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08 Dec 2006

Too Deep Zone: Line Changes

by Mike Tanier

When Shaun Alexander gets hurt, you know almost immediately. The injury is shown on the highlight programs. Your fantasy football information service sends you an e-mail. You know who Maurice Morris is, and you have a pretty good idea how long he will be in the lineup and what he will be asked to do.

When Jake Plummer gets benched, you know right away. Possibly before he does. You read numerous articles on Jay Cutler and listen to hours of sports talk analysis of the move. When it comes to quarterbacks and running backs, it's easy to stay informed.

But what about offensive linemen? Sure, you heard about Orlando Pace's injury. Pace is a star. Did you get an e-mail update when Mark Tauscher got hurt? Damien Woody? The Dolphins benched L.J. Shelton in mid-season, replacing him with Damion McIntosh just before the start of their mid-season hot streak. Did you read about it? The Bills moved Scott Peters from right tackle to left tackle to improve their pass protection. Did the talk radio guys mention it?

Offensive linemen are anonymous, and changes on the offensive line rarely make news. Heck, we're not even a great source of offensive line information at Football Outsiders: we have stats like Line Yards and columns like Every Play Counts, but we don't keep track of who's hurt or who's benched until we collate our game charting data in the off-season. Offensive line changes have a major impact on a team's fortunes, yet nobody stays on top of them.

We decided to do something about that here in the Too Deep Zone. We've logged the offensive line starters for every team over the first 13 weeks, and we've kept track of the changes to learn why the substitutions were made. For each team, we've created a brief capsule that lists:

  • The number of different offensive lines used during the season. Even switching two players' positions counts as a separate line in this category.
  • The numbers of linemen used as starters during the season.
  • The maximum number of weeks the most common line was used. If you see that a team used three different lines but used one of them for nine weeks, you know that the team has a relatively stable offensive line but had to juggle players to cover injuries for a few weeks. If you see that the team's most common line only stayed together for four weeks, that team has probably been affected by all of the changes.
  • A paragraph about the major changes made by the team.

After that, it's up to you to draw the conclusions. You'll find that many of this year's surprise teams like the Saints and Jets have enjoyed great stability on the offensive line, while most teams that have shuffled linemen regularly have played poorly. Be careful not to mix cause with effect: stability on the line is good for a team, but line stability is usually a product of being a good team in the first place. One conclusion that you can certainly draw from the data: there are a lot of line changes going on in the NFL, but there aren't a lot of people talking about them.


Buffalo Bills
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 5

The major change this season was the promotion of seventh-round pick Terrance Pennington to right tackle in late October. Right tackle Jason Peters moved to left tackle, while left tackle Mike Gandy moved inside to replace Tutan Reyes at left guard. The moves were made to improve pass protection, and while early results were mixed at best (J.P. Losman was sacked five times in his first game behind the new line), the protection has improved in recent weeks. Center Melvin Fowler is the only lineman to start all 12 games at his original position.

Miami Dolphins
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 5

Damion McIntosh was cut in the off-season, then re-signed, then benched as the Dolphins sifted through players like Bennie Anderson and Joe Toledo on the offensive line. By Week 4, McIntosh was starting at right guard. Two games later, he swapped positions with left tackle L.J. Shelton. "It just seems like it's a better fit,'' Dolphins Coach Nick Saban told the Orlando Sentinel. "Damion is probably a better left tackle than he was a guard, and even though we had no prior history of knowing whether L.J. could develop into being a real force as an inside player ... he's done far better in making that transition than what we even anticipated." Kendyl Jacox, acquired three days before the start of the season, has started four games as an injury sub.

New England Patriots
Lines Used: 4
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

The Patriots opened camp with Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, and Nick Kaczur as the projected starters. That line didn't actually play together until Week 10. Before that, the team was forced to rely upon Billy Yates and rookie Ryan O'Callaghan at right tackle and Wesley Britt at guard. Kaczur, who played left tackle as a rookie when Light was hurt, battled a shoulder injury for much of the year and also struggled to adjust to life on the right side of the formation. "It's your center of gravity, people don't think it's that much of a difference, but it is," he said in November. "Then, it's your positioning and your feet. It just takes a little bit to get used to all of that."

New York Jets
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 10

Rookies Nick Mangold (center) and D'Brickashaw Ferguson (left tackle) have gotten most of the ink: they've started all season and have played well. Left guard Pete Kendall, the only player to miss any starts this season (Norm Katnik filled in for two weeks) may be the best player. Right tackle Anthony Clement is the biggest surprise: the Cardinals castoff won the job from Adrian Jones early in the preseason and hasn't missed a start.


Baltimore Ravens
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 5

Jason Brown and rookie Chris Chester are officially listed as backup centers, but they moved to right and left guard this season to replace Edwin Mulitalo and Keydrick Vincent. Chester, a converted tight end, played well in his first two starts at right guard but struggled against the Bengals. Brian Billick has said that there is open competition between Vincent and Chester at right guard.

Cincinnati Bengals
Lines Used: 6
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

If you are looking for a reason why the Bengals offense didn't play to its potential for much of the season, this is it. Center Rich Braham went down in Week 2 to a knee injury. Levi Jones was lost in Week 5. Left guard Eric Steinbach bounced from left tackle to center to cover for the injuries before the Bengals inserted rookie Andrew Whitworth at left tackle. Whitworth played so well that the team didn't rush Jones back from his knee injury, and center Eric Ghiaciuc has improved as the season went on. The Bengals line has been more stable in the past month, and they began to see results when their offense exploded against the Chargers. "We're starting to relax a little bit and trust each other more, which is pivotal in any offensive line. Obviously we'd like to have had it come together the first day any of the new guys were in there but it doesn't always work out that way so we've got to suck it up this week and get it done," Ghiaciuc said after that game.

Cleveland Browns
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 8

The Browns went through about 20 different starting centers in camp, but Hank Fraley stabilized that position. Kelly Butler was given two starts after Ryan Tucker was stricken with an undisclosed illness before the Jets game, but Tucker soon regained his starting job. Lennie Friedman, one of the backup centers the team acquired in late August, has finished some games at guard but hasn't started.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 8

Long-time backup Chukky Okobi started a few games at center in place of Jeff Hartings in the middle of the year, and Chris Kemoeatu filled in for Kendall Simmons twice. Otherwise, the usual suspects -- Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, Hartings, Simmons, Max Starks -- lined up every week.

AFC South

Houston Texans
Lines Used: 6
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

Rookie Charles Spencer started the season at left tackle but broke his leg in Week 2. "If you asked me what the biggest disappointment is I would tell you that it's the fact that Spencer doesn't have 500 plays under his belt at left tackle," coach Gary Kubiak said in November. "I think he's going to be a great player." Rookie Eric Winston (a third-round pick like Spencer) has been starting at right tackle since Zach Wiegert suffered a knee injury in Week 10. Kubiak is high on Winston, but the youngster had an awful game against the Raiders.

Indianapolis Colts
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 10

Many of the names on the Colts offensive line are familiar; left tackle Tarik Glenn and center Jeff Saturday have been anchoring the unit for years. The rest of the starting five remained intact this season until left guard Dylan Gandy hurt his back in Week 10. Ryan Lilja has replaced Gandy. Rookie Charlie Johnson replaced Ryan Diem in the Eagles game and started against the Titans last week. This isn't the best time of year to have to start making changes along the line.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 11

Khalif Barnes missed one game; Vince Manuwai, Brad Meester, Chris Naeole, and Maurice Williams have been durable and consistent. The Jaguars rank third in the NFL in Adjusted Line Yards this season, and while their Adjusted Sack Rate is high, David Garrard's scrambling ways are partly to blame (scrambling quarterbacks generally get sacked more often than pocket passers, as every good FO reader knows).

Tennessee Titans
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 9

Veteran center Kevin Mawae has certainly improved the Titans line, but keep your eye on two second-year offensive tackles: Michael Roos (left) and David "Big Country" Stewart (right). Roos has been starting since last season and has developed into a solid player. Stewart took over on the right side when Jacob Bell was moved to guard and is growing into a star. Titans line coach Mike Munchak says he has All-Pro potential. "We're very, very happy to have him blocking for us," coordinator Norm Chow said. "He's a second-year guy, and it is scary how good this kid can be. We see him getting better and better."


