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Offensive Line Analysis

Back in May, I put together the 20,000 word offensive line article that looked inside the offensive lines of all 32 teams in the NFL. Since then there has been some changes and I will outline only the changes in this article. To recap the earlier work, click here.

  • If a player has moved into the starting lineup (from the May article) he will be in blue.
  • If a player has been moved out of the starting lineup (from the May article) he will be in red.
  • If a player is new to the team he will be listed in green.
  • If a team overall grade has improved it will be written in blue.
  • If a team overall grade has decreased it will be written in red.
Rk
Team
Grade
Comments
1
Baltimore Ravens
A
Awesome run blocking production
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
A
Starters great, depth lacking
3
Kansas City Chiefs
A
Age starting to show itself
4
Dallas Cowboys
A
Adding talented G Rivera is huge
5
Cincinnati Bengals
A-
Much better than most realize
6
Jacksonville Jaguars
B+
Young and improving
7
New York Jets
B
Good group, may miss McKenzie
8
Carolina Panthers
B
Adding guard Wahle is big boost
9
Denver Broncos
B
Always strong
10
Washington Redskins
B
Could be top-five unit if healthy
11
New York Giants
B
Really coming together as a unit
12
San Diego Chargers
B
Young and talented
13
Philadelphia Eagles
B
Could be great if G Andrews is productive
14
Seattle Seahawks
B
Good talent but new starter at RT
15
New England Patriots
B
The play of rookie G Logan Mankins helping
16
St. Louis Rams
B
Tackle Pace is great but line has questions
17
Chicago Bears
B
Added two solid lineman
18
Minnesota Vikings
B
Talented C Birk hindered with hernia
19
New Orleans Saints
C+
Should be amongst best run blockers
20
Tennessee Titans
C+
Rookie linemen are playing well
21
Buffalo Bills
C+
Solid, but unspectacular
22
Oakland Raiders
C+
Young line could make noise by '06
23
Cleveland Browns
C+
Not there yet but improving
24
Atlanta Falcons
C+
Overachieved last season
25
Houston Texans
C+
Still some issues to iron out
26
San Francisco 49ers
C+
Youth and talent but still a year away
27
Miami Dolphins
C+
Great depth, improved coaching may help
28
Detroit Lions
C+
Could get better as season wears on
29
Arizona Cardinals
C+
Talent is there, need better production
30
Indianapolis Colts
C
Lots of question marks
31
Green Bay Packers
C
Lost both starting guards
32
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
D
Already poor line lost quality depth


Arizona Cardinals
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
C+
C+
D
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
B
B

2004: 22nd in rushing (1,668 yards), 30th in YPC (3.5), 20th in sacks allowed (39), 14th in PA / Sack (13.7 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T/G Oliver Ross (Pittsburgh)
Key Losses: Anthony Clement
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Alex Stepanovich; G-Reggie Wells; G-Elton Brown [r] T-Oliver Ross; T-Leonard Davis
Key Backups: C Nick Leckey, T Ian Allen

Update August 9th- Center Alex Stepanovich may have suffered a broken hand and has gone to a specialist to have it examined. The Cardinals offensive line fortunes will plummet if Alex Stepanovich isn't ready to go to start the season.

Update August 4th - Rookie guard Elton Brown is having a strong camp and has a great chance of emerging from the preseason as the starter. Not a surprise to me as I already had in penciled in as the starter awhile back. He is clearly the best option for the club.

Update July 19th - Tackle Ian Allen was signed to a one-year contract. He was with the Eagles a year ago


Atlanta Falcons
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B+
C-
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
C+
C

2004: 1st in rushing (2,672 yards), 1st in YPC (5.1), 28th in sacks allowed (50), 31st in PA / Sack (7.9 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Barry Stokes
Key Losses: G Roberto Garza; OL Coach Alex Gibbs
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Todd McClure; G-Mookie Moore; G-Kynan Forney; T-Todd Weiner; T-Kevin Shaffer
Key Backups: G Martin Bibla; G Matt Lehr; G/C/TE Eric Beverly; G Barry Stokes

Update - July 24th - Battle brewing for starting left guard position. Steve Wyche of the AJC reports that here will be a battle for the starting left guard position on the Atlanta Falcons offensive line this preseason. Michael Moore, who won the starting job in training camp in 2004 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Game 1, is healthy and ready to reclaim the starting job. However, the Falcons also signed free agent guard Matt Lehr this offseason, and his ability to play both guard spots and center could make him more attractive to team management and the coaching staff.


Baltimore Ravens
Overall Grade: A-

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
A
B
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
A
A

2004: 7th in rushing (2,063 yards), 7th in YPC (4.2), 10th in sacks allowed (35), 19th in PA / Sack (13.3 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Keydrick Vincent (Pittsburgh)
Key Losses: C Casey Rabach
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Mike Flynn; G-Edwin Mulitalo; G-Keydrick Vincent; T-Jonathon Ogden; T-Orlando Brown / Adam Terry
Key Backups: T Tony Pashos; G Brian Rimph; C Jason Brown [r]; T Adam Terry [r] / Orlando Brown

Update June 27th - OT Orlando Brown's final season has already started shaky. The 35-year-old offensive tackle has struggled in coming back from offseason knee surgery and has failed to finish many of the team's offseason practices. His slow recovery only increases the chances that OT Adam Terry could supplant him as the starting right tackle. The rookie second-round pick doesn't have Brown's nasty streak but he is better in pass protection. This could be a good thing for the Ravens as this second round pick can play. The team may suffer a small drop off at first due to inexperience but Brown is not the player he once was.


