Well, you asked for it folks. I have graded each offensive line and ranked them accordingly, which is usually a staple around here.
With so much parity in the league these days, it’s become a necessity to know every facet of the game and to take every ounce of luck that you possibly can out of this wonderful game we call fantasy football. Not every good offensive line will produce great players but when you combine good skill position players with a superior front five the possibilities are endless. A perfect example would be the Carolina Panthers with their terrific stable of running backs and the all-star offensive line.
Another added feature this year is a 3-deep depth chart to better explain the situation and where some of these players will be lining up at and what exactly some of these additions bring to the table.
As usual I expect a ton of criticism for this, so please bang out comments below or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org….
#1. New York Giants
RunBlocking: A+ | PassBlocking: A | Experience: A+ | Overall Grade: A+
2008 Overview: The G-Men have a smart, saged, and experienced group of lineman on their roster. They have great strength in the run game, depth, and coaching on their side. It’s no wonder that the Giants were the leagues’ #1 rushing offense last year, averaging 157 yards per game on the ground. The O-line also continued their impressive streak of two years without an injury as well.
2009 Outlook: This same starting five has been together for the last three season now and that kind of cohesion gives them the edge on almost any line in the league. The perfect example of a group playing well together, the Giants have no real blue chippers but they do create huge running lanes and they also give QB Eli Manning ample time to stare down receivers.
Offensive Line Coach: Pat Flaherty
#2. Tennessee Titans
RunBlocking: A+ | PassBlocking: A- | Experience: A | Overall Grade: A
2008 Overview: This one of the most physical front five in the entire league. The Titans excel at run blocking and they only allowed 12 sacks on the year last season. Granted, the team does not pass a lot but this group fits the rushing scheme that Jeff Fisher and the Titans love to use. Tennessee’s 7th ranked rushing attack last season is great considering teams knew the run was coming with the lack of a passing game.
2009 Outlook: The Titans don’t have great depth but this group is fairly young, so injury isn’t a huge concern. Expect the Titans to continue to feed LenDale White & Chris Johnson as this group paves the way and Collins tries to keep defenses honest. The only cause for concern here is the age of starting center Kevin Mawae(38) but he’s still playing at a very high level, making the Pro Bowl last year.
Offensive Line Coach: Mike Munchak
#3. New England Patriots
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: A+ | Experience: A | Overall Grade: A-
2008 Overview: Even though the Pats lost Tom Brady for the year, the O-Line stepped up along with the rest of the Pats offense and paved the way to an 11 win season with a backup QB at the helm. The front five actually had one of their best rushing seasons, as the Pats ranked 6th in total rushing yards last year. Even with Cassel, the Patriots machine managed 220+ passing yards per game.
2009 Outlook: Continuity is the key here and this line’s left side is what keeps the Pats high on my board. Logan Mankins is a nasty brawler, tackle Matt Light is still solid on the edge, and center Dan Koppen keeps the group in line. While Stephen Neal isn’t a great athlete, he’s got nice base strength and he combines well with the physical play of right tackle Nick Kaczur. While they aren’t flashy, this is a very stable group that has great experience.
Offensive Line Coach: Dante Scarnecchia
#4. Carolina Panthers
RunBlocking: A+ | PassBlocking: A- | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: A-
2008 Overview: I shouldn’t have to remind anybody that this is the unit that produced huge running lanes for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. That duo rushed for a combined for 28 TDs thanks to the physical play of the front five but they also held opponents to just 20 sacks. The addition of Jeff Otah worked wonders last season, as Travelle Wharton’s move inside solidified the line.
2009 Outlook: Every starter from last year returns, Keydrick Vincent is the oldest player at 28 years of age, and Jeff Otah is just scratching the surface of his potential. Jordan Gross is one of the league’s elite pass protectors and sets the tone for this group. The biggest knock on these guys is a lack of depth because behind rookie Duke Robinson and Mackenzy Bernadeau, there is a huge drop-off in talent. Expect this offensive line to be good for years to come.
Offensive Line Coach: Dave Magazu
#5. New York Jets
RunBlocking: A | PassBlocking: B+ | Experience: A+ | Overall Grade: A-
2008 Overview: The Jets clearly have a talented offensive line that they’ve formed into a team asset. The addition of Alan Faneca last year set the tone for this entire group and it showed, as Thomas Jones lead the AFC in rushing. Nick Mangold really came into his own at the center position last year playing along side Faneca and veteran Brandon Moore.
2009 Outlook: D’Brickashaw Ferguson continues to improve on the left side but this is another veteran group that does not have good depth outside of the starting five. If this unit stays healthy, they will be able to provide rookie Mark Sanchez with ample protection and they’ll once again be the back-bone on one of the AFC’s best running games. Another plus is the presence of veteran fullback Tony Richardson, who has blocked for numerous 1,000 yard rushers.
Offensive Line Coach: Bill Callahan
#6. New Orleans Saints
RunBlocking: B- | PassBlocking: A | Experience: A- | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: When you average 311 yards passing per game, you could say the line did a great job giving Drew Brees and his receivers time to throw. Last year’s rookie addition of Carl Nicks from Nebraska fitting in at guard provided a big lift on the left side. Although injury prone, center Jonathan Goodwin did play well at points last season.
2009 Outlook: Left tackle Jammal Brown is in the conversation for best offesive tackle in the league with his terrific foot work, his imposing size, and his amazing strength in the run game. This group will only get better when you consider “The pride of Bloomsburg”, Jahri Evans, is continuing his improvement each year and veteran tackle Jon Stinchcomb has been re-signed for the next few seasons.
Offensive Line Coach: Aaron Kromer
#7. Dallas Cowboys
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: A- | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: Dallas missed guard Kyle Kosier last year and his absence aided the struggles of Flozell Adams, who appears to be slowing down a bit. The Cowboys finished outside the top-10 in average yards per game but that can also be attributed to the absence of Tony Romo late in the year. The right side of this line was solid last season with improved play from Marc Columbo, Leanord Davis, and center Andre Gurode.
2009 Outlook: Dallas returns a very experienced and physical goup for the 2009 season. They will look to get their running game established which will play right into offensive coordinator Jason Garret’s play action passing game. Depth is a concern here with the best backup options being Montrae Holland and Doug Free. Based on the talent of the starting five and the superior tutelage of veteran offensive line coach Hudson Houck, this is still a top-10 line that will be blocking for one of the better offenses in the league.
Offensive Line Coach: Hudson Houck
#8. Denver Broncos
RunBlocking: B+ | PassBlocking: A | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: Denver’s front five enjoyed a fabulous season, only giving up a league-leading 12 sacks and setting the tone for the NFL’s number 2 offense. Rookie guard Ryan Clady stepped into the starting left tackle position from day one and played like a man possessed all year long. Veteran center Casey Wiegmann had a pro bowl season and Ben Hamilton had a great come back from a concussion plagued 2007.
2009 Outlook: The Broncos return all five starters from 2008 and their nucleus of Clady, Kuper, and Harris should keep them strong for years to come. The new offensive system shouldn’t be a drastic change, as New England’s schemes have been known to utilize some elements of zone-blocking schemes in the run game. Coach Rick Dennison was one of the few Shanahan hold-overs, so you can count on some consistency here.
Offensive Line Coach: Rick Dennison
#9. Minnesota Vikings
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: A- | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: The Vikes enjoyed another stellar rushing season but that’s mostly due to the fact that they have a savage beast playing running back for them(Adrian Peterson). Minnesota’s tremendous ground game can’t make up for the fact that they gave up 43 sacks last year. The right tackle position was a revolving door and that certainly didn’t compliment the fact that Peterson loves to run to his right. Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson once again formed one of the best left sides in the entire league.
2009 Outlook: The Vikes will be without long-time center Matt Birk but the team is very high on second-year pro John Sullivan. Phil Loadholt was the team’s 2nd round pick in this year’s draft but most scouts consider that pick to be a reach. While Loadholt isn’t the best lineman from this class, he is very physical and has the size(6’8″, 337lbs) to be effective in the run game immediately. Regardless, Loadholt will be a marked improvement over Ryan Cook on the right side but their depth is terrible after super swing-tackle Artis Hicks.