Denver Broncos
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 6

The Broncos swapped out both offensive tackles in mid-season: left tackle Erik Pears replaced the injured Matt Lepsis, while veteran Adam Meadows replaced ineffective right tackle George Foster in Week 10. Pears faired well against Dwight Freeney and Patrick Kerney earlier in the season but couldn't block Jared Allen in the Thanksgiving game. When Meadows pulled a hammy in that game, Foster entered the game and quickly allowed a sack; Foster is the starter again until Meadows heals. The veteran interior line (Tom Nalen, guards Ben Hamilton and Cooper Carlisle) has remained intact.

Kansas City Chiefs
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 5

The Chiefs had to do a lot of shuffling at tackle early in the season. Kyle Turley and Jordan Black opened the season at left and right tackle in place of Willie Roaf (retired) and John Welbourn (suspended). The line gave up seven sacks in the season opener, and Turley injured his back in Week 2. Turley and Black have since switched places, and both players have settled into their new roles. Black endured heavy criticism when he spelled Roaf last season, but his play has improved this year. "I'm not out to be Willie Roaf," he said last week. "I'm out to be Jordan Black, and make a name for myself and help this team win." Reserves Kevin Sampson and Chris Bober have also started this season. Welbourn has only seen action as a backup.

Oakland Raiders
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 5

Left tackle Robert Gallery led the league in sacks allowed (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) with nine before he was shelved with an elbow injury. An abdominal injury has kept left guard Barry Sims out of action since Week 9. Larry Hulsey, Sims' replacement, was hurt last week and may not play on Sunday. Cornell rookie Kevin Boothe has been starting since September. Overall, it hasn't been a good year.

San Diego Chargers
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 11

Rookie Marcus McNeill replaced Roman Oben at left tackle when Oben was still recovering from foot surgery at the start of camp. McNeill would be a Rookie of the Year candidate if voters ever gave that award to a lineman (and if Nick Mangold weren't around to split the lineman vote). Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick, Mike Goff, and Shane Olivea round out a line that has stayed intact all year, save for a few aches and pains. These guys will be around for a while: only Goff has more than four years of experience.


Dallas Cowboys
Lines Used: 1
Players Used: 5
Most Weeks With Same Line: 12

Bill Parcells fiddled with his line throughout the preseason, then settled upon Flozell Adams, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode (who didn't miss a start despite getting his face stepped on by Albert Haynesworth), Marco Rivera, and Marc Colombo. Colombo has taken heat as the weak link of the line (he was blamed for the blocked field goal against the Redskins), but he has been an upgrade over last year's starter, Rob Pettiti. Kosier, the guy who grabbed Sean Taylor's facemask after the blocked field goal, has proven to be a better free agent pickup than Jason Fabini, who has been used mostly as an extra goal line blocker this season.

New York Giants
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 9

The Giants rank fourth in Adjusted Line Yards and a respectable 11th in Sack Rate. Despite injuries and turmoil elsewhere, they've kept their offensive line mostly intact. The only loss was a big one: left tackle Luke Petitgout got hurt in Week 10 and was replaced by grizzled (that means old) veteran Bob Whitfield.

Philadelphia Eagles
Lines Used: 1
Players Used: 5
Most Weeks With Same Line: 12

William Thomas, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Shawn Andrews, and Jon Runyan were the anticipated starters at the start of training camp, and none of them has missed a game all season. With Donovan McNabb hurt and the team trying to crawl back into the playoff hunt, the Eagles line will be under greater scrutiny. "I think our offensive line has a chance -- by the end of the year -- to be perceived or considered as one of the better offensive lines in the league," coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said in late November. "I know that's what they are aiming for as a collective group."