Buffalo Bills
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
B
C+

2004: 13th in rushing (1,874 yards), 22nd in YPC (3.9), 18th in sacks allowed (38), 21st in PA / Sack (12.1 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G/T Mike Gandy (Bears); G Bennie Anderson
Key Losses: T Jonas Jennings
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Trey Teague; G-Bennie Anderson; G-Chris Villarrial; T-Mike Gandy; T-Mike Williams
Key Backups: T Dylan McFarland; G Ross Tucker; C Raymond Preston [r]; G Justin Geisinger [r]

Update: August 8 - The Buffalo Bills' offensive line lost some depth on Monday when coach Mike Mularkey announced that reserves Lawrence Smith and Ben Sobieski will likely miss the season with injuries. Smith, a backup guard, injured his knee while Sobieski is out after being placed on injured reserve. Sobieski had missed all of training camp with a back injury. Sobieski would have been a nice depth player to have on the roster but he wasn't a starter.

Update July 31st - The job of protecting QB J.P. Losman's blindside is OT Mike Gandy's to lose. They are also keeping tabs on free agent OL Ross Verba. This isn't a surprise really has he stood out as the only player really capable of taking that job.


Carolina Panthers
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B-
B
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
C+
A

2004: 28th in rushing (1,582 yards), 28th in YPC (3.7), 10th in sacks allowed (33), 9th in PA / Sack (16.2 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Mike Wahle (Packers)
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jeff Mitchell; G-Mike Wahle; G-Tutan Reyes; T-Travelle Wharton; T-Jordan Gross
Key Backups: T Todd Fordham; C Bruce Nelson; G Bill Ferrario; G Evan Mathis [r]; G Tupe Peko; T Ben Johnson

Update Aug 9 - Darin Gantt of the Herald reports that Travelle Wharton, last year's third-round pick, has been installed as the starting left tackle. The four-year starter at tackle for South Carolina showed promise last year playing left guard, but coaches believe he's athletic enough to cover Jake Delhomme's blindside. That wasn't the case Saturday, as second-string end Kemp Rasmussen worked Wharton over, collecting a sack early.

"He's coming, he's getting the reps he needs to get," Maser said. "He's got to see as much as he possibly can before we get started. The practices and the four preseason games will be a good indicator of where we are and what he needs to work on. Travelle's got a lot of talent. Travelle has to play with maybe a little more aggressiveness to his style. He's a little bit of a laid-back guy right now. He's looking and watching and trying to analyze. I'd like to see him get a little more aggressive and get after people."

Update: July 25th - Team signed tackle Ben Johnson who played in NFL Europe: Just a depth guy if he makes the team.


Chicago Bears
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C+
A
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
A
A

2004: 13th in rushing (1,874 yards), 22nd in YPC (3.9), 32nd in sacks allowed (366), 32nd in PA / Sack (7.1 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Roberto Garza (Atlanta); T Fred Miller (Tennessee)
Key Losses: T Mike Gandy
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Olin Kreutz; G-Ruben Brown; G-Roberto Garza; T-John Tait; T-Fred Miller
Key Backups: T Marc Colombo; G Terrence Metcalf

Update July 25th - Big battle brewing at the guard position between Terrence Metcalf and Roberto Garza at right guard. "We'd always put Metcalf on showcase and then he'd get hurt," pro personnel director Bobby DePaul said. "But he played well last year and matured, so whatever happens, we've got a good sixth man." Smith's Take: I thought Metcalf may unseat veteran guard Ruben Brown this year but it doesn't appear that will happen this season since he is in competition with Garza over at right guard. Either of these guys is a great 6th man.


Cincinnati Bengals
Overall Grade: A-

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
A
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B+
B

2004: 17th in rushing (1,839 yards), 14th in YPC (4.2), 6th in sacks allowed (31), 8th in PA / Sack (17.3 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Larry Moore; G-Bobby Williams; G-Eric Steinbach; T-Levi Jones; T-Willie Anderson
Key Backups: T-Stacy Andrews; G Eric Ghiaciuc [r]; T Adam Kieft [r] inj

Update August 8th - Rookie Adam Kieft has looked great all through camp but his season likely came to an end with a knee injury.

Update July 23rd - The Bengals have taken a wait and see position on OL Willie Anderson's contract extension, likely because he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in the offseason. Anderson insists that he will be ready to continue his consecutive starts streak (80 games) when the season begins. Anderson is a warrior and he'll be fine by the start of the season.

Update June 13th Offensive lineman Alex Sulfsted has retired.


Cleveland Browns
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C-
B
B

2004: 23rd in rushing (1,657 yards), 25th in YPC (3.8), 21st in sacks allowed (41), 27th in PA / Sack (10.7 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Joe Andruzzi (New England); G Cosey Coleman (Tampa Bay)
Key Losses: T Damian Cook
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jeff Faine; G-Joe Andruzzi; G-Cosey Coleman; T-LJ Shelton; T-Ryan Tucker
Key Backups: C/G- Melvin Fowler; G Kelvin Garmon; T Kirk Chambers, G Mike Pucillo

Update July 30th - Browns sign veteran lineman Mike Pucillo. He was added for depth purposes only.

Update June 8th - The Browns let tackle Ross Verba go due to a contract dispute. Veteran tackle L.J. Shelton, former 1st round pick of the Cardinals was brought in to replace Verba. Shelton has a ton of talent but has been lazy. He is not a top tier offensive lineman but he should be serviceable for the Browns and they won't miss Verba too much with him around.


Dallas Cowboys
Overall Grade: A

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
A
B
A
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B+
A

2004: 20th in rushing (1,773 yards), 19th in YPC (4.0), 15th in sacks allowed (37), 14th in PA / Sack (14.0 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Marko Rivera (Green Bay)
Key Losses: C Gennaro DiNapoli (cut)
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Al Johnson; G-Larry Allen; G-Marko Rivera; T-Flozell Adams; T-Rob Petitti [r]
Key Backups: T Kurt Vollers; C/G Andre Gurode; G Stephen Peterman; G Tyson Walter; T Jacob Rogers (out for year); T Torrin Tucker

Update August 19th - Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said late Thursday that right tackle Jacob Rogers will miss the entire 2005 season with a knee injury.

"It's a shame that he's gone," Jones said. "It's a disappointment."

Rogers is scheduled to have surgery a week from today. Earlier in the day, coach Bill Parcells had said he wasn't sure about Rogers' future. An MRI on Sunday revealed no structural damage. On Monday, Parcells said the injury "isn't too serious." Now, Rogers needs surgery.

That leaves rookie Rob Petitti and three-year veteran Torrin Tucker as the leading candidates for the starting right tackle job, unless the Cowboys want to add a free agent such as 11-year veteran Scott Gragg. The Cowboys spoke to Gragg's agent before the season and indicated they might have an interest in him at some point. Parcells thinks Kurt Vollers is more valuable as a backup than a starter because he can play both tackle positions.

Update: August 9: 2nd year tackle Jacob Rogers moved from left tackle to right tackle this offseason and has had a tremendous camp. It appears he has moved to the front and could begin the season as the starting tackle. This could make the Cowboys offensive line even stronger as Kurt Vollers appeared to be a weak link. Rogers had a sore shoulder but the MRI reported no damage and he shouldn't miss any time.

Update July 25th - Last season, Al Johnson started all sixteen games for the Cowboys and played well. He will be pushed hard throughout camp though by talented lineman Andre Gurode who is bigger than Johnson and could help the running game.


Denver Broncos
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B+
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B+
B+
C+

2004: 13th in rushing (2,333 yards), 8th in YPC (4.4), 3rd in sacks allowed (15), 3rd in PA / Sack (34.7 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G/T Anthony Clement (Arizona)
Key Losses: OL Dan Neil
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Tom Nalen; G-Ben Hamilton G-Cooper Carlisle; T-Matt Lepsis; T-George Foster
Key Backups: G Tyson Clabo; T Cornell Green; G/T Anthony Clement; G Chris Myers [r]

Update August 4th - Center Tom Nalen may retire after this season. Jeff Williamson of the Denver Post reports that Nalen, the veteran center veteran warrior is thinking of calling it quits after this year. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't think about it," Nalen said. "I don't have a contract for next year. I don't know what's going to happen." This won't impact the Broncos offensive line in 2005 but it could leave a hole next season if it comes to pass.


Detroit Lions
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
C+
C

2004: 19th in rushing (1,777 yards), 22nd in YPC (4.4), 15th in sacks allowed (3t),16th in PA / Sack (13.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Rick DeMulling; G Kyle Kosier
Key Losses: T Stockar McDougle; Matt Joyce
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Dominic Raiola; G-Rick DeMulling; G-Damien Woody; T-Jeff Backus; T-Kelly Butler
Key Backups: T Victor Rogers; G Kyle Kosier; David Loverne

Update: August 3rd: Kelly Butler, the sixth round draft choice last season is still in the lead to start at right tackle for the club in 2005. He has the classic build for an offensive lineman, 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds with long arms. He is also one of the strongest players on the team but his lack of experience could be a problem once the season begins.


Green Bay Packers
Overall Grade: C

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
C
C+
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
B
F

2004: 10th in rushing (1,908 yards), 11th in YPC (4.3), 1st in sacks allowed (14), 1st in PA / Sack (42.7 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Adrian Klemm (New England); G Matt O'Dwyer (Tampa Bay); G William Whitticker; C Junius Coston
Key Losses: G Marko Rivera; G Mike Wahle
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Mike Flanagan; G-Adrian Klemm; G-Grey Ruegamer; T-Chad Clifton; T-Mark Tauscher
Key Backups: G Matt O'Dwyer; T Kevin Barry; C Junius Coston [r]; G - William Whitticker [r]

Update August 15th: It isn't very often that a 7th round draft pick can step in and make an immediate impact at the NFL level but rookie guard William Whitticker is attempting to do just that. Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com reports the Packers are very happy with the development of rookie G Will Whitticker. It's very possible that he could start the season at right guard. Whitticker is huge and has shown good athleticism but the thing that has impressed the Packers' brass the most has been Whitticker's grasp of offensive schemes. "If (Whitticker) is the best guy, he'll be out there starting," offensive line coach Larry Beightol said. "I think he does (have a good shot), the way he's been practicing and so forth." While it is nice to hear an underdog is having a surprising start to his NFL career it also does point out that the Packers still have a potential hole to fill within the interior of the offensive line. It is difficult to replace veteran talents such as Marko Rivera and Mike Wahle without proven talent in behind.

Update August 8th: The Packers offensive line is having some problems up the middle. Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com reports the Packers aren't to the point of moving T Kevin Barry to guard. And they aren't making any other position changes on their offensive line. However, after Friday night's scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills, it's clear the Packers' transition from losing longtime starting guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera will be difficult. The Bills sacked QB Brett Favre once against the No. 1 offensive line and rookie QB Aaron Rodgers three times with a mix of first- and second-string offensive linemen during the Packers' scoreless, live, unscripted portion of the scrimmage. Again, don't expect the Packers offensive line to be nearly as strong as they were in the past. You can get past the loss of one strong offensive line with smoke and mirrors but it is next to impossible to cover the loss of both within exceptional talent waiting in the wings which the Packers do not have.