Offensive Line Coach: Pat Morris
#10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: The Bucs have a great combination of interior line in Davin Joseph, Jeff Faine, and Aaron Sears. Indianapolis native Jeremy Trueblood has come into his own on the right side and the un-drafted Donald Penn has turned out to be an ideal replacement for Luke Pettigout on the left side. They still have room for improvement in the passing game after giving up 32 sacks last year.
2009 Outlook: Few teams possess the youth and talent that the Bucs do but there is cause for concern, as mammoth left guard Aaron Sears is suffering from a concussion. If Sears cannot go top backup Jeremy Zuttah will be called into action but there shouldn’t be a huge drop-off in production. This remains a very physical group that can dominate the line of scrimmage any day of the week, so expect the new-look Buccaneers to rely heavily on the run.
Offensive Line Coach: Pete Manguirian
#11. Jacksonville Jaguars
RunBlocking: A | PassBlocking: B | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: The Injury Bug hit the Jags’ O-Line hard in ’08. They lost three starters (Brad Meester, Vince Manuwai, and Maurice Williams) by halftime of the season opener for extended periods of the season. Meester would return by week 7 but the others were lost for the season. The Line just wasn’t the same, as Garrard was sacked 42 times last year.
2009 Outlook: The Jags addressed the O-Line in free agency and the draft by picking up veteran Tra Thomas, while selecting Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton back in April. Jacksonville will have one of the deepest offensive lines in the league, so they’re prepared should another rash of injuries break out. This is a very competitive and physical group that will play right into the run-heavy scheme Jack DelRio prefers.
Offensive Line Coach: Andy Heck
#12. San Diego Chargers
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B | Experience: A- | Overall Grade: B+
2008 Overview: The Chargers run game was average last year but a lot of that can be attributed to Tomlinson’s nagging turf toe injury and Philip Rivers penchant for airing it out last season. San Diego’s offense still finished 11th in the league, averaging 349 total yards per game. Marcus McNeil, Kris Dielman, and Nick Harwick are as good as it gets on the left side.
2009 Outlook: Rivers and Company are likely to steam-roll over the rest of the AFC West on their way to the playoffs and if they can get some kind of contribution from rookie Louis Vasquez from Texas Tech, it will rejuvenate their running game. There isn’t great depth here but LJ Shelton, Kynan Forney, and Scott Mruckowski provide capable experience. Jeromey Clary should continue to improve in his second season as a full-time starter but this group thrives off of the physical play of Marcus McNeil and Kris Dielman.
Offensive Line Coach: Mike Sullivan
#13. Miami Dolphins
RunBlocking: B+ | PassBlocking: B | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: Jake Long lived up to his draft stock, as the number one over-all pick made the pro-bowl in his rookie year. The Dolphins had a very balanced attack, with their passing game ranking 10th in the NFL and averaging the league’s 11th best total on the ground. Tony Sparano clearly changed the culture in Miami and his background working with offensive lines helped out tremendously.
2009 Outlook: The strength of this group is on the left side with Justin Smiley and Jake Long but Jeff Grove comes over from Oakland to upgrade the position from a strength stand-point, as the previous starter(Samson Satele) was freaquently pushed around by larger defenders. The right side is very solid with veteran tackle Vernon Carey and a up-and-comer in Donald Thomas at guard. This unit has adequate depth and plays with a mean streak but they still have a little meshing to do before I can put them into the top-10. A ton of upside here.
Offensive Line Coach: Dave DeGuglielmo
#14. Indianapolis Colts
RunBlocking: C+ | PassBlocking: A- | Experience: A | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: Indianapolis took a step back last year with the offensive line going through a lot of injury issues. Tony Ugoh’s regression certainly didn’t make matters any better and when all-pro center Jeff Saturday was out, the Colts’ offense was stagnant at best. Through all of this adversity, the front five still managed to help the passing game to rank 5th in the league and held opponents to just 14 sacks.
