Article by Jason Cole:
O-line rankings: Talent and depth rare finds
The rankings are odd, a mix of the run & pass-blocking efficiency rankings from Football Outsiders, with Cole's own gut feel about who should move up or down. Still enjoyable reading, for the slowest time of the year.
One example of the oddness, the Ravens O-line is ranked way, way too high. Cole writes, “At a time when pass protection is so critical, the Ravens were below average last season” – and then ranks the Ravens 3rd! Huh? Turns out he likes Michael Oher a lot, believes Joe Flacco and the new receivers will take a big step forward (which would help the pass-blocking), and gives the Ravens some credit for continuity from last season (as opposed to the 2 new starters last year). “There is reason to believe improvement will be made.”
Another oddness on the page, and this is not Cole's fault, is to read this in the article:
“Because depth is so important, the Saints have resisted trading tackle Jammal Brown” while at the bottom of the page there's a link to news about Brown being traded to the Skins. Ah, the information age.
How about the Skins??!? Cole ranks their line 29th, but that's before the trade. Isn't their line suddenly in the top half of the league? A lot depends on Brown's return from the injury, and on the development of Trent Williams. But they have three new starters from last year. At the tackles, Williams & Brown: one of them a top-5 draft pick, the other a 2-time Pro Bowler in four seasons of play, available for cheap because he missed a year for injury. Professionals at the guards, in Artis Hicks and Derrick Dockery. Ex-Raven Casey Rabach at center, one that got away from Ozzie a few years ago. Not to mention what Cole describes as “the organized, demanding coaching of Mike Shanahan,” who may not be great at personnel but who sure as hell can coax efficient play out of an offensive unit.
I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready for the Redskins to have a decent squad. But maybe I better get ready. They have had a brilliant offseason. Not just “by Redskins standards,” I mean overall. Their offense will be completely overhauled when it takes the field Sept 12.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Article by Jason Cole: