The New England Patriots offensive line remains a work in progress one week into the season. Just don’t tell Pro Football Focus, who has recently released its updated O-line rankings: the unit is ranked as the sixth best in the NFL at the moment, an actual improvement over its preseason ranking.
According to PFF’s Sam Monson, the reasoning behind the ranking is as follows:
6. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (UP 1)
Weakest Link: C David Andrews
Upcoming Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots shuffled their offensive line personnel this offseason, but they still look like one of the better units in the league. The group didn’t run block well against Miami, but we have seen more than enough evidence in the past to suggest that was a blip rather than a concern. Rookie Cole Strange looked perfectly at home at this level after being one of the most surprising draft picks. He didn’t allow any pressure and earned a passable run-blocking grade. The interior trio will be tested against Pittsburgh but likely caught a break with the injury to T.J. Watt.
Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, the unit was credited with four quarterback disruptions given up. Mac Jones was sacked twice — including one resulting in a lost fumble recovered for a defensive touchdown — and also absorbed one additional hit and one hurry.
On the ground, the Patriots gained 80 yards on 21 hand-offs for an average of 3.8 yards per carry.