2009 Outlook: The Colts return Ryan Diem, Jeff Saturday, and 2nd-year pro Mike Pollack on the right side, so there will be some continuity there but question marks remain on the left side. Tony Ugoh has had a terrible pre-season and has been replaced by top reserve Charlie Johnson at tackle. Ryan Lilja is returning from knee surgery but it remains to be seen as to how well that knee, that has been operated on multiple times, has healed. All in all, the Colts run a tight ship and I doubt the benching of Tony Ugoh last for long, as I’m positive it’s more a of a motivational ploy than anything else.
Offensive Line Coach: Howard Mudd
#15. Houston Texans
RunBlocking: B+ | PassBlocking: B+ | Experience: B | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: These guys keep getting better and better and that is a credit to Hall of Fame OL Coach Alex Gibbs. The Texans’ zone-blocking scheme was run to perfection last season and it resulted in a franchise record in rushing yardage. The team still has issues protecting the passer at times but that should improve. Last year’s rookie tackle Duane Brown did struggle early but he has a ton of upside and should be a great cornerstone for this line.
2009 Outlook: All starting five players from last year’s unit return intact and another year of experience will help this young group. Eric Winston has turned out to be one heck of a tackle on the right side and the trade they made to acquire center Chris Myers from Denver paid out in full last season. Veteran Chester Pitts is solid in the running game and should form a good left side for Houston. This is a good group that plays very well into their scheme but their depth is very suspect with rookie Antoine Caldwell as their best backup.
Offensive Line Coach: Alex Gibbs
#16. Baltimore Ravens
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: B- | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: This team knows how to pound the rock and you need to look no further than the 4th ranked rushing offense to see the proof. They are a very physical group and Jared Gaither is starting to show flashes of dominant play on the left side. Ben Grubbs has been a great pick for them, as he excels in the running game and tandems very well with fellow guard Marshall Yanda. This is a great young group of linemen.
2009 Outlook: While the Ravens did lose Jason Brown(last year’s starting center), they also brought in all-pro veteran Matt Birk to replace him and they drafted Michael Oher out of Ole Miss in the first round of last April’s draft. Oher has the potential to be a great player but he’s still very raw in his technique and footwork. He might experience a slow start but his physical play will likely earn him a starting spot on the right side. The Ravens have a good group of backups in Adam Terry, David Hale, and Oniel Cousins. These guys will continue to get better and have tremendous upside.
Offensive Line Coach: John Matsko
#17. Philadelphia Eagles
RunBlocking: B- | PassBlocking: B+ | Experience: B | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: The Eagles only allowed 23 sacks on the year but they were still a below average rushing team. Jamaal Jackson regressed a tad last season and got pushed around in the run game but the Eagles losing Shaun Andrews for the year last season had to have a huge impact on Jackson’s performance. The line seamed to get too old way too fast and the club is now without long-time tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan.
2009 Outlook: A new year brings a few new faces that should be perfect fits for this front five. Jason Peters was acquired in a trade from Buffalo to start on the left side of the line and Stacey Andrew(Shaun’s brother) was lured over from Cincinnati to team up with his brother on the right side of the line. As if the chemistry wasn’t already a great fit with the Andrews brother reunited, it turns out that Jason Peters and Shaun Andrews were college roommates at Arkansas. The Eagles have done a great job of adding quality depth all across the line.
Offensive Line Coach: Juan Castillo
#18. Atlanta Falcons
RunBlocking: A- | PassBlocking: B | Experience: B- | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: This is a very physical group that plays right into head coach Mike Smith’s run-first philosophy. The Falcons had the #2 rushing attack in the league and only allowed 17 total sacks on the year. Rookie Sam Baker played well when healthy and 3rd year pro Justin Blalock is a force of nature at the left guard position. He’s built like a tackle but he has excellent feet and quickness out of his stance. Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo both played very well on the right side with veteran Todd McClure leading the way at center.
