.Johnson J.Sullivan B.Fusco P.Loadholt
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: John Sullivan is healthy following offseason knee surgery and for now at least Brandon Fusco is holding off any challenge that may have been presented by rookie guards Travis Bond and Jeff Baca. Full steam ahead for a group that played all 16 games together last year--three of them playing every single snap.

Matt Kalil was everything the Vikings could have hoped for in a first-round pick, earning Pro Bowl honors, while Phil Loadholt's contract push on the right side was largely a success as well. With John Sullivan, maybe the best center in the league, holding down the middle it's no wonder Adrian Peterson was off to the races for a near-record rushing season; imagine what AD might have done with something more than sub-par guard play. Minnesota ranking 30th in short-yardage success is unforgiveable, so there will be competition for the guard spots though right now nothing that would clearly represent an upgrade over Fusco and/or Johnson.

FANTASY SPIN: With the entire line returning there's every reason to believe Peterson's push for 2,500 yards is... well, it's still crazy but with AD all things are possible. The tackles shouldn't be a problem when it comes to giving Christian Ponder adequate time to look downfield, but both guards graded out negatively in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus so he may want--or need--to roll outside more frequently.

RUN BLOCKING: B
PASS BLOCKING: B-
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: B

^ Back to Team Menu

New Orleans Saints

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 26 5 1,480 92.5 16 4.2 14
2011 24 2 2,017 126.1 2 5.0 3
2012 26 3 1,541 96.3 17 4.4 11

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Bushrod C.Nicks* J.Goodwin J.Evans* J.Stinchcomb
2011 J.Bushrod* C.Nicks O.Kreutz J.Evans* Z.Strief
2012 J.Bushrod* B.Grubbs B.De La Puente J.Evans* Z.Strief
2013 C.Brown B.Grubbs B.De La Puente J.Evans Z.Strief
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: With Jahri Evans the only Super Bowl holdover it's almost a new-look line already, but the good news is Charles Brown has stepped up to claim the left tackle job. The Saints have several young linemen engaged in healthy competition behind the starters, and it's possible one will push his way into the lineup--perhaps at the expense of right tackle Zach Strief.

The Saints lost All Pro guard Carl Nicks prior to last season but barely missed a beat; can they do the same with Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod departing as well? Charles Brown has been tabbed to protect Drew Brees' blind side, and with everyone else returning intact--and Brees possessing one of the quickest releases in the game--it's far too early to be reaching for the panic button.

FANTASY SPIN: The ground game dipped last year, but with Nicks' departure that wasn't much of a surprise. And given that the Saints still ranked third in short-yardage success with Ben Grubbs stepping into Nicks' role any dropoff has likely plateaued. Brown has shown well in limited action, so there's no reason to think New Orleans' pass protection--and subsequently passing game production--will tail off on his watch.

RUN BLOCKING: B
PASS BLOCKING: A-
RETURNING REGULARS: 4
OVERALL GRADE: B+

^ Back to Team Menu

New York Giants

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 16 1 2,131 133.2 2 4.8 4
2011 28 7 1,409 88.1 25 3.8 30
2012 20 1 1,829 114.3 7 4.8 5

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 D.Diehl R.Seubert S.O'Hara C.Snee* K.McKenzie
2011 W.Beatty D.Diehl D.Baas C.Snee K.McKenzie
2012 W.Beatty K.Boothe D.Baas C.Snee* D.Diehl
2013 W.Beatty K.Boothe D.Baas C.Snee D.Diehl
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Rookie Justin Pugh got off to a slow start due to prolonged contract negotiations and a concussion, leaving the Giants to once again trot out the same veteran unit. Their ffectiveness has declined only marginally, so the key will be how long this aging group can stay healthy.

Once again the Giants return all five of their offensive line starters, but once again there may be some shuffling anyway. First-round pick Justin Pugh could start at right tackle, or he could play left guard if Kevin Boothe has to take over for the still-hobbling David Baas at center. That would return veteran David Diehl to right tackle, or open the door for James Brewer to move into the lineup. There's no shortage of bodies in New York; the concern is which ones will be healthy and which ones have endured too much mileage.

