The Saints have maybe had the league's best offensive line to this point of the season, but their depth will be tested in upcoming games. Terron Armstead will miss 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury, so Jermon Bushrod will need to start. That's a concern, with the stretch run and the NFC's top seed at stake.
Bushrod isn't terrible, but it's a downgrade. We'll see if it's a problem for the Saints -- maybe even this week, against a desperate Eagles team.
In other news...
The Jaguars began the year with one of the league's stronger offensive lines. But they lost left tackle Cam Robinson early on, and they also lost his replacement, Josh Wells. They've been forced to add two former Giants, Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omameh, which is a telling statement -- if you're counting on linemen the Giants released, you're desperate. And it gets worse: center Brandon Linder (knee) is out for the year.
Washington linemen are getting injured almost quicker than we can update the chart. Last week they started two backups and a player who wasn't even on the roster four days earlier, Jonathan Cooper. Not surprising the offense has underachieved in recent games.
Cowboys rookie left guard Connor Williams has a knee injury. He's been a liability anyway, so maybe only a slight downgrade to Xavier Sua-Filo (arguably an upgrade, actually).
Another top line has been missing a key starter. Pittsburgh's Marcus Gilbert (knee) has missed the last four games; no timetable for his return. It's a downgrade to Matt Feiler, although the offense hasn't suffered yet.
T.J. Lang of the Lions is out for the year with a neck injury. The fill-in is Kenny Wiggins; it's a line that really couldn't afford to lose one of its better starters. A lost season for Detroit (and a painful one for Matthew Stafford of late).
Justin Pugh (knee) is out for the season in Arizona. Tough to downgrade that line, and Pugh is a bel0w-average starter anyway, but it won't be better with Jeremy Vujnovich.
In better news (because we look for positives where we can find them), the Colts have had one of the league's better-performing lines, and they should be even better down the stretch. They activated Joe Haeg from IR. He won't replace impressive rookie Braden Smith at right tackle, but could slot in at right guard (or give the team excellent depth).
Rankings below; colorful table on our Facebook page shows evaluation of each starter.
|OFFENSIVE LINE RANKINGS|