Washington Redskins
Lines Used: 1
Players Used: 5
Most Weeks With Same Line: 12

There haven't been many offensive line injuries in the NFC East. The Redskins, who are often criticized for lacking depth, have gotten the most of their veteran line of Chris Samuels, Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas, and Jon Jansen.


Chicago Bears
Lines Used: 1
Players Used: 5
Most Weeks With Same Line: 12

John Tait, Ruben Brown, Olin Kreutz, Roberto Garza, and Fred Miller have been healthy all season.

Detroit Lions
Lines Used: 6
Players Used: 9
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

The Lions didn't use the same line in back-to-back weeks until Weeks 6 and 7. Left tackle Jeff Backus and center Dominic Raiola have been the only constants. Rick DeMulling, a high-priced free agent acquisition two seasons ago, was benched in favor of ancient Ross Verba after the bye week. Right guard Damien Woody is on the IR. Rex Tucker, another creaky veteran, has prevented an emergency at the right tackle position. Only the Lions and Buccaneers have started nine different offensive linemen this season.

Green Bay Packers
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

Rookies Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, and Tony Moll have started a total of 28 games for the Packers this season. They've moved around a bit, but Colledge has settled in at right guard, Spitz at left guard, and Moll at right tackle in place of Mark Tauscher. Tauscher suffered a serious groin injury against the Vikings in Week 10 and may not be back this season. The good news is that the Packers will be set on the line for years once these guys develop (third-year center Scott Wells is coming of age now). The bad news is that teams know how to attack these inexperienced linemen. For more on how that's done, check out this week's edition of Every Play Counts.

Minnesota Vikings
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 10

After spending big bucks on left guard Steve Hutchinson and a contract extension for Bryant McKinnie, the Vikings have enjoyed great stability on the left side of the offensive line. In fact, they didn't have to make any changes on the line at all until Week 12, when Jason Whittle and Mike Rosenthal stepped in for injured Artis Hicks and Maurice Williams on the right side. Coach Brad Childress has also been working rookie Ryan Cook into the rotation, letting him play a few series per game at right tackle.


Atlanta Falcons
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

Left guard Matt Lehr was suspended for four games in mid-season and right guard Kynan Forney has been out since Week 8. Backups B.J. Alexander and Tyson Clabo have been adequate. Wayne Gandy (left tackle), Todd McClure (center), and Todd Weiner (right tackle) have been healthy all year, so the situation in Atlanta isn't as bad as the numbers suggest.

Carolina Panthers
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 10

The Panthers lost center Justin Hartwig and left tackle Travelle Wharton in the season opener and had to make adjustments on the fly. After two weeks of experimentation, they have kept the same lineup intact since late September: Jordan Gross, Mike Wahle, Geoff Hangartner, Evan Mathis, and Jeremy Bridges. As you might expect, the Panthers offense has struggled without their two most important linemen. But the replacements, particularly Hangartner, are getting better. "As the games have gone by, he's been more and more vocal and quick to make sure the calls are out," Wahle said. "He obviously has a physical and technical part of his job, but making sure everybody's on the same page is probably the most important thing he can do out there for us."

New Orleans Saints
Lines Used: 2
Players Used: 6
Most Weeks With Same Line: 11

The Saints have kept their starting line of Jammal Brown, Jamar Nesbit, Jeff Faine, Jahri Evans, and Jon Stinchcomb intact for most of the season. That has to be an advantage for a team that's installing a new system. The only change this season: rookie Zach Strief, star of Scrubs and Garden State, filled in at left tackle for one week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 9
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

The Bucs lost starting right tackle Kenyatta Walker after Week 3 and have been without left guard Dan Buenning for much of the season (Buenning is now out for the year with an ACL tear). Sean Mahan has been a super-sub at both guard positions, and rookies Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood are now the starters on the right side. Both rookies are considered solid prospects, but Julius Peppers would tell you that they both need work. That is, if he weren't so tired from sacking Bruce Gradkowski multiple times.


Arizona Cardinals
Lines Used: 6
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 3

Denny Green thinks he has finally found a winning combination on the offensive line. Heck, it has only been three years. After fiddling around for the first half of the season, Green moved Reggie Wells from left guard to right tackle, promoted Nick Leckey over Alex Stepanovich at center, and inserted rookie Deuce Lutui at left guard. "I think we're probably playing some of our best offensive line play with those five guys," Green said. "I think that's helped us a great deal."

