Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Jul 2011

The Giants’ 2011 OL Eerily Resembles the Cowboys’ OL of 2010

Blogging The Beast has a look at the average ages of each team's projected starting offensive line going into the 2011 season. Dallas, which had the oldest line last year, drops to sixth with the addition of Tyron Smith. The Giants, on the other hand, are projected to have the oldest starting five by an average of almost 20 months.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 16 Jul 2011

12 comments, Last at 19 Jul 2011, 12:00am by sundown

Comments

1
by RichC (not verified) :: Sat, 07/16/2011 - 12:51pm

Articles like this are interesting, but they invariably have things like Matt Light, a guy who is a free agent, starting for the Patriots.

2
by speedegg :: Sat, 07/16/2011 - 1:23pm

Wow, didn't realize the Giants starting AND backup OLs are old. That could mean bad things for Big Blue.

Funny, while the Pats are #3 in terms of age, they got younger by drafting 2 OLs to help shore up the line.

5
by MJK :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 11:37am

RichC has a good point. It's really tough right now to project who will be starting on a given line this year. And one player change will have a huge effect on the average age.

To elaborate on RichC's point about the Patriots:

ESPN currently lists their starting Oline as
Light
Mankins
Koppen
Connolly
Vollmer
Average age: 30.

This is presumably where the linked blog gets it's figure.

Their own (unofficial) depth chart on Patriots.com leaves off Mankins, probably because he's franchised but hasn't signed his tender. They list the starting Oline as:
Light
Connolly
Koppen
Ojinnaka
Vollmer
Average Age: 29.6

But Light is a free agent who might not be back, and Ojinnaka is in a battle with other guys for one of the guard spots, and it strongly depends on what happens with Logan Mankins. The Globe projects the starting line as:

Solder
Mankins
Koppen
Connolly
Vollmer
Average Age: 28.0

They assume Mankins will be back, but replace Light with rookie Solder...a reasonable guess since it seemed that Solder was drafted specifically as a Light replacement, and the Pats have shown no compunction at starting a rookie at LT in the past. That one change makes a big difference.

Finally, it's possible that their other rookie could break into the starting lineup as well, especially if Mankins holds out/is traded/is unfranchised by the new CBA. In which case their starting line would be:

Solder
Cannon
Koppen
Connolly
Vollmer

Average Age: 26.8

Which, according to the linked blog, would make the one of the youngest lines in the league (right between the Raiders and the Rams).

So the Pats, like most teams, have options. If the old line is the best (and contracts can be worked out), the old line will play, and the fact it's old won't matter. If the younger line is the best, the younger line will play.

But it's hard to project right now.

6
by BKjones (not verified) :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 5:48pm

From the article:

And finally, it’s time to show my work. I’m not an expert on all 32 NFL teams, and didn’t want to pretend to be. To be as accurate as possible in projecting the 5 OL starters for each team, I enlisted the help of my good friends over at SB Nation. Editors of each team site at SB Nation helped me project each starting 5, assuming the team they cover retains any and all free agents. So for example, Robert Gallery is unlikely to return to the Raiders, as both he and the Raiders have both said that his stay there is basically over. Nevertheless, I projected Gallery as a Raider starter.

10
by Dean :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 9:55am

How can anyone project John Greco as the Rams starting RG? Adam Goldberg started all 16 games last season (and played poorly). I believe Goldberg is a free agent, but even if he is, Greco couldn't beat him out. They didn't draft anybody, but Greco would still need to somehow beat out Hank Fraley and Mark Setterstrom in order to get the job. Acquiring a RG would be the best solution, of course, but of the guys on the roster, I would have to think Fraley would be the least-bad option.

3
by JasonK :: Sat, 07/16/2011 - 1:33pm

Yeah, I doubt that anyone outside the Giants' coaching and training staffs have a good idea of who will likely be starting at C, LG, or LT in 2010. Probably best to wait until training camps are at least underway to do this kind of analysis.

Snee and McKenzie are certain to be the RG and RT, barring injury. Nobody outside the organization really knows much about how far along O'Hara, Seubert, and Koets are in their recoveries. Or how the team assesses both the condition of Shawn Andrews' back and the development of Will Beatty and Mitch Petrus. A move for a free agent Center would not suprise me. It feels like the weakest spot right now-- Diehl, Beatty, and Andrews are all possibilities at LT, and, if necessary, one of the losers of that battle can slide over to LG.

4
by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 7:33am

This Eagles fan awaits the impending Giants implosion with absolute relish.

I would think that Shawn Andrews will have to restructure his contract or be cut, too, unless salary floor issues save him.

8
by JasonK :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 7:13pm

Giants are well over the likely salary floor. Actually they'll probably have some issues with the likely salary cap, after they start re-signing the vets who they want to (probably Smith and Boss, maybe Bradshaw and Grant).

Still, they may want to hang onto Andrews. He played very well when he was out on the field last season. And they've got some high-base-salary vets who could re-work contracts to help them out, like Eli and Corey Webster.

As to an implosion, besides having a few of the older guys hang on, a lot depends on the development of guys like Will Beatty and Mitch Petrus. If these guys can establish themselves as capable starters, it'd take a pretty across-the-board injury/decline scenario to sink the OL in 2011. (Beatty didn't look great last season, but he was rushed back from a broken foot early on.)

9
by Harris :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 9:30am

Well, that's the problem with Andrews in a nutshell. He's a monster when healthy and focused but he's rarely healthy AND focused at the same time.

Hail Hydra!

11
by the cat in the box is dead (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:42pm

To be fair to him, I think he's fairly focused these days. I just think his back is likely to stop him from being a consistent performer any more. Shame really, he really was one of the best linemen in the NFL before his problems started.

7
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 6:35pm

I guess centers can carry on being effective for longer than other offensive linemen: 6 of the 10 oldest and 10 of the 20 oldest on the list are centers, and if Wiegmann does end up starting he'll be the oldest of the lot.

12
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 12:00am

I guess we all knew that experience is important on the line, but I was rather surprised how universal that was. Going over the youngest 1/3 of the teams, only the Jets could really be considered a major contender. Meanwhile, the lion's share of other top teams were in the oldest 1/3 or so.