(this article is a bit old, so if it has been discussed, I could not find it, I apologize to you and whatever God you worship, and please do not feel the tremendous obligation to read on)
22. Carolina Panthers (7th)
Pass Blocking Ranking: 27th, Run Blocking Ranking: 15th, Penalties Ranking: 3rd
Stud: While his work in pass protection was suspect, you have to appreciate the run blocking of Ryan Kalil that contributed to his +6.6 grade.
Dud: The move to left tackle was no easier for Byron Bell (-33.4) who continues to give up too much pressure.
Breakdown: All things considered, this could have been a lot worse. After losing studs Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton to retirement and dealing with injuries during the season, they tried a number of different combinations with more success than you had any right to imagine. A bit of special praise here for the pickup of Andrew Norwell who has been something of a revelation.
Comments: This is interesting because we should be able to see upgrades across the board. When I see that we were ranked #7 in 2013, I am a bit shocked. We had Bell at RT, Silatolu/Wharton at LG, Gross was on the decline of his career, and RG was by committee (Scott, Chandler, Bond). Hats off to Matsko and to Cam Newton for freezing the defensive pressure. In 2014, Cam was injured and defenses could pin their ears back.
This year, the OL should be better in nearly every aspect. Kalil is still rather solid-no longer elite, but he was flanked by 2 rookies for much of the season. The two rookie Guards really stepped up in 2014, showing they belong. Next season, I expect them to be more comfortable with the offense and more experienced. Rookie linemen are often targets for the DL, so we endured in 2014. Heck, Remmers was even a rookie in terms of experience. He did OK in pass protection but was a liability in the run game. I wonder if he would not be the same on the left side, where his body seems more suited to play. Having said that, finding a RT is much easier than a LT. I would still bring in a developmental LT (rookie, in other words) because Remmers would be an awesome backup OT.
Having said all that, I expect both G positions to be upgrades in 2015 due to experience. Kalil should continue to anchor, and we should see upgrades in talent at both Tackle spots--even if the best we can do is move Remmers to LT--still an upgrade.
There are other factors that will improve the OL play. First, people do not realize how much Brockel helps us. When he went down, we struggled more. Secondly, Cam was dinged and the defenses knew it. His run threat was not a concern. Third, the upgrade at RB (Williams was 31 and played like it; Tolbert and Stew were hurt much of the season) will help. In addition, another WR weapon will help Cam get rid of the ball sooner and keep Safeties out of the box.
I would first like to take my hats off to coach Matsko for taking what we had and doing better than 9 other offensive lines. In addition, for having the 7th OL last year with the issues we had at G and RT. Amazing that the unit was ranked 7th.
I would also like to say that these are the reasons I expect, barring injury, that the OL will be one of the best in 2015. It could be that we are 1 player away.
Just my perspective.