2009 Outlook: I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong about these guys but I still stand by the fact that outside of Blalock, there isn’t much star power here. Atlanta will continue to pound the rock with all five starters from 2008 returning. Sam Baker should continue to improve with another year of seasoning and his health will bring a lot of continuity to the starting five. Depth is a concern with things get pretty skinny after top reserve Ben Wilkerson.
Offensive Line Coach: Paul Boudreau
#19. Chicago Bears
RunBlocking: B+ | PassBlocking: C+ | Experience: B | Overall Grade: B
2008 Overview: The Bears made due last year at tackle with veterans John Tait and John St Clair. Center Olin Kreutz is still one of the best in the business and Roberto Garza has been a very reliable presence at right guard. The Bears interior did a good job of giving Matt Forte support last year but they didn’t stand out in any area either.
2009 Outlook: Chicago is actually getting first round picks galore when you consider that Orlando Pace, Chris Williams, and Jay Cutler were all at one time 1st rounders. Pace is a definite upgrade at left tackle and last year’s rookie selection, Chris Williams is returning from back surgery. With the extra infusion of tackle help and the quality depth(Omiyale, Buenning, Shaffer), the Bears stand to be very improved with their new quarterback running the offense.
Offensive Line Coach: Harry Hiestand
#20. Cleveland Browns
RunBlocking: B | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: C+ | Overall Grade: B-
2008 Overview: This group, much like the rest of the team, underachieved last year. Joe Thomas struggled in his second year and stud left guard Eric Steinbach was hampered by an injured shoulder all season. Ryan Tucker missed 2008 with knee and hip injuries and will be lost for the 2009 season as well. The Browns problems with the injury bug all across the board really hampered the entire offense.
2009 Outlook: Joe Thomas is a star left tackle who could dominate if he adds more strength and if Steinbach is healthy, they’ll be a great combo on that left side. I love the addition of center Alex Mack out of California in the draft. Not only was it a huge need but this kid is an extremely good run blocker on the interior and his nasty play is exactly what kind of attitude this team needs. Veteran John St Clair was added to shore up the right tackle position and Pork Chop Womack is likely to start at guard.
Offensive Line Coach: George Warhop
#21. St. Louis Rams
RunBlocking: B | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: B- | Overall Grade: C+
2008 Overview: The Rams had another year full of injuries and inconsistent play from their entire offense but the O-Line did a terrible job protecting the passer allowing 45 sacks on the year. The line had no punch on the interior and their centers got pushed around by the rest of the league.
2009 Outlook: The Rams have made some nice improvements with the free agent addition of center Jason Brown and #2 over-all pick Jason Smith form Baylor. Both have a very mean disposition and play extremely physical which should be a welcomed feeling around Rams camp. The plan is to move Alex Barron over to left tackle and start the rookie on the right side. With Jacob Bell returning and Richie Incognito cutting down on penalties, this group stand to be much improved in all facets of the game.
Offensive Line Coach: Steve Loney
#22. Pittsburgh Steelers
RunBlocking: B- | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: B+ | Overall Grade: C+
2008 Overview: Talk about winning w/ smoke and mirrors. The Steelers found a way to make it work for them, regardless of the fact that they gave up 49 sacks on the year. Max Starks is an adequate left tackle and Chris Kemoeatu has great base strength but is very limited athletically. Center Justin Hartwig provides good experience and Willie Colon has been a reliable player, starting all 16 regular season games last year.
2009 Outlook: If the Steelers can avoid injury, they should do alright but their selection of Kraig Urbik in the draft is also a great step in the direction of adding quality depth to a team group that desperately needs it. Urbik is a terrific run blocker but his pass blocking leaves a lot to be desired, so don’t look for him to over-take Darnell Stapleton’s job right out of the gate but he may finish the season with it.
Offensive Line Coach: Larry Zierlein
#23. Green Bay Packers
RunBlocking: C+ | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: C+ | Overall Grade: C+
2008 Overview: The Packers running game struggled last year while the passing game was piping-hot all season long in the frozen tundra. The team lost veteran Mark Tauscher to a torn ACL in week 14, while Chad Clifton allowed 7.5 sacks last season alone after giving up only 20 his first 8 years in the league. Daryn Colledge continues to improve and was a definite bright spot for the O-Line last season.
