Injuries, inconsistency plague Broncos’ line in loss to Giants

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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The winless New York Giants traveled to Denver last week to take on the Broncos in what set up to be a blowout in favor of the Broncos. Well, that was at least the prevailing logic entering Sunday, seeing as the Giants were without their top three receivers, all lost to injury. There’s no way New York wins this one, right?

Right??

Wrong. While those who consider themselves clever whispered “trap game,” it was actually more than such a simple concept. This game wouldn’t come down to whether New York could score, but if Denver could keep the Giants‘ pass rush off Trevor Siemian. Continue reading

Green Bay Packers’ O-line leads way to Aaron Jones’ big day

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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Green Bay, typically a team reliant upon Aaron Rodgers and the passing game, threw it back to the days of Lombardi in Week 5, relying on Aaron Jones to churn up 125 yards rushing on just 19 carries in a 35-30 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

With an offensive line that lost a couple of key pieces from last season and a unit that ranked 22nd in the league in rushing even after Jones’ performance, it was a surprise to say the least, especially considering very few had heard of Jones prior to Sunday. Continue reading

Raiders show cracks in rock-solid line in loss to Redskins

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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The Raiders rarely give up sacks.

It’s part of why Derek Carr was so excellent in 2016. But because they gave up four sacks and were largely shut down by Washington in a 27-10 loss in Week 3, we’re going get right into it and break down what happened on the sacks.

On the first sack, Washington’s Junior Galette wins via deception. Continue reading

Giants’ season could depend on whether they fix O-line issues

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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The New York Giants were a favorite pick of many to win the NFC, but after two weeks, the offense is more clogged than Manhattan’s streets.

Odell Beckham wasn’t available to play in Week 1, turning the Giants‘ contest against the Dallas Cowboys into an immediate uphill battle. But even with Beckham in Week 2, New York couldn’t muster more than 10 points in a Monday Night Football loss to Detroit. Continue reading

Browns, Cowboys spending fortunes on starting fives

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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When free agency arrives, most fans aren’t hoping their teams shell out truckloads of money on the hottest prospect at guard. Why? Well, because it’s not sexy. From a merchandising perspective, it doesn’t sell jerseys, either.

But what it does produce, usually, is wins.

Look no further than the line of the Oakland Raiders, who are spending nearly $173 million on their offensive line in terms of total contract value for the starting five. After drafting Derek Carr, the Raiders quickly made the men up front a priority in order to insure their investment in the gunslinger. Continue reading

Get big: Offensive linemen set up for serious improvement

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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One can point to a stat line for a season and make a general, opinionated observation about most skilled position players. They’re not always correct, but they’re usually in the ballpark. It’s not that simple with linemen, though.

Statistics (really, a lack thereof) make it difficult to predict which linemen are going to improve from year to year. Luckily, for the sake of this space, we’ve considered some other important factors — teammates, fit, specific position, experience — to come up with a small group of linemen who are poised to have impressive seasons in 2017. Continue reading

Who will chase O-linemen in the draft? A look at teams in need

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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The NFL draft is less than two weeks away — April 27-29 in Philadelphia. We’re almost there, folks. I promise.

While I’m a proponent of salad before entree, let’s skip the appetizers and get right into the meat of the piece, the lineman’s true favorite part of the meal (other than dessert). Needy teams, meet available draft prospects. Below are a few teams who should be expected to look at offensive linemen in the early rounds of the league’s annual orderly injection of fresh talent.

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NFL’s top five offensive lines look to keep dominating in 2017

By Nick Shook
NFL.com
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With the NFL draft just three weeks away, we’re in a dead period when it comes to major changes in the trenches.

No worries, though, because those big uglies are busy squatting, benching, power cleaning, deadlifting and getting those feet right for the upcoming season. And while we await the hogmolly shake-up, we’re taking a look back at the best offensive lines of 2016, with an eye on their outlooks for 2017 and beyond.

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