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Steelers have 24th best O Line in NFL!@!

Postby Hi5Steeler » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:15 pm

OL Rankings: The trenches are the first place to find winners
June 2, 2008
By Pete Prisco Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!

The New York Giants' run through the playoffs and their upset victory of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII once again reinforced the idea that, despite all the new wrinkles over the years, the NFL game is still won by having good players on both lines.

The Giants' defensive front four rightfully received plenty of hype after they helped shut down the high-flying New England offense in the Super Bowl and limiting Dallas and Green Bay in the playoffs. But the Giants' offensive line was almost as good in the playoffs, but nobody noticed.

That's the way it is for offensive lineman. The only way they get attention is if they're making mistakes.

As we head closer to the 2008 season, with the opening of training camps less than two months away and most teams getting a good feel for what their teams will look like, we thought it was a good time to take a look at the offensive and defensive lines of all 32 teams.

The first column we will rank the league's offensive lines, giving them a ranking of 1 to 32, with one being the best and 32 the worst. The next column will rank the defensive lines 1 to 32 and the final day will be an overall rankings.

The team with the lowest two-line total has the best line play in the league heading into the 2008 season and should be a Super contender.

If you're looking for a surprise team, you might want to look for a non-playoff team from last season that is in the top 15 in the overall line rankings.

It's all about the lines in the NFL.

The New York Giants once again reminded us of that last season.

Arizona Cardinals
Best player: RG Deuce Lutui. Weak link: Center Al Johnson.
The skinny: This is a unit that improved greatly in 2006. And with right tackle Levi Brown now in his second season it should be even better. Lutui developed into a quality guard last season and left tackle Mike Gandy was a pleasant surprise. They do need to block better for the run game.

Rating: 22

Atlanta Falcons
Best player: LG Justin Blalock. Weak link: The right tackle position, whoever starts -- if it isn't Blalock.

The skinny: This is a young group in transition. First-round pick Sam Baker will be the starting left tackle and will be a good one down the road but he is a rookie. This is a unit that might be overmatched early in the season. Blalock, now in his second season, could start at either guard or right tackle, depending where he is needed. Center Todd McClure is a decent player in the middle.

Rating: 32

Baltimore Ravens
Best player: RG Jason Brown. Weak link: RT Marshall Yanda.

The skinny: Brown is a rising star whose best football is in front of him. Left tackle Jonathan Ogden can still play at a high level if he doesn't retire, but not the way he did a few years back. There are some good, young players on this line who should get better in 2008. There will be a lot of competition for jobs. Yanda, the starting right tackle at the end of 2007, could be moved inside if a young tackle emerges.

Rating: 25

Buffalo Bills
Best player: LT Jason Peters. Weak link: C Melvin Fowler.

The skinny: Peters is a Pro Bowl player and the rest of the line is solid, if not great. This is a line that should get better each of the next few seasons as they develop. The Bills spent a lot of money last year to get Walker and left guard Derrick Dockery in free agency -- and it appeared to pay off. Dockery really played well. Fowler needs to play better.

Rating: 15

Carolina Panthers
Best player: LT Jordan Gross. Weak link: The right guard spot.

The skinny: The Panthers won't have one player starting in the same position he started in last season. But the line will be better. Gross moves from right tackle to the left side with rookie Jeff Otah in as the starter on the right side. Ryan Kalil takes over at center. Vincent will try to beat out Toniu Fonoti and Milford Brown at right guard.

Rating: 21

Chicago Bears
Best player: RT John Tait. Weak link: LT Chris Williams.

The skinny: Tait moves from the left side to the right side, his natural position, and rookie first-round pick Chris Williams will start on the left side. Center Olin Kreutz isn't the player he once was and the guards are average. Right guard Roberto Garza is average at best, and John St. Clair moves from tackle to left guard.

Rating: 26

Cincinnati Bengals
Best player: RT Stacey Andrews. Weak link: C Eric Ghiaciuc
The skinny: The Bengals had problems on their line last season with injuries to starting tackles Willie Anderson and Levi Jones. Andrews stepped in and played well in place of Anderson, which is why the team re-signed him before he hit the free-agent market. Ghiaciuc struggled with big power players last season.

Rating: 17

Cleveland Browns
Best player: LT Joe Thomas. Weak link: C Hank Fraley.