San Francisco 49ers
Lines Used: 3
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 7

Left tackle Jonas Jennings and left guard Larry Allen each missed several games with injuries early in the season, forcing the Niners to bring Adam Snyder and Tony Wragge off the bench. Jennings and Allen have now started together for six consecutive weeks, and Allen is still a mauler in the running game. Center Eric Heitmann, guard Justin Smiley, and tackle Kwame Harris have not missed a start this year.

Seattle Seahawks
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 7
Most Weeks With Same Line: 4

The Seahawks' offensive line troubles this season were compounded by the loss of left guard Steve Hutchinson via free agency in the off-season. Early in the year, they lost Floyd Womack, Hutch's replacement, to a knee injury. Womack returned to the lineup just before center Robbie Tobeck went down; second-year prospect Chris Spencer filled in for both players. Veteran Tom Ashford has started six games in place of Sean Locklear, who is due back from an ankle sprain this week. The Seahawks believe they have weathered the storm. "Things are finally clicking," left tackle Walter Jones said earlier this week. "We knew that going into this season it would take some time, and we just had to stick with it."

St. Louis Rams
Lines Used: 5
Players Used: 8
Most Weeks With Same Line: 7

The Rams considered moving second-year right tackle Alex Barron to the left side to replace Orlando Pace, but they didn't want to give Barron more than he could handle. Barron is one of the league's false start champions, but he handles his post-snap assignments well. Youngster Adam Goldberg and old-timer Todd Steussie are now filling in for Pace; neither is an ideal solution. Richie Incognito started the season at left guard but moved to center after Andy McCollum suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener. Incognito has played well. The Rams have started four different left guards this year: Incognito, Goldberg, Steussie, and rookie Mark Setterstrom.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 08 Dec 2006

43 comments, Last at 11 Dec 2006, 10:18am by Justanothersteve


by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 1:04pm

The Bears' RG is ROBERTO Garza. That is all.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 1:08pm

I think that when an OL comes into the game, he should be required to jump over a 3ft wall before entering the field.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 1:16pm

Top teams in terms of number of weeks with the same offensive line:

11: JAX, NO, SD

Line Yards rank of the teams with the most weeks with the same offensive line (same order as above):
12: 5, 7, 11, 16
11: 3, 18, 2
10: 15, 1, 20, 21
Avg ALY for these teams: 4.42 yards (would rank 9th in the league)

Bottom teams in the league in terms of weeks with the same offensive line:
3: ARI

Line Yards ranks for those teams:
3: 27
4: 31, 14, 26, 12, 25, 30, 10, 13
Avg ALY for those teams: 4.02 (would rank 23rd in the league)

Looks like ALY does measure offensive line quality pretty well, assuming that teams won't keep playing a bad offensive line.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 1:23pm

Cincinnati has definatley had a toll taken on their Oline. And once again, last week, they had to insert a new center in Ben Wilkerson and he may be the starter against Oakland this week for the Bengals.

Cincy might definatley win the award for most maligned Oline during the 06 season.

And on top of all that, they still have a winning record facing one of the toughest schedules in the league this year.

by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 1:40pm

The Vikings right tackle for most of the year was Marcus Johnson not Maurice Williams. Can;t blame you though, other than my favourite team I could barely name 10 other OLinemen in the league

by Lou in Cincy (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:26pm

Not only are the Saint's OL all healthy
They can all answer to "J"
Thats consistincy

by Tim R (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:26pm

The Rams also lost Claude Terrell, who started quite a bit last year as a rookie guard, in the preseason.

by Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:28pm

JASON Peters plays for the Bills. Not Scott - that was in PFP, too.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:31pm

Can you imagine how bad the CHI offense will be after one of its lineman gets hurt?

by Jimmy6 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:38pm

9: Do you know something the rest of us don't? Which lineman is going to get hurt?

