Welcome back to the new, weekly offensive line column where I discuss the top five and bottom five offensive lines. The top five and bottom five aren’t likely to change much week to week, so I’ll give you the changes and highlight the units that are pointing up and pointing down. Let’s begin.
The top offensive lines in the NFL, in no order
Let’s talk about the Rams for a second. As I highlighted the other day, the Rams are easily the best rushing team in the NFL from 11 personnel. That’s one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers.
This personnel grouping allows for a light box. Secondly, it allows the Rams to get creative with their window dressing. The Rams love to add fly motion into the mix, which holds the eyes of the linebackers because the Rams have the personnel to hand the ball to the receiver on the fly sweep. We know the NFL is a copy cat league, and I haven’t seen enough teams try this approach from 11 personnel. Maybe one reason is they don’t have the Rams offensive line. Check out this video below in the tweet.
The @RamsNFL have 170 rushing attempts (out of 183 total) from 11 personnel (3WR,TE,RB). They avg 153 y/g and 5.4 per attempt. That’s ridiculous... here’s an example of why it’s so successful. You have the C blocking the nickel. I love watching this run game. pic.twitter.com/11fsSFUDnM— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 16, 2018
One offensive line that’s on the way up is the San Francisco 49ers. Joe Staley has been steady as usual, and the addition of Weston Richburg and drafting Mike McGlinchey have been solid pickups. McGlinchey even ranks as the top run blocking OT, according to PFF. However, the play of left guard Laken Tomlinson has been huge. He’s always had the ability, and he’s put it all together this season under Kyle Shanahan’s zone scheme.
The Niners are No. 1 in running back yards per rush and second in adjusted rush yardage as well, according to Football Outsiders. This is impressive considering teams are loading the box knowing the 49ers are playing with a backup quarterback. The 49ers are an offensive line on the rise.
The five worst offensive lines
The bottom five remain the same as well. No need to list them again. But unfortunately we had a performance last week that was poor enough we need to discuss.
The Tennessee Titans offense allowed 11 sacks while only picking up seven total first downs. Yikes … So, I went through all the sacks, and without wasting 1000 words on it, it was a combination of everything. There were plays when the offensive line just got beat. There were other plays when the offensive line was fooled and/or had a miscommunication. And lastly, there were many plays, far more than people want to admit, that were on Mariota.
The Ravens did an outstanding job of rushing to contain Mariota while also playing tough man coverage. The Ravens then spied Mariota and eventually brought those defenders into the box on a green dog and suffocated Mariota in the pocket. It was an all around mess.