2009 Outlook: Mark Tauscher is no longer with the team and Clifton is expected to move over to left tackle to play alongside Colledge. Center Jason Spitz is a budding star, while Josh Sitton should end up starting the season at right guard. The Packers appear to be going with tackle Allen Barbre on the right side, so there’s a lot of turn over on the front five. It may take a while for this group to mesh but they should be good once they do. Green Bay has a lot of nice depth on the interior and should maintain steady offensive numbers.
Offensive Line Coach: James Campen
#24. San Francisco 49ers
RunBlocking: B- | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: C+ | Overall Grade: C
2008 Overview: The 49ers O-Line can’t be blamed for ALL of those 55 sacks since Mike Martz’ play calling has been known to result in high sack totals for the opposition. Joe Staley, Chilo Rachal, and David Baas are still a very young corps but they still showed some flashes of light towards the end of the year.
2009 Outlook: There is some continuity going on in San Francisco and the team is going to focus more on the run this season, which should play right into what this front five does best. Chilo Rachal is one of their better run blockers and the team will have David Baas back healthy for the full season after tearing his pectoral muscle last season. Marvel Smith may be retiring but Adam Snyder is a step up in my opinon.
Offensive Line Coach: Chris Foerster
#25. Washingotn Redskins
RunBlocking: C+ | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: A- | Overall Grade: C
2008 Overview: How the mighty have fallen. What used to be a team strength is starting to look like a weakness and the entire offensive line has gotten extremely injury prone in their old age. The club lost veteran Pete Kendall but that’s almost viewed as addition by subtraction.
2009 Outlook: Chris Samuels is still being counted on to hold down the fort and the club brought back Derrick Dockery to shore up the left side of the line. Center Casey Rabach is still playing at a high level but the right guard Randy Thomas is really showing his age and with Jon Jansen gone, Stephon Heyer is the best replacement at right tackle. This does not bode well for the Washingotn offense in 2009.
Offensive Line Coach: Joe Bugel
#26. Arizona Cardinals
RunBlocking: C- | PassBlocking: B- | Experience: B- | Overall Grade: C
2008 Overview: Through the entire 20 game span that included the playoffs, all five starters played in every single game. That’s great continuity and that’s why Arizona was able to do some of the things they did in the playoffs and in the regular season. While Kurt Warner was given ample time to throw the ball, the line still has a lot of work to do in the run game.
2009 Outlook: The good news here is that las year’s starting five is returning and Russ Grimm is going to continue doing a fantastic job coaching them up. Levi Brown is starting to come into his own at tackle but this group doesn’t have a ton of talent outside of him. It’s a very blue collar group that got it done on scheme, chemistry, and dedication. I like Deuce Lutui but he, much like the rest of the line, must get more physical at the point of attack.
Offensive Line Coach: Russ Grimm
#27. Cincinnati Bengals
RunBlocking: C | PassBlocking: C | Experience: C+ | Overall Grade: C-
2008 Overview: The Bengals have gotten worse and worse on the front five and it’s no wonder that Carson Palmer is having trouble staying healthy with this bunch of rag tags protection him. Injury prone tackles Stacey Andrews and Levi Jones were not retained early in the off-season and the club appears content moving on from there.
2009 Outlook: First round pick Andre Smith is already being penciled in for one of the starting tackle positions but with his holdout and current injury status that plan might be put on hold for the time being. Andrew Whitworth will move outside to tackle and 2nd year pro Anthony Collins is another option to play on the right side with veteran Bobby Williams. Over-all, I’m seeing a little more turnover than I’d like and it might result in a slwo start for the Bounce Back Bengals Band Wagon.
Offensive Line Coach: Paul Alexander
#28. Seattle Seahawks
RunBlocking: C | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: C- | Overall Grade: C-
2008 Overview: Walter Jones spent another season on Injured Reserve, just as he’s looking like he’ll do this year and Seattle got absolutely nothing out of Mike Wahle much like they’ll get this season, as he is likely to announce his retirement from football. The team also lost guard Rob Sims for the entire year as a result of a torn pectoral muscle in week one.
