Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL and a team’s ability to cope with said setback is what sets great teams apart. One need look no further than the Philadelphia Eagles last year who still won the Super Bowl without their starters at arguably the two most valuable offensive positions – quarterback and left tackle. Those two positions also happen to be two of the most irreplaceable with both being drastically thin league-wide. Take into account the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing Demar Dotson midway through the season last year as well. Post Dotson’s injury, they were never the same unit.
With that in mind, we’ll be revisiting our offensive line rankings weekly to keep up with injuries and performance fluctuations that can have a big impact on their respective offenses.
Most notably in the first iteration of our weekly offensive line rankings, the drastic fall of the Carolina Panthers after losing Daryl Williams while the Cleveland Browns saw a big decrease from their preseason rankings after Desmond Harrison struggled in Week 1 at left tackle.
[Editor’s note: The grades listed below are an aggregate score for any player with at least one year of playing experience, taking into account the last 17 weeks of action they’ve been an active member of an NFL roster. For rookies, this grade below is their Week 1, debut performance overall PFF grade.]
It’s not an understatement to say that the quality in line play was the difference in last Thursday night’s game. The Eagles offensive line held up particularly well in pass protection against a formidable Falcons front thanks in large part to the return of Peters. The Eagles left tackle picked up where he left off before injury, not allowing a single pressure on 42 pass-blocking snaps.
Brown was impressive in his Patriots debut at left tackle. He earned a 79.8 pass-blocking grade after yielding all of two hurries all game long. With how much teams are paying for competent offensive tackles in free agency nowadays, nabbing Brown for a third-rounder looks like a steal.
The Falcons offensive line was overpowered on the last drive last Thursday night, but there’s no shame in losing the battle to the league’s top pass-rushing defensive line from 2017. The good news is, newly-extended left tackle Jake Matthews wasn’t among those getting his butt handed to him. Matthews allowed only two pressures on 52 pass-blocking snaps all night.
The Rams were easily the highest-graded unit from this past week, although a Raiders front without Khalil Mack doesn’t strike much fear. They allowed only two pressures all game long with the interior of the offensive line not allowing a single pressure.
The Steelers offensive line has reached the point where the player with the greatest reputation might be their biggest liability as well. Pouncey allowed five pressures this past week on 50 pass-blocking snaps for a pass-blocking grade of 18.7. The rest of the line combined for all of three total pressures all day.