The skinny: The addition of Thomas last year as a rookie and free-agent guard Eric Steinbach really improved the line, especially the left side. The right side isn't as good, but the addition of guard Rex Hadnot might help the run game. Fraley is solid at center, but he has trouble with the big nose tackles.

Rating: 6

Center Andre Gurode anchors the Cowboys' outstanding offensive line. (Getty Images)

Dallas Cowboys
Best player: C Andre Gurode. Weak link: LG Kyle Kosier.

The skinny: This is an outstanding line from tackle to tackle. Picking out a weak line is tough, but Kosier is the choice. Gurode and right guard Leonard Davis are both coming off outstanding seasons. It will be interesting to see how left tackle Flozell Adams plays with his new contract.

Rating: 1

Denver Broncos
Best player: LG Ben Hamilton. Weak link: The right tackle spot.
The skinny: The Broncos line, which has been a strong point in recent years, wasn't so good last season. That's why Denver picked Ryan Clady in the first round. He will start at left tackle. The rest of the line will see a lot of competition for jobs. At right tackle, Erik Pears should battle Chris Kuper for the starting job. Getting left guard Ben Hamilton back from injury is huge. Center will be a battle between Tom Nalen and Casey Wiegmann.

Rating: 19

Detroit Lions
Best player: C Dominic Raiola. Weak link: RT Gosder Cherilus.

The skinny: The Lions had major problems at right tackle last season so they will turn to rookie first-round pick Cherilus. Starting a rookie is always dicey. Raiola is the best of this line, with left tackle Jeff Backus second best. The guards are just OK. Left guard Edwin Mulitalo is a good run blocker.

Rating: 27

Green Bay Packers
Best player: RT Mark Tauscher. Weak link: Both guard spots.

The skinny: In Tauscher and left tackle Chad Clifton, the Packers have a good combination. Center Scott Wells is a good player, but isn't powerful. It's the guard play that worried the team last season. They need to get better play from both guard spots in 2007 if this line is going to make strides.

Rating: 10

Houston Texans
Best player: RT Eric Winston. Weak link: LT Duane Brown.

The skinny: The Texans have had problems at left tackle their entire existence, but Brown steps in as a rookie and will likely start. That's a risk in a division with Dwight Freeney. Winston is underrated at right tackle. The interior will be better with the acquisition of center Chris Myers from Denver. Adding Alex Gibbs to coach this group will help.

Rating: 18

Indianapolis Colts
Best player: C Jeff Saturday. Weak link: Whoever starts at right guard.

The skinny: The Colts always have a quality line, and this year's group is no different. Saturday is a Pro Bowl player and second-year left tackle Tony Ugoh can get there. Look for rookie Mike Pollak to possibly start at right guard ahead of Charles Johnson. The line had a lot of injuries to deal with last season, but came through them well.

Rating: 4

Jacksonville Jaguars
Best player: RT Tony Pashos. Weak link: LT Khalif Barnes.

The skinny: This is one of the best lines in the league. There are no real weak spots. Barnes' only troubles have been focus. If he's focused, he's a heck of a player. The team is moving Vince Manuwai from left guard to right guard and look for second-year player Uche Nwaneri to push Maurice Williams at left guard.

Rating: 5

Kansas City Chiefs
Best player: LG Brian Waters. Weak link: C Rudy Niswanger.

The skinny: The Chiefs were really bad last season up front, a big departure from recent seasons. Age and retirements set them back, so they are looking to improve. Rookie first-round pick Branden Albert will start at left tackle, which will help. Waters is still a top-flight guard. The rest of the line is so-so at best. Niswanger is a first-year starter at center, but he has potential.

Rating: 31

Miami Dolphins
Best player: RT Vernon Carey. Weak link: The right guard spot.
The skinny: This is a line in rebuild mode. The drafting of left tackle Jake Long with the first overall pick in this year's draft will help the improvement. He will be a good one. That move allows Carey to go back to the right side. They overpaid for left guard Justin Smiley in free agency, but he will be an upgrade. The other guard spot is open to competition with rookie Shawn Murphy in the battle. Center Samson Satele is a young player to watch in coming years.

Rating: 29

Minnesota Vikings
Best player: LG Steve Hutchinson. Weak link: RT Ryan Cook.

The skinny: Hutchinson and left tackle Bryant McKinnie are very good on the left side, but the right side is a concern. Center Matt Birk is getting up in the years, but he can still play at a high level. Right guard Anthony Herrera is good in the run game.

Rating: 8

New England Patriots
Best player: LG Logan Mankins. Weak link: RT Nick Kaczur.

The skinny: This is a unit that took a beating for the way it played in the Super Bowl loss. They struggled in pass protection. But Dante Scarnecchia, the best line coach in football, should get this unit back on track. Mankins is one of the game's best and center Dan Koppen went to the Pro Bowl last season. Left tackle Matt Light needs to play better. Right guard is a concern.

Rating: 3

New Orleans Saints
Best player: RG Jahri Evans. Weak link: C Jonathan Goodwin.

The skinny: Evans plays at a Pro Bowl level and left tackle Jammal Brown is a good player as well. The biggest concern is center, where Jonathan Goodwin takes over for the departed Jeff Faine. Right tackle Jon Stinchcomb needs to revert to his 2006 form. He could be pushed for his job this summer.

Rating: 13

New York Giants
Best player: RG Chris Snee. Weak link: LG Rich Seubert.

The skinny: The Giants' line exceeded expectations last season, especially the tackles. Right tackle Kareem McKenzie and left tackle David Diehl played good football in the Super Bowl run. Center Shaun O'Hara is underrated. Snee is a Pro Bowl player who hasn't gone yet, while Seubert is a fighter.

Rating: 7

New York Jets
Best player: LG Alan Faneca. Weak link: RT Damien Woody.

The skinny: They added Faneca and Woody in free agency. The Woody move will be one to watch because he's moving from guard/center to full-time tackle. Does he have the feet to handle the speed out there? The key for this group will be if left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold show better than they did last season.

Rating: 14

Oakland Raiders
Best player: RG Cooper Carlisle. Weak link: Right tackle spot.

The skinny: The Raiders bypassed the chance to take an offensive tackle and instead picked running back Darren McFadden in the first round. So who blocks for him? The best of the weak group is Carlisle, who played well last season. Left guard Robert Gallery was a bust at tackle and pretty good inside. Adding John Wade isn't the answer at center. Kwame Harris is an upgrade over Barry Sims at left tackle, but not by much. The right tackle will be either Cornell Green or Mario Henderson or Paul McQuistan.

Rating: 23

Philadelphia Eagles
Best player: RG Shawn Andrews. Weak link: LG Todd Herremans.

The skinny: This was the unit that helped the Eagles to the playoffs in 2006. But it didn't play as well last season, giving up 49 sacks after 29 the year before. Andrews was clearly the best of the group, but the others didn't play as well as they did in 2006. Tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are getting up in years, and that's a concern. Center Jamaal Jackson needs to play better.

Rating: 9

Pittsburgh Steelers
Best player: LT Marvel Smith. Weak link: LG Chris Kemoeatu.

The skinny: They've traditionally had one of the better lines in the NFL. But with the loss of guard Alan Faneca and the poor development of players like tackles Willie Colon and Max Starks, the line isn't what it used to be. Smith had back surgery in the offseason that needs to be watched. Justin Hartwig will be an upgrade over Sean Mahan at center.

Rating: 24

St. Louis Rams
Best player: LT Orlando Pace. Weak link: The center spot.

The skinny: This line was terrible last season because of injuries. They get Pace back from injury, which is huge. He has missed big parts of the past two seasons. They also will have right guard Richie Incognito back, which is important to the run game. At center, Brett Romberg will try to fend off Mark Setterstrom. The problem is neither is good enough.

Rating: 28

San Diego Chargers
Best player: LG Kris Dielman. Weak link: RT Jeromey Clary.

The skinny: This line opens a lot of holes for LaDainian Tomlinson. The left side, with Dielman and tackle Marcus McNeil, is very good. Center Nick Hardwick and right guard Mike Goff are above-average players as well, although Goff is getting older at 32. Clary took over as a starter midway through last year and did OK, but he needs to be a better run blocker.

Rating: 2

San Francisco 49ers
Best player: LT Joe Staley. Weak link: C Eric Heitmann.

The skinny: They will move Staley from right tackle to the left side. He played the right side as a rookie, but is more of a left tackle. Look for rookie Chilo Rachal to start at guard, although he has worked some at right tackle. The inside people are average at best. Rookie Cody Wallace could challenge Heitmann.

Rating: 30

Seattle Seahawks
Best player: LT Walter Jones. Weak link: RG Rob Sims.