FANTASY SPIN: Assuming Pugh plays like a first-rounder the Giants should have all bases covered even if Baas is still hurt heading into the season. That means plenty of time for Eli Manning to find Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and holes aplenty for David Wilson and Andre Brown. It's all good in Gotham.

RUN BLOCKING: B
PASS BLOCKING: A-
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: B+

^ Back to Team Menu

Philadelphia Eagles

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 49 29 1,414 88.4 23 5.0 2
2011 32 9 1,553 97.1 20 4.5 8
2012 48 28 1,495 93.4 19 4.5 9

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Peters T.Herremans N.Cole St.Andrews W.Justice
2011 J.Peters T.Herremans J.Jackson D.Watkins (r) R.Harris
2012 D.Bell E.Mathis J.Kelce D.Watkins T.Herremans
2013 J.Peters E.Mathis J.Kelce T.Herremans L.Johnson (r)
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Jason Peters continues to be nagged by a hamstring injury, but the rest of the Philly starters--especially rookie Lane Johnson--have looked strong thus far this preseason. It certainly helps having everyone healthy; at times last year the Eagles were playing with one regular and four backups. Allen Barbre has been a capable fill-in for Peters.

Before even thinking about what Chip Kelly's scheme means for this unit, the question that has to be answered is: who's healthy? Perennial Pro Bowler Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans combined to miss 37 games last year and underrated guard Evan Mathis missed OTAs following ankle surgery. When healthy this unit can be a force, starting with Peters anchoring the left side, but how much if any his game has slipped following last year's ruptured Achilles' tendon remains to be seen. First-round pick Lane Johnson is expected to start at right tackle, protecting Michael Vick's blind side. So, if everyone gets/stays healthy and the rookie lives up to billing... then we can talk about what Kelly's scheme will ask of this group.

FANTASY SPIN: A healthy Peters dramatically improves the pass protection, as should Kelly's quicker-release mandate and the talented, athletic Johnson on the right side. There's also more than enough athleticism for this group to excel in the zone blocking scheme, creating holes for LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. If, however, the injury dominos start to fall then productivity levels could go south in a hurry.

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

^ Back to Team Menu

St. Louis Rams

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 34 14 1,414 88.4 22 3.6 30
2011 55 32 1,567 97.6 18 4.2 17
2012 35 14 1,571 98.2 16 4.3 14

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Smith J.Bell J.Brown A.Goldberg/H.Fraley R.Saffold (r)
2011 R.Saffold J.Bell J.Brown H.Dahl J.Smith
2012 R.Saffold Q.Ojinnaka S.Wells H.Dahl J.Smith
2013 J.Long C.Williams S.Wells H.Dahl R.Saffold
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Chris Williams has a slim lead over Shelley Smith in the left guard battle, with everything else set in stone. Jake Long looks healthy, which might be the biggest concern this group has.

The big-ticket item is obviously free agent left tackle Jake Long, whose past couple of seasons in Miami have been marred by injury. If both he and Roger Saffold, who flips over to right tackle with the arrival of Long, can get and stay healthy then the Rams will have themselves one of the better tackle tandems in the league. Of course, that's a ginormous "if". Health is also an issue for center Scott Wells, who played hurt much of last year. Shelley Smith is the slight leader in a three-way competition at left guard that also includes Rokevious Watson and former Bears first-rounder Chris Williams.

FANTASY SPIN: There's lots of potential in the St. Louis offense, and healthy bookend tackles would go a long way towards providing Sam Bradford with the time he needs to locate and connect with one of the many targets. This isn't a particularly adept run-blocking unit--among the projected starters only Smith earned a positive run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus last year--so it would be overly optimistic to expect the Daryl Richardson/Isaiah Pead/Zac Stacy committee to pick up where Steven Jackson left off.

RUN BLOCKING: C-
PASS BLOCKING: C+
RETURNING REGULARS: 3
OVERALL GRADE: C

^ Back to Team Menu

San Francisco 49ers

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 44 26 1,430 89.4 21 4.1 17
2011 44 25 1,779 111.2 9 4.2 22
2012 41 23 1,811 113.2 9 4.7 7

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 J.Staley M.Iupati (r) E.Heitmann A.Snyder A.Davis (r)
2011 J.Staley* M.Iupati J.Goodwin C.Rachal A.Davis
2012 J.Staley* M.Iupati* J.Goodwin A.Boone A.Davis
2013 J.Staley M.Iupati J.Goodwin A.Boone A.Davis
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: The only hiccup thus far is center Jonathan Goodwin missing some time with an injury, but Daniel Kilgore is a relatively experienced backup and there doesn't seem to be a concern about Goodwin's availability once the games start to count.

This is as talented an offensive line as you'll find in the league, especially in the ground game; last year four of the five starters graded out among the top 20 o-linemen in the NFL in run blocking. Joe Staley also cracked the top 20 in pass protection and alongside Mike Iupati gives the 49ers one of the best left sides in the business. That said, Staley and right tackle Anthony Davis gave up nine sacks each, and as a unit the Niners ranked in the bottom five in adjusted sack rate; that shouldn't happen in a West Coast offense with a mobile quarterback and this much talent along the line.

FANTASY SPIN: The 49ers are the best run-blocking unit in the league, so depending on how the carries shake out you can squeeze another year of fantasy production out of Frank Gore or just handcuff Kendall Hunter and/or LaMichael James to Gore and cover all the bases. Sacks declined slightly last year, but if you're a Colin Kaepernick owner there are certainly worse fates than having him flushed from the pocket; of course, more running and less throwing could take a bite out of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis.

RUN BLOCKING: A
PASS BLOCKING: B
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: B+

^ Back to Team Menu

Seattle Seahawks

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 35 16 1,303 81.4 28 3.9 23
2011 50 29 1,606 100.4 15 4.1 25
2012 33 12 2,076 129.8 4 4.8 3

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 R.Okung (r) B.Hamilton C.Spencer M.Unger S.Locklear
2011 R.Okung R.Gallery M.Unger J.Moffitt (r) J.Carpenter (r)
2012 R.Okung* P.McQuistan M.Unger* J.Moffitt B.Giacomini
2013 R.Okung P.McQuistan M.Unger J.Moffitt B.Giacomini
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: James Carpenter hasn't been healthy enough to make a push for a starting guard spot, and J.R. Sweezy isn't giving John Moffitt the right guard position without a fight. But it's undrafted rookie Alvin Bailey who has really been making waves in Seattle; he may wind up starting at one of the guard spots before the season is through.

Not only do the Seahawks return all the parts from last season's successful unit, the hope is that former first-round pick James Carpenter's knee is healthy enough to allow him to take over at left guard. Sandwiched between Pro Bowlers Max Unger and Russell Okung, a healthy Carpenter would give Seattle perhaps the best left side in all of football. And the right side ain't too bad, either, with Breno Giacomini holding down right tackle and John Moffitt competing with J.R. Sweezy and former starter Paul McQuistan at right guard. Even if Carpenter can't go the Seahawks would be just fine, sliding McQuistan back into his old spot and completely reprising last year's unit. These are nice problems to have.

FANTASY SPIN: Once again the Seahawks excelled across the board in rushing and run-blocking categories, so whether it's full-on beast mode for Marshawn Lynch or the league sits him down for a spell and Robert Turbin and Christine Michael see some work the Seattle ground game will be just fine. Russell Wilson's mobility and a solid pass protection unit should provide ample opportunity for Percy Harvin to get down the field--or just get open short.

RUN BLOCKING: B+
PASS BLOCKING: B-
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: B

^ Back to Team Menu

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 30 10 1,554 97.1 15 4.4 8
2011 32 9 1,147 71.7 32 4.3 14
2012 26 3 1,656 103.5 14 4.5 10

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 D.Penn* J.Zuttah J.Faine D.Joseph J.Trueblood
2011 D.Penn T.Larson J.Faine D.Joseph* J.Trueblood
2012 D.Penn C.Nicks J.Zuttah D.Joseph J.Trueblood
2013 D.Penn C.Nicks J.Zuttah D.Joseph D.Dotson
* Pro Bowler, (r) Rookie

UPDATE: Carl Nicks has a toe injury that he's apparently resigned himself to dealing with for the rest of his career; meanwhile, Davin Joseph has yet to see game action after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. The expectation is that both will be in the lineup come opening day, but that has yet to play out. Meanwhile Demar Dotson is having a great camp and has relegated former first-round pick Gabe Carimi to swing tackle status.

Tampa Bay was unable to get its All Pro guard tandem on the field together last season due to injury; on the bright side, they posted more than respectable numbers and uncovered valuable depth on their roster. Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph are both healthy, which should take the Buccaneers' o-line play to another level--especially in the ground game. Donald Penn and Jeremy Zuttah return as well, and if former Bear Gabe Carimi can't relocate the talent that made him a first-round pick the Bucs have solid depth options in Jamon Meredith and Demar Dotson; both played significant snaps last season.

FANTASY SPIN:If you liked Doug Martin last year, picture him running behind a matching set of healthy All Pro guards... and then wipe up the drool stain. Penn can be inconsistent, and we have yet to see Carimi live up to expectations, but the potential is there for Josh Freeman to have a crisp, clean jersey--and plenty of time to hit Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.

RUN BLOCKING: B+
PASS BLOCKING: B+
RETURNING REGULARS: 4
OVERALL GRADE: B+

^ Back to Team Menu

Washington Redskins

Year Sacks Allowed Sacked Rank RB Rush Yards Rush Yards Per Game Per Game Rush Rank Per Carry Average Per Carry Rank
2010 46 28 1,304 81.5 27 4.2 15
2011 41 21 4,529 95.6 23 4.2 18
2012 33 12 1,761 110.1 11 4.7 6

Year Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
2010 T.Williams (r) D.Dockery C.Rabach A.Hicks J.Brown
2011 T.Williams K.Lichtensteiger W.Montgomery C.Chester J.Brown
2012 T.Williams* K.Lichtensteiger W.Montgomery C.Chester J.Brown
2013 T.Williams K.Lichtensteiger W.Montgomery C.Chester T.Polumbus
* Pro Bowler; (r) Rookie

UPDATE: The only big news coming out of Washington's training camp is Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams wearing a soft cast on his injured wrist. Williams isn't concerned, so for now neither are we.

The more a zone blocking team plays together the more in sync they become, so the fact that Washington returns all five starters bodes well for their continued success. Left tackle Trent Williams playing at a Pro Bowl level was expected, but the quality seasons from Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester were pleasant surprises. At right tackle Tyler Polumbus returns, but only because the salary cap prevented Danny Snyder from bringing in a clearly better option. Instead, Polumbus will battle with former Buc Jeremy Trueblood and veteran Tony Pashos to keep his job.

FANTASY SPIN: This unit definitely gets it, so even if the running threat of Robert Griffin III is negated by injury or by him simply running less Alfred Morris and the ground game should be just fine. If competition elevates Polumbus' game, or if he's replaced by a more effective Trueblood or Pashos, the Redskins will feel better about RG3's health; only Jonathan Martin allowed more QB hurries than the 46 Polumbus surrendered last year.

RUN BLOCKING: B
PASS BLOCKING: C-
RETURNING REGULARS: 5
OVERALL GRADE: C+

^ Back to Team Menu


FREE EMAIL UPDATES
Our FREE email updates are packed with the player news and fantasy analysis you need!

 Email Address
a d v e r t i s e m e n t