Update July 23rd: It appears that former New England Patriot, Adrian Klemm is leading the way to start at one guard position while a battle is brewing between veteran Grey Ruegamer, veteran Matt O'Dwyer and rookie William Whitticker

Update June 5th: Kevin Barry has been a disappointment with the Packers but he lost 25 pounds this offseason to get down to 310 pounds and hopes his improved quickness will land him a spot on the roster for the upcoming season.


Houston Texans
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C
B+
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
C+
B

2004: 12th in rushing (1,882 yards), 22nd in YPC (3.9), 26th in sacks allowed (49), 29th in PA / Sack (9.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Victor Riley (New Orleans)
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Steve McKinney; G-Chester Pitts; G-Fred Weary; T-Victor Riley; T-Todd Wade
Key Backups: G Zach Wiegert; C/G Todd Washington; T Seth Wand; G Milford Brown; C Drew Hodgdon [r]

Update August 8th: Victor Riley, formerly of the New Orleans Saints has battled weight concerns throughout his 8-year NFL career. When he arrived at Houston however he discovered that coach Dom Capers will not put up with out-of-shape players and he has lost 13 pounds since he signed with the club. He is down to 333 pounds now and hopes to be down to 325 pounds by the start of the season. He is in a battle with incumbent tackle Seth Wand and at this time he has a slight lead over his teammate for the right to be the opening day starter.


Indianapolis Colts
Overall Grade: C

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
C
C+
D
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
C+
C-

2004: 15th in rushing (1,852 yards), 11th in YPC (4.3), 1st in sacks allowed (14), 1st in PA / Sack (37.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: Dylan Gandy (4th round pick); Marico Portis
Key Losses: Rick DeMulling
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jeff Saturday; G-Dylan Gandy [r]; G-Jake Scott; T-Tarik Glenn; T-Ryan Diem
Key Backups: Makoa Freitas; G Ryan Lilja; Marico Portis

Update August 12th - The only real news to report at this time is the likelihood of rookie guard Dylan Gandy, a 4th round pick from Georgia Tech elevating to the starting lineup this season. He is in a battle for the starting job but he very well may emerge as the left guard by the start of the season. If he can't win the job, expect Ryan Lilja, a free agent from the Chiefs to start but Gandy appears to be the player to beat at this time.


Jacksonville Jaguars
Overall Grade: B+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B
A
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
A
B+
A

2004: 16th in rushing (1,850 yards), 17th in YPC (3.9), 9th in sacks allowed (32), 10th in PA / Sack (16.0 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Khalif Barnes [r]
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Brad Meester; G-Vince Manuwai; G-Chris Naeole; T-Mike Pearson; T-Maurice Williams
Key Backups: T/G Mike Compton; G Brett Romberg; T Ephraim Salaam; T Khalif Barnes [r]

Update August 13th - Bart Hubbuch of Times-Union reports that 10 months after a serious knee injury that left him with three torn ligaments, Mike Pearson is set to play 8 to 10 snaps in tonight's game. The Jags are hoping this is the beginning of a road that will lead to getting him back into the starting lineup for the season opener. He has made excellent progress in the first two weeks of camp says line coach Paul Boudreau. He and his teammates didn't play well in the first exhibition game but his knee held up fine.

Update August 5th - Vito Stellino of Times-Union reports that Khalif Barnes is unhappy he fell to the 2nd round and is out to prove a point this season. "I've got a chip on my shoulder about the size of this microphone. The only way I'm going to show you I'm ticked off is how I'm going to play. I can't sit here and tell you I should have been [picked] in the middle of the first round and cry over it,'' Barnes said. "The draft was in April. That's long gone. I'm a second-rounder for the rest of my life. I won't be saying that 10 years from now when I'm, hopefully, in my second or third contract that I remember being in the second round,"

Barnes concedes he's still making mistakes, but said, "If I make a mistake, I make it at 100 miles an hour.'' If Barnes does get the technique right, James "Shack'' Harris, the team's vice president of player personnel, may have gotten a bargain in the second round. "He's got quickness and athletic ability and really good speed. He's a great kid, a smart kid. He can be a factor for us.'' Offensive line coach Paul Boudreau said.


Kansas City Chiefs
Overall Grade: A

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
A
B
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
A+
A+
B

2004: 5th in rushing (2,289 yards), 3rd in YPC (4.6), 9th in sacks allowed (32), 7th in PA / Sack (17.5 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Casey Wiegmann; G-Brian Waters; G-Will Shields; T-William Roaf; T-John Welbourn
Key Backups: T/G Chris Bober; T Jordan Black; T Will Svitek [r]; T Kevin Sampson

Update Aug 10th - It appears that the Chiefs offensive line, despite it's collective age will be able to play at a high level for one more year. However with the back problems of Will Shields, the age of William Roaf and the ineffectiveness of John Welbourn who is being pushed hard by Kevin Sampson, don't be surprised if there is a bit of a drop off from the unbelievable play from the past few seasons. If Shields cannot play or his back slows him down, the run blocking may slip some as a result. Everything will depend on the health of Shields and the play of the right tackle.