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 2:45pm

I think he's basically saying "damn, they suck now, and they've kept the same offensive linemen all year!" and I'd have to agree - if they lost a few offensive linemen, they'd never have a chance of getting Good Rex back again (they're 5th in adjusted sack rate, and we all know what happens when Rex gets pressured), and their mediocre rushing offense would probably plummet.

by Joe Rowles (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:07pm

How did Denvers Pears play against Patrick Kerney?

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:24pm

Looks like ALY does measure offensive line quality pretty well, assuming that teams won’t keep playing a bad offensive line.


by Grouchy Bills Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:27pm

For the Bills, you have to mention that their running game has gotten even worse than it was before the line change. Admittedly it's hard to say how much of that is Willis McGahee's injury and how much is the performance of the line. But the Bills' running game as a whole seems to be taking a dive lately.

by Rushabh (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:36pm

If I am not wrong, Bills played Chargers (w/ Merriman) and Jaguars last two weeks. That's gonna drive down the running game, no matter which O-line.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:54pm


Hey, Oakland's only played the same offensive line for a maximum of 5 weeks in a row, and used 8 players. Sure, a good number were due to injuries, but, well, Art Shell wouldn't've been so stupid as to leave Gallery in all year, would he?

Um. Nevermind.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 4:21pm

Re: 16

"...teams won't keep playing a bad offensive line" is not the same thing as "...teams won't keep playing the same bad offensive line".

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 4:58pm

#17: Yeah, but that was my point. Teams that have bad offensive lines are likely to be constantly changing them, trying to find a decent one. They also might have a bad offensive line because of injuries, but either way, lots of line changes=bad offensive line, in general. So few weeks with the same offensive line = bad offensive line.

by Kurt F (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 6:10pm

For the Patriots, Britt played tackle and Yates played guard.

by Seattle Doug (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 6:24pm

#10 How long do you think Olin Kreutz can go without breaking a teammate's jaw? It'll probably be an O-line mate (or Rex).

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 6:46pm

Just a sign of the anonymity of linemen, I guess: Maurice Williams? Where did that come from? That's awesome, though. It's like when that Miami city councilperson or whoever it was called "Dwayne Wade" "Wade Jones."

Ryan Cook has been solid in the spot duty he's had. Since the Vikes basically traded Culpepper for him, maybe if he finishes out the year the primary RT, he'll have had a better year than Culpepper.

by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 7:40pm

This was a GREAT little report.

by calbuzz (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 8:37pm

For Seattle, Rookie Guard Ron Sims from Ohio State has also played significant time this year, and may push Pork Chop out.

by calbuzz (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 8:43pm

Sorry, Ron Sims was the mayor of Seattle a while back. The football player is Rob Sims.

by bensoc (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 9:50pm

Also, it's Tom Ashworth on the Seahawks, not Tom Ashford. Good article, though -- nice to see some attention for the linemen.

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 10:01pm

I liked the report. However, I'm amused by a report that talks about how lineman are anonymous and don't get the credit they likely deserve ... which is followed by nine comments pointing out where some of the names are wrong, or linemen are missing :

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 10:02pm

I liked the report. However, I'm amused by a report that talks about how lineman are anonymous and don't get the credit they likely deserve ... which is followed by nine comments pointing out where some of the names are wrong, or linemen are missing.

"Richie Incognito [...] has played well."

How would we know? [Sorry, I just had to say it.]

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 10:50pm

Pacifist, I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of Cook's play in the spot duty he has received. If he ends up being a decent rt next year, maybe Johnson could be given an opportunity to play guard, where he would be less vulnerable to the speed rush which got the best of him with some frequency at tackle.

by the K (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 11:09pm

Before I read the rest...

