It is no surprise that the emergence of the San Francisco 49ers started with a couple of first round picks on the offensive lineman in the draft just a few years ago. The 49ers possess the best line in this division and it showed in how they controlled games last season and ran away with the division. The Seattle Seahawks are trying to fortify their line which showed improvement last year under new leadership while Arizona and St. Louis continue to struggle to try and duplicate the success of the 49ers. I will take a look at how each teams offensive line shapes up in 2012 in this offensive line breakdown.
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Overview - The preseason was not kind to an already bad offensive line in Arizona. Starting LT Levi Brown was lost for the season with a torn triceps muscle but not that he was much to write home about anyway. Offensive Line coach Russ Grimm has not been able to work his magic so far in the desert after years of success in Pittsburgh. This team is one of the worst pass blocking teams in the league which is just another reason why the quarterbacks really struggle. Instead of the first round pick on WR Michael Floyd, it should have been used on a top offensive lineman so while there is some play makers at the skill positions they will be held back by a poor offensive line.
St. Louis Rams
Overview- This is yet another bad offensive line who has tried to draft lineman early on in the draft but has missed consistently. Former RT Jason Smith was shipped off just last week as he never continued to develop into what they had hoped. Harvey Dahl was a decent pickup that added some nastiness that was needed but it has not rubbed off on the rest of them. Saffold is playing out of position on the left side but the lack of talent makes it a necessity on this team. The personnel development area has actually put in some effort to make this unit better but has missed badly so hopefully the staff shake-up hekos things up a bit but they will still struggle all season once again.
Overview- Tom Cable brought in a zone blocking scheme last season and Seattle saw a drastic improvement in the running game. Okung is a former first round pick who has struggled with injuries the last two seasons so could make their performance even better if he is healthy. The Seahawks are capable of getting even better things in their second season under Cable if they continue to learn and avoid the injuries that have plagued them the last few seasons. Sweezy should be very intersting this season as a rookie drafted in the 7th round who is a coverted defensive tackle but earned the job with a great camp. As the competition steps up, he could be overwhelmed but he is an interesting story and someone to watch.
San Francisco 49ers
Overview- Staley and Lupati compose of the best left side combos in the league. Lupati made some big strides last season under new coach Jim Harbaugh. This group is their to maul their opponents into submission but do need some improvement in pass blocking. Goodwin is a journeyman who does a decent job at the center position, Anthony Davis got a little better last season but still needs to show more and Alex Boone is a former undrafted free agent who gets first shot at starting. This unit is not overly talented on the right side but will be serviceable 3nough and fit the style of game the 49ers like.
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