Offensive line: Season in review
The Detroit Lions’ offensive line had a lot of attention surrounding it leading up to the 2017-2018 season.
General manager Bob Quinn invested in the right side of the offensive line. The acquisitions of both T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner. These acquisitions gave the fan base high expectations.
Offensive lines are graded based on sacks and the performance of a team’s running game. Detroit actually gained fewer yards on the ground this season than last year. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked ten more times this season than last year.
Injuries factor into the group’s disappointing season. Left tackle Taylor Decker missed more than half the season due to a shoulder injury. Center Travis Swanson couldn’t stay healthy. Lang and Wagner both battled injuries all season.
Graham Glasgow was the only one from the starters that consistently was on the field for the Lions.
Wagner started the fewest games in his career this season since his rookie campaign. Whether it was his back or his ankle, he just couldn’t get into the groove of things this season.
Wagner gave up a staggering six sacks from his right tackle position. He only needed one more to match the amount he had given up in his previous four seasons combined. He committed three penalties for just 25 yards this season.
It’s fair to say that he had his worst season as a professional football player. A free agent signing of his caliber should make more of a positive impact for his team.
Lang was a pro-bowler in his first season as a Lion. He was only responsible for only one of Stafford’s 47 sacks this season.
Lang did commit seven penalties in the 13 games he played in this season. Some of them seemed to be at the most inopportune time as well.
All in all, Lang put in a fairly productive season while