Update July 30th - Guard Will Shields continue to fight a bad back and will get a third opinion on his ongoing back problem. Losing Shields or having an ineffective Shields in the starting lineup would be a huge blow to this squad.


Miami Dolphins
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
C+
C+
A-
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C-
C+
B

2004: 31st in rushing (1,339 yards), 32nd in YPC (3.5), 29th in sacks allowed (52), 25th PA / Sack (11.3 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Stockar McDougle (Detroit); OG Damion Cook (Cleveland); C Alonzo Ephraim; G Frank Middleton
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Seth McKinney; G-Jeno James; G-Rex Hadnot; T-Vernon Carey; T-Stockar McDougle
Key Backups: C Wade Smith; G/T Damion McIntosh; T John St Clair; G Damion Cook; T Anthony Alabi [r]

Update August 3rd - Backup center Wade Smith suffered a broken arm on August 1st. The team signed veteran center Alonzo Ephraim to replace the injured Smith and the following day added veteran guard Frank Middleton for depth purposes.

Update July 15th - New offensive line coach Hudson Houck has already had an impact in regards to the Dolphins offensive lineman this season. He has had an impact on 2nd year lineman Vernon Carey who is working much harder this season and Houck who is considered the best in the business is preaching versatility and teamwork to this unit.

Update July 1st - 2nd year offensive lineman Vernon Carey has been very strong this season and has put himself in position to start for the Dolphins in 2005. He is leading the race to start at left tackle for the Dolphins in 2005. Carey has improved his conditioning and his technique this season which has helped him a lot thus far in 2005.


Minnesota Vikings
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C+
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B
B

2004: 18th in rushing (1,823 yards), 2nd in YPC (4.7), 25th in sacks allowed (46), 22nd in PA / Sack (12.0 PA / Sack)
New Additions: Marcus Johnson [r]
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Matt Birk; G-Adam Goldberg; G-Chris Liwienski; T-Bryant McKinnie; T-Mike Rosenfels
Key Backups: T Nat Dorsey; G Shannon Snell; G/T Marcus Johnson [r]; C Cory Withrow

Update August 11th - The AP wire reports that Mike Tice is far from pleased with the efforts of his offensive line thus far and has even gone so far as to threaten to bring guard David Dixon back who wasn't re-signed this season. Meanwhile, center Matt Birk is progressing nicely from his hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and it is appearing more and more likely he will be ready to go by the start of the season.

Update August 10th - Rookie lineman Marcus Johnson, a 2nd round pick is pushing veteran Adam Goldberg for the right to start for the club. Second-round draft pick Marcus Johnson is progressing very nicely in Camp, and is challenging Adam Goldberg for the starting left guard position. "He's fulfilling that versatility that we had hoped that he would", said offensive line coach Steve Loney.

Update August 1st - With the health of veteran tackle Mike Rosenfels who was injured a year ago and missed fourteen games, rookie lineman Marcus Johnson has been moved from the tackle to guard position to contend for a starting position against veteran Adam Goldberg. The two are neck and neck at this point.

Update June 4th - The Matt Birk hip surgery opens the door for Cory Withrow to prove himself. He will likely start for the club throughout the preseason until Birk is ready to go.


New England Patriots
Overall Grade: B-

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
C+
C

2004: 7th in rushing (2,134 yards), 18th in YPC (4.1), 5th in sacks allowed (26), 6th PA / Sack (18.7 PA / Sack)
New Additions: Logan Mankins [r]; Nick Kaczur [r]
Key Losses: G Joe Andruzzi (Cleveland); T Adrian Klemm (Green Bay)
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Dan Koppen; G-Logan Mankins [r]; G-Steve Neal; T-Tom Ashworth; T-Matt Light
Key Backups: G Billy Yates; G Russ Hochstein; G Nick Kaczur [r], T- Brandon Gorin

Update August 13th - As reported by Adam Kilgore of the Boston Globe, rookie offensive guard Logan Mankins has slotted in as the starting left guard for the Patriots and has showcased poise of a veteran and superb technique thus far during camp. He will slot in between Matt Light and Dan Koppen and help the Patriots forget the loss of Joe Andruzzi to the Browns.

Update August 1st - There will be a battle for the right tackle position this season with both Tom Ashworth and Brandon Gorin pushing hard for the right to be the starting tackle this season.


New Orleans Saints
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
A
C-
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
B
A

2004: 27th in rushing (1,606 yards), 19th in YPC (4.0), 21st in sacks allowed (41), 20th in PA / Sack (13.2 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Jermane Mayberry (Philadelphia); T Jammal Brown (rookie - Oklahoma)
Key Losses: T Victor Riley
Projected Starting Lineup: C-LeCharles Bentley; G-Kendyl Jacox; G-Jermane Mayberry; T- Jammal Brown [r]; T-Wayne Gandy
Key Backups: G Jamar Nesbit; G Montrae Holland; T Ben Archibald

August 15th - Les East of the Advocate reports the New Orleans Saints offensive line is almost settled. The lone battle remaining is at left guard where Kendyl Jacox and Montrae Holland, both returning starters, are competing for the starting job. Jacox is the incumbent and Holland was the starter at right guard last year. Jacox has been working with the first team but Holland is right there pressing for playing time. Both players are experienced and can get the job done.

August 11th - Backup tackle Jon Stinchcomb is out for the season after tearing his patella tendon this preseason. His absence will hurt the Saints depth for the upcoming year.

August 1st - The Saints offensive lineman are confident that they are one of the stronger units in the NFL. Guard Kendyl Jacox said ""We have a great o-line. Hands down, we think we have one of the better o-lines in the league."