The skinny: Jones is the best in football. He continues to play at a high level. Right tackle Sean Locklear is solid. The interior is made up of a center Chris Spencer, veteran (Mike Wahle) at left guard and Rob Sims at right guard. Wahle was signed as a free agent. Spencer needs to play better inside than he did a year ago for the line to improve. Sims moves over from left guard.

Rating: 11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best player: LG Arron Sears. Weak link: LT Luke Petitgout.

The skinny: The Bucs have worked hard to improve their line and it's showing. In Sears and right guard Davin Joseph they have two guards who should be starters for a long time. Acquiring center Jeff Faine in free agency will help. He isn't strong in the run game, which can hurt. Donald Penn could push Petitgout.

Rating: 20

Tennessee Titans
Best player: LT Michael Roos. Weak link: LG Eugene Amano or Leroy Harris.

The skinny: In Roos and right tackle David Stewart, the Titans have one of the best tackle duos in the game. Roos has Pro Bowl ability right now. Amano or Harris will move in as a full-time starter for the first time, which is a concern. Center Kevin Mawae is still playing at a high level.

Rating: 12

Washington Redskins
Best player: RG Randy Thomas. Weak link: C Casey Rabach.

The skinny: The Redskins line was hurt last season when Jon Jansen was lost for all but one game with an injury and Thomas missed most of the season. If Jansen and left tackle Chris Samuels can stay on the field, the Redskins have a solid line. Thomas and Pete Kendall give them two veteran guards who get the job done. They have some quality depth in Jason Fabini and Stephen Heyer, two players forced to start last season because of the injuries to Thomas and Jansen.

Rating: 16 Team
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Re: Steelers have 24th best O Line in NFL!@!

Postby thesteelhammer » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:00 pm

Prisco speaks a lot of truth in this article, starting with the title.
The trenches are the first place to find winners

Couple of things:

1. Russ Grimm was hailed by many as a great O-line coach, yet the Cardinals O-line still sucks.
(ranked 22nd here)

2. Pretty rough on the Falcons. They are young and with the change at QB are going through transition, but they have talent on the o-line. Enough to not be the lowest ranked anyway.

3. anyone else smile when they read
Left tackle Jonathan Ogden can still play at a high level if he doesn't retire

4. Buffalo Bills LT Jason Peters has been skipping their OTA's because he wants his contract re-worked. Wonder if there is anything the Steelers could trade for him.

5. I think he has the Carolina Panthers ranked a little high or a team that won't have one player starting in the same position as last season.

6. I also think he has the Chicago Bears ranked lower than they ought to be. I think I'd trade our starting 5 for their starting 5. Their OT's are certainly better, as is their center, and can any guards be worse than Simmons and Chris "to dumb to learn the offense" Kemoeatu?

7. Say what you want, but I would have traded all of last years draft to get Joe Thomas.

8. Speaking of the Browns, Prisco says the Weak link on their sixth ranked line is C Hank Fraley.
He also says Fraley is solid at center, but he has trouble with the big nose tackles. AND WE CUT HIM AS A UDFA after he started 2 preseason games for us. Hank went on to start for the Eagles (during their play off runs) and now the Browns imporved line. What the hell was Cowher doing?

9 Dallas Cowboys #1, really? Well at least it explains why Romo sometimes looks like an average starting QB. :lol:

10. New England Patriots at #3, and Dante Scarnecchia, the best line coach in football? Sure who wouldn't be if they TAPED the opponents defensive calls. :evil:

11. the Jets have some big names on their line. It looks good on paper, but we'll see if they play up to their reputations.

12. Eagles are ranked a bit high for a group that gave up 49 sacks. That's more than the Steelers gave up. Eagles QBs must hold the ball to long. ;)

13 What is Jason Fabini doing being a back up in Washington?

14. If the Seahawks line is really good enough to be #11, Shaun Alexanders wheels must have really fallen off last year to the point that he is the like a car up on blocks.

15. Our Pittsburgh Steelers:
Bad news
Weak link: LG Chris Kemoeatu.

Bad News
poor development of players like tackles Willie Colon and Max Starks, the line isn't what it used to be.

Bad news
Smith had back surgery in the offseason that needs to be watched.

Finally some good news,
Justin Hartwig will be an upgrade over Sean Mahan at center.

until you remember how bad Mahan was.
Then you realize it is the understatement of the offseason.

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