The Bills moved Scott Peters from right tackle to left tackle to improve their pass protection

No, they moved Jason Peters from right tackle to left tackle to improve their pass protection, and inserted rookie Terrance Pennington in the lineup at right tackle. Minor error.

by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 11:25pm

Thanks for all of the corrections! Most of them involve me trying to keep 160 players straight on a deadline. For some reason, I can't get Peters' name right ...

by the K (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 11:28pm

Okay, now I see someone already corrected my correction, and the other one I saw (Ashworth on the Seahawks) was pointed out, so, yeah, I'll shut up now. Great TDZ anyway, this is the type of stuff we don't see at other websites, the stuff that makes us read FO.

by Splat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 11:46pm

That’s awesome, though. It’s like when that Miami city councilperson or whoever it was called “Dwayne Wade� “Wade Jones.�

What's hilarious is his name is actually Dwyane Wade.

by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 1:51am

I don't think Rob Sims will push Porkchop out for the simple fact it's hard to imagine Chris Gray returning for a 14th season. As it is the press had been Tobeck talked him into returning this year.

by Jonathan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 2:31am

The Chargers' O-line deserves a round of applause for their 2006 work. LT is having a season for the ages (assuming of course he can finish it strongly) and Philip Rivers has been proficient in all but 3 (maybe 4) games.

Hats off to a bunch of guys no other teams wanted, and Go Bolts! =)

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 11:25am

One more correction: I believe that Colledge plays LG and Spitz RG for the Pack, not the other way around.

by Unsure why I\'m a Lions fan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 2:12pm


Rex Tucker hasn't prevented any emergencies at RT, he has been the source of all emergencies. Injured or healthy, he's been consistently the worst player on a below average line.

by BigManChili (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 4:03pm


Sorry to keep on piling on you, but how has Erik Pears in Denver played well against Patrick Kerney? Kerney plays for Atlanta, and those two teams haven't played in two seasons....

Unless you're giving us some kind of Super Bowl preview for next season (Kerney's on IR for this season, so it would have to be Super Bowl XLII).

by Sid (not verified) :: Sat, 12/09/2006 - 7:41pm

The Bills moved Scott Peters from right tackle to left tackle to improve their pass protection. Did the talk radio guys mention it?

I find this sentence to be highly ironic, considering the context. C'mon, this is THE Jason Peters. The one who was a 328 pound TE in college and was converted to tackle after making the pros.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 4:52pm


Sigh. I remember when Tucker was a Pro Bowl alternate for the Bears. I'm starting to think that 2001 season never happened.

by blahblahfalcons (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 6:10pm

I'd like to learn more about New Orleans' line. It sure seems like it's been their biggest unheralded strength.

by Lions update (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 11:12pm

The Lions' OL managed to sustain more injuries nad substitutions in this past game vs. Minnesota (the most recent game since this article was written) then should ever be seen in a game of football.

The Lions started with Backus-Verba-Raiola-Saipaia-Stokes, but various combinations were seen during the game.

Jon Scott saw time at LT
Frank Davis saw time at LG and RG
Rick Demulling saw time at LG

by Andrew J (not verified) :: Mon, 12/11/2006 - 10:11am

While a few of the Bengals' early season losses that were due in large part to the lack of cohesion on the OL may yet cost them, what they've learned about their backups, Guiachuic and Whitworth in particular, may prove to be useful in making a few important personnel decisions.

Eric Steinbach is a free agent, and the Bengals may choose to let him go and use Whitworth at left guard after having recently invested heavily in keeping Bobbie Williams, Levi Jones, and Willie Anderson. While Steinbach is very good and can play every position on the line, there is only so much that a team can reasonably invest in one position, even one as important as the OL (especially because their defensive line and secondary still need some work), and Steinbach is sure to command a considerable sum in free agency. Rich Braham may choose to retire, leaving the Bengals with Guiachuic and Ben Wilkerson at center next season, which may be good enough. Stacy Andrews is an able backup who filled in competently for Williams while he was injured, but if Braham and Steinbach are lost, look for Cincinnati to invest a draft pick or two on OL depth.

by Justanothersteve (not verified) :: Mon, 12/11/2006 - 10:18am

Re: Packers OL - actually Colledge has played LG and Spitz RG most of the year. Colledge also filled in for Clifton at LT one game. It was also no coincidence that the Packers offense went south when Tauscher was injured. While the Pack defense was atrocious from weeks 11-13, the offense might have made a game of it had the line been playing well.