New York Giants
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B+
C+
B+
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B
B

2004: 11th in rushing (1,904 yards), 5th in YPC (4.5), 30th in sacks allowed (52), 30th in PA / Sack (9.1 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Kareem McKenzie (New York Jets), T Bob Whitfield
Key Losses: T Barry Stokes
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Shaun O'Hara; G-David Diehl; G-Chris Snee; T-Luke Petitgout; T-Kareem McKenzie
Key Backups: T Brandon Winey; G Jason Whittle, T Bob Whitfield; G Rich Seubert

Update August 6th - David Porter of the AP reports that New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie is earning rave reviews in his first Training Camp with the team, as well as high praise from his teammates. "I'll never forget a few offseasons ago when I broke my toe and Keith Washington had to start," said defensive end Michael Strahan. "I told him, `He's the strongest guy you're going to have to face.' After the game Keith looked at me and said, `That's the strongest man I've ever faced and I think he just got me cut.' So I always knew he could play, and it's good to have him on our side now."

Update August 5th - Arthur Staple of Newsday.com reports the offensive line is finally coming together after adjusting to a new coach, new offense and two new quarterbacks last year. The current first unit - Luke Petitgout at left tackle, David Diehl at left guard, O'Hara, Chris Snee at right guard and McKenzie - has been together since camp opened. The second unit, with former Giants starters Jason Whittle and Rich Seubert, as well as 14-year veteran Bob Whitfield, has almost as much experience as last year's starters.

Update July 31st - Guard Rich Seubert is finally healthy again and has been practicing at full strength. His return helps solidify the depth and he is capable of stepping into the offensive line and playing strong football.


New York Jets
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B+
B
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
C+
C+

2004: 3rd in rushing (2,338 yards), 4th in YPC (4.5), 7th in sacks allowed (31), 13th in PA / Sack (14.1 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: T Kareem McKenzie
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Kevin Mawae; G-Brandon Moore; G-Pete Kendall; T-Jason Fabini; T-Adrian Jones
Key Backups: T Marko Cavka; C/G Jonathon Goodwin; T Charles Thomas

Update July 11th - The Jets running game this season will be contingent on new tackle Adrian Jones playing up to his potential and filling the hole left via free agency when Kareem McKenzie signed with the Giants.


Oakland Raiders
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B
B-
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C
C
B+

2004: 32nd in rushing (1,295 yards), 22nd in YPC (3.9), 6th in sacks allowed (30), 5th in PA / Sack (19.4 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: G Ron Stone
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jake Grove; G-Brad Badger; G- Langston Walker; T-Barry Sims; T-Robert Gallery
Key Backups: G Chad Slaughter; C Adam Treu, Ron Stone

Update August 9th - The Raiders have a young bunch of offensive lineman and this unit could be great in time. One of the keys for this unit to come together is for former tackle Langston Walker to step into the guard position and play well. Phil Barber of the Press-Democrat however reports that Walker officially became a guard on April 30, the first day of the team's mandatory minicamp. He is now slated to start at left guard. Most players would be thrilled to crack the first team after starting only 11 games in three seasons. Walker remains ambivalent. "I'm not super-enthused about it," he admitted, "but I'm helping my team out, and that's the biggest part about it."

Walker remains hesitant because he still envisions himself as a tackle. It is where he has played for about as long as he can remember, and it's the position seemingly most suited to a man of his proportions, roughly 6-foot-8 and now 350 pounds. Walker has worked at guard before, pulling emergency duty when teammates got hurt, and he always half-joked about how much he detested the position. If he can acclimatize himself to the position and become even a solid offensive guard, the sky is the limit for this unit once they come together.


Philadelphia Eagles
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
B
B

2004: 24th in rushing (1,639 yards), 8th in YPC (4.4), 15th in sacks allowed (37), 12th in PA / Sack (14.8 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: G Jermaine Mayberry; C Alonzo Ephraim;
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Hank Fraley; G-Artis Hicks; G-Shawn Andrews; T-Jon Runyan; T-Tra Thomas
Key Backups: G Steve Sciullo; G Jamaal Jackson; T Todd Herremans [r]; T Scott Young [r]; T Calvin Armstrong [r]

Update August 1st - Veteran offensive tackle Tra Thomas is still recovering after suffering a blood clot in his leg back in the Spring. He believes he will be ready for the start of the season and is on blood thinning medication to help resolve the problem. If he is unready to play, expect rookie tackle Todd Herremans, a fourth round pick who is 6'6 and weighs in at 321 pounds to step in for the veteran. Obviously the team would miss Thomas for his experience but Herremans despite needing work on his technique would likely do at least a decent job for the team, allowing them to keep Artis Hicks at the guard position.


Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall Grade: A-

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
A
B
C
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B
A

2004: 2nd in rushing (2,464 yards), 19th in YPC (3.9), 14th in sacks allowed (36), 28th in PA / Sack (9.9 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: T Oliver Ross; G Keydrick Vincent
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jeff Hartings; G-Alan Faneca; G-Kendall Simmons; T-Marvel Smith; T-Max Starks
Key Backups: T-Josh Burr; C-Ben Claxton; T Trai Essex [r]; G Chris Kemoeatu [r]

Update August 14th - This offensive line may be the best in the Bill Cowher Era. Jim Wexall of the Herald Standard reports talk around Pittsburgh Steelers camp this summer is that the current offensive line could be one of the best that the team has had since Bill Cowher became head coach. Veteran defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen was asked to comment on Saturday about the current starting offensive line. "This is the best offensive line we've had in a long time" he said. Offensive lineman Alan Faneca said, "Top to bottom, yeah. We've got 16 guys this year and it's the strongest 16 guys we've had in training camp."

Update August 6th - As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Steelers starting offensive guard, Kendall Simmons is showing no ill effects from his torn ACL of a year ago and has had a tremendous camp so far. Offensive Line coach Russ Grimm said, "He's moving well, he looks strong and he's excited to be playing. He is full-go. There are no precautions. Last season is behind him."


San Diego Chargers
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
B
B+
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B
B

2004: 6th in rushing (2,185 yards), 14th in YPC (4.2), 4th in sacks allowed (20), 4th in PA / Sack (22.5 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Nick Hardwick; G-Toniu Fonoti; G-Mike Goff; T-Roman Oben; T-Shane Olivea
Key Backups: G Bob Hallen; T Courtney Van Buren; T Leander Jordan; T Wesley Britt [r]; G Wes Sims [r]

Update August 4th - Kevin Acee of the Union-Tribune reports that Offensive lineman Courtney VanBuren's comeback this season has hit a snag for at least the next two weeks. Tests indicated he has a sprained right knee, and while it is seen as a positive that the injury is not more severe, VanBuren is falling behind. "It's a setback for him," Schottenheimer said. "He needs to get out there in the next couple weeks, that's for certain." VanBuren missed the final 15 games last season after ACL surgery on his right knee.


San Francisco 49ers
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B-
C
C+
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B-
B
A

2004: 30th in rushing (1,449 yards), 30th in YPC (3.5), 29th in sacks allowed (52), 26th in PA / Sack (10.8 PA / Sack)
New Additions: T Jonas Jennings (Buffalo); Paul Zukauskas (Browns)
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Jeremy Newberry; G-Eric Heitmann; G-Justin Smiley; T-Jonas Jennings; T-Kwame Harris
Key Backups: G Scott Peters; G Adam Snyder [r]; C David Baas [r]; Paul Zukauskas

Update - August 12th - The 49ers offensive line has season was plagued by inconsistency and poor techniques habits. Matt Maiocco of the Press Democrat reports that the team is focusing on correcting both this season. "Coach George Warhop has brought a technical side that maybe coach Gregg Smith (last year's coach) didn't have as much," Smiley said. "Coach Smith was more of the old school. He was unbelievable at coaching veterans, guys who have played for a while. "I needed to be fine-tuned and polished up and coach Warhop has been a great asset. He helped me work on proper footwork and technique and things you need to be good at."

Update August 5th - Injuries are mounting along the 49ers offensive line. Center Jeremy Newberry is out indefinitely with a right knee injury, tackle Jonas Jennings could miss 8 or more days with a broken finger, rookie tackle Patrick Estes is playing with a cast on his broken hand and fellow rookie David Baas tore a hamstring and is out for six weeks.

Update August 4th - Center Jeremy Newberry, as reported by Kevin Lynch of the Chronicle, is ready to give his scoped right knee a try. Newberry, who decided to forgo an extensive operation to build cartilage this offseason, is hoping a stop-gap arthroscopic procedure performed six weeks ago will help his knee to hold up to the pounding of a full NFL season. "I'm just strengthening my quad right now and getting my wind back," a sweat-drenched Newberry told reporters after a quick workout with Parker. "My leg is probably strong enough, I just need my wind." If Newberry cannot play this season, guard Eric Heitmann will move to center while rookie Adam Snyder will fill in at guard.

Update July 31st - Offensive lineman Paul Zukauskas signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers hope Zukauskas will provide depth on a line missing center Jeremy Newberry and rookie guard David Baas because of injuries.


Seattle Seahawks
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B+
C+
A
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B
B

2004: 8th in rushing (2,095 yards), 4th in YPC (4.5), 12th in sacks allowed (34), 11th in PA / Sack (15.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: T Chris Terry
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Robbie Tobeck; G-Steve Hutchinson; G-Chris Gray; T-Walter Jones; T- Floyd Womack
Key Backups: T Wayne Hunter; G Jerry Wunsch; T Sean Locklear; T Ray Willis [r]; C Chris Spencer [r]

Update August 5th - The one battle of training camp is for the right tackle position where Wayne Hunter, Jerry Wunsch and rookie Ray Willis are battling it out. 'Pork Chop' Womack appears to be in the lead at this time although with an exceptional August, rookie Willis could wind up in the starting lineup. It appears that Hunter is the odd man out in this trio.


St. Louis Rams
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B
B+
B

2004: 25th in rushing (1,624 yards), 11th in YPC (4.3), 26th in sacks allowed (50), 23rd in PA / Sack (11.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: G Rex Tucker (Chicago); Matt Willig (Panthers)
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Andy McCollum; G-Blane Saipaia; G-Claude Terrell [r]; T-Orlando Pace; T-Grant Williams
Key Backups: T Alex Barren [r]; G Scott Tercero; G Adam Timmerman, C Richie Incognito [r]; G Adam Timmerman

Smith's Update: This is certainly a line in a state of flux. At this time it appears the Rams are going with a rookie at guard in Claude Terrell and an unproven guard in Blane Saipaia who was undrafted back in 2000. Grant Williams has ten years of experience and with rookie Alex Barren struggling, Williams will have the job this year.