2009 Outlook: The Seahawks couldn’t have worse luck and to cap it off, center Chris Spencer is already on the shelf for a quadriceps injury. The one plus with all of this turnover is that rookie pick Max Unger from Oregon is almost assured to get a ton of playing time. The Seahawks are in a lot of trouble with the potential absence of Walter Jones who has yet to practice after suffering complications from his reconstructive knee surgery. They’ll need veteran O-Line guru Mike Solari to work magic this year.
Offensive Line Coach: Mike Solari
#29. Oakland Raiders
RunBlocking: B | PassBlocking: C- | Experience: C- | Overall Grade: C-
2008 Overview: The Raiders managed to have the 10th best rushing attack last year and their offensive line showed marginal improvement but the biggest reason for that was their lack of a passing game. While Oakland is respectable on the ground, they’re still terrible in pass protection.
2009 Outlook: Robert Gallery is finding his way at guard, tackle Mario Henderson is starting to come along, and Cornell Green returns on the right side. The bottom line here is that Oakland is full of marginal talent and doesn’t have good coaching. They’re a bunch of misfits and outcasts that play decent enough not to get fired on game day.
Offensive Line Coach: Jim Michalczik
#30. Kansas City Chiefs
RunBlocking: C- | PassBlocking: D+ | Experience: C | Overall Grade: C-
2008 Overview: Kansas City isn’t terribly far off but they will certainly need a lot of help to make any kind of turnaround in this department. The run game was atrotious and the pass proteciton was aweful. The Chiefs’ passing stats did take a hike towards the tail end of the season but that’s largely due to the team being behind in a lot of games. Brandon Albert did play well for being thrown in there and should provide Matt Cassel with a decent blind side protecter.
2009 Outlook: Brian Waters had been asking to be traded away from the team but those talks seamed to have died out. If he stays, the Chiefs actually have a solid left side but the addition of Mike Goff is nothing more than a band-aid on an open wound with the aging Damion McIntosh at right tackle. The Chiefs offense will continue to sputter this season but it’s expected to be a rebuilding year.
Offensive Line Coach: Bill Muir
#31. Detroit Lions
RunBlocking: D+ | PassBlocking: D+ | Experience: C+ | Overall Grade: D+
2008 Overview: It’s easy to throw a 0-16 team under the bus but they certainly didn’t do themselves any favors, ranking last in almost every category. Rookie Gosder Cherilus struggled through the year last season but he does appear to be improving, albeit on a very slow scale. Dominic Raiola is still the best lineman of this bunch and that’s not a compliment.
2009 Outlook: The good news is that rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew is a phenomenal blocker and he should help the running game tremendously. The Lions re-signed Guard Stephen Peterman but he’s fringe at best, while veteran tackle Jeff Backus would be better suited moving inside to guard. The team signed tackle Jon Jansen the day after he was released by the Redskins, so that should tell you exactly how desperate they are for help at the position. It’s going to be another long season running the ball in Detroit.
Offensive Line Coach: George Yarno
#32. Buffalo Bills
RunBlocking: D+ | PassBlocking: D- | Experience: F | Overall Grade: F+
2008 Overview: Talk about going through turnover, the Bills lost their starting center, left tackle, and left guard all in one off-season. Jason Peters and Derrick Dockery didn’t form the left side that Buffalo had invisioned when they signed Dockery to a huge free agent deal back in ’07, so the Bills released him and traded away the disgruntled Peters to Philadelphia. The one positive is that their most consistent lineman, Brad Butler, is returning along with veteran Langston Walker.
2009 Outlook: The Bills went out and picked up Terrell Owens via free agency but what a lot of people tend to over look is the addition of Eric Wood from Louisville in April’s draft. Wood was one of the top interior lineman available in this draft and is a very strong player in the running game. The team also took a heralded guard from Oregon State in Andy Levitre but he’s going to take some time to get acclimated to the pro game. There is no continuity going here whatsoever, as everyone of the starting five will be playing a new position this year.
Offensive Line Coach: Sean Kugler