The Increasing Emphasis on Offensive Line Continuity
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Teams are trending toward offensive line continuity in a copycat league where the two squads in the Super Bowl happened to value it as much as anyone. The Patriots and Rams made it six straight conference title winners to avoid multi-position turnover on the starting offensive line.1 In 2015, 22 teams replaced multiple OL starters entering the season, and 11 teams replaced a majority of their starters. The number of OLs replacing multiple spots dropped to 16 in 2016 and 14 in 2017, before a rash of preseason injuries leveled that to 14 in 2018. Entering the second week of NFL free agency, only 10 teams project to replace multiple starters, and just two teams turn over a majority of their starting linemen. Could this be another tale of franchises taking notice of strategies employed by those who survive to the final weekend?
- I count “turnover” as a Week 1 starter who did not enter the previous season as a starter for that same team or take most of the snaps for them. (back)