Update August 15th - Rookie tackle Alex Barren has been a disappointment so far in 2005. T Alex Barron, the first-round pick of the St. Louis Rams, practiced for the first time on Monday after ending a two-week holdout last week and landed at a new position. All of his reps came at left tackle, T Orlando Pace's position, a clear indication that for the immediate future, the Rams consider him a high-priced backup. "He's got a long ways to go to learn how to play. You don't ever want to box a guy in, but it's going to take him some time no matter how good he is. No way he'll be ready for the opener." " HC Mike Martz said.

Update August 1st - Nick Wagoner of StLouis.com reports that Rams starting right tackle Grant Williams has bulked up and is completely over injuries that limited him in the 2004 season. He had a torn rotator cuff and labrum surgically repaired in the offseason. He takes blame for some of the problems the offense had last year, and hopes his return to full strength will help.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Overall Grade: D

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
D
C-
C-
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
D
C+
D

2004: 29th in rushing (1,489 yards), 25th in YPC (3.8), 24th in sacks allowed (44), 23rd n PA / Sack (11.6 PA / Sack)
New Additions: None
Key Losses: G Matt O'Dwyer; G Cosey Coleman
Projected Starting Lineup: C-John Wade; G-Matt Stinchcomb; G-Jeb Terry; T-Derrick Deese (inj); T-Kenyatta Walker
Key Backups: G Mitch White; C Sean Mahan; T Chris Colmer [r]; G Dan Buenning [r]; T Anthony Davis; T Todd Steussie

Smith's Update: Injuries are hitting this already weak offensive line hard. Players were beginning to develop but unless this unit gets healthy, they will likely struggle to find consistency in 2005. Anthony Davis was going to be a key for the Buccaneers offensive line fortunes after his strong camp. However he was carted off the field on August 15th and if he cannot recover in a hurry, the Buccaneers offensive line may be unsettled right up to the start of camp. Right now it is really impossible to predict the starting five.

August 15th - Anthony Davis, one of the biggest surprises in camp was expected to start at left tackle for the Buccaneers this season but that may have to be altered after OT Anthony Davis was carted off the field with what appeared to be a left quad injury. The injury comes right as Davis appeared on the verge of nailing down the starting job. In Davis' absence, OT Todd Steussie, who was cut earlier in the preseason in a salary-cap move but returned with Deese sidelined, stands atop the depth chart.

August 8th - Buccaneers.com reports that the Buccaneers continue to have trouble fielding a full offensive line in practices. Third-year tackle Jeff Hatch, one of the two re-signed players along with tackle Todd Steussie, left practice with a lower back strain. The same injury knocked out Matt Stinchcomb, who has been playing left guard on the starting line. Tackle Sam Lightbody, signed a week ago after the team released tackle Kevin Fischer, couldn't finish the workout either due to a lacerated right hand. And rookie guard Dan Buenning returned to work after missing several days to a strained calf, only to have the injury force him to the sidelines again midway through the practice. Derrick Deese it out with a foot sprain while Kenyatta Walker has had some swelling in his knee.


Tennessee Titans
Overall Grade: C+

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B
C+
C+
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
C+
B
B

2004: 14th in rushing (1,871 yards), 4th in YPC (4.5), 22nd in sacks allowed (44), 18th in PA / Sack (13.4 PA / Sack)
New Additions: Rookies Michael Roos, Daniel Loper and David Stewart
Key Losses: T Fred Miller
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Justin Hartwig; G-Benji Olsen; G-Zach Piller; T-Brad Hopkins; T-Todd Williams
Key Backups: G Jacob Bell; T Matt Martin; T Michael Roos [r]; T David Stewart [r]; Daniel Loper

Update August 10th - OT Brad Hopkins has lost weight and is in the best shape he has been in for years

Update August 8th - Rookie lineman Michael Roos and David Stewart are earning playing time with their strong camps so far.

Update June 26th - Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that left offensive tackle Brad Hopkins looks like he's 29 instead of 34 (he'll be 35 by the time the season begins) and the three rookie draft picks have made a good impression, particularly OT Michael Roos and OT David Stewart. The jury is still out on OT Todd Williams and OT Jacob Bell isn't ready to return from injury. Right tackle remains a question mark. Wyatt's take: Despite some questions marks, the unit should be a strength of the team.


Washington Redskins
Overall Grade: B

Run Block
Pass Block
Depth
B+
B
B
Cohesion
Experience
Change from '04
B-
C+
B

2004: 25th in rushing (1,624 yards), 25th in YPC (3.8), 18th in sacks allowed (38), 17th in PA / Sack (13.5 PA / Sack)
New Additions: C Casey Rabach (Baltimore)
Key Losses: None
Projected Starting Lineup: C-Casey Rabach; G-Derrick Dockery; G-Randy Thomas; T-Chris Samuels T-Jon Jansen
Key Backups: C Cory Raymer; C Lennie Friedman; G Josh Warner, G/T Ray Brown

Update August 4th - Redskins.com report that After getting injured in the pre-season last year, Right Tackle Jon Jansen is back to work in training camp, and appears to be in great condition. "I'm feeling more and more comfortable every day and I'm real happy to be back," Jansen said. Said running back Clinton Portis of Jansen: "He has come back really healthy. I think he is excited to be back on the field. There are a bunch of guys out on the field with a lot to prove. Jon is one of those guys."

Update July 5th - Redskins.com reports that Entering the 2005 season, Derrick Dockery had started 29 consecutive games for the Redskins, the longest streak of any offensive player. Coaches like his potential, but Dockery was part of an offensive line that struggled at times in 2004. He knows he has to stay aggressive and keep working hard. Says Dockery: "This year, I'm able to really focus on getting stronger, getting my body right for the long haul. I want to make sure that I have a bright future here."

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