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San Francisco up 6
When a team acquires a veteran free agent, for example, center Alex Mack from the Atlanta Falcons, his cohesion score automatically goes to zero, just like any other rookie or free agent joining the lineup. But veterans like Mack have a tendency to skip the line when it comes to bonding with their team, and the results were on full display Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. The 49ers' offensive line surrendered two pressures of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, one each from right guard Daniel Brunskill and Mike McGlinchey. Left tackle Trent Williams was dominant in run blocking, allowing the backs to gain the edge on outside zone plays. This is an established program and adding a gem such as Mack elevates them from pretty good to elite. Prior to their week two matchup against Philadelphia, the 49ers rank third in the latest grades.
Arizona up 6
The Cardinals' line has been underrated all summer, checking it at eleven at the end of preseason rankings. With second-year player Josh Jones playing most of the right guard snaps and Justin Murray replacing right tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) in the 3rd quarter, one would expect a downgrade here. But their bullying performance against an above-average Titans' defensive front in Week 1 has led to an upgrade. Of special note was the play of center Rodney Hudson. Like Mack in San Francisco, this is a veteran who acclimated to the system almost immediately. Beachum is officially day-to-day and still in the rankings, despite missing Wednesday's practice. The Cards' line grades out at sixth just prior to their Week Two home game against Minnesota.
Seattle up 2
This upgrade is due to the improved play at two positions, left tackle and center. Duane Brown renegotiated his contract this preseason and the team gave him many new incentives to hit. Brown was clearly playing inspired as he was all over the field last Sunday against Indianapolis. Brown appears to be in All-Pro form. Meanwhile the center news reads more like a downgrade. Presumed starter Ethan Pocic missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury, played 14 snaps against Indianapolis but excited with a knee injury. This week the team put him on injured reserve. The good news is that center Kyle Fuller took the rest of the snaps, and the offense scored all their touchdowns with him on the field. Fuller is an exclusive rights free agent and at 6'5" he's taller than most pivot men. Add Gabe Jackson in the mix at right guard and the Seahawks' line grades 12th, just inside the line for top-third in the league.
Houston up 5
After missing the preseason right tackle Marcus Cannon made his debut and played 50% of snaps against Jacksonville. Cannon split time on purpose with Geron Christian, who played the other 50% of the snaps due to Cannon's conditioning. Cannon is a cancer survivor who opted out of the 2020 season, and he is still working his way back into full game shape after a long layoff. Still, this new-look lineup with Cannon at right tackle and former right tackle Tytus Howard at left guard performed well in the divisional matchup. This week the Texans' line faces a mighty challenge against Cleveland's defensive front, but this is a solid and underrated line by league standards (17th overall), there are outcomes where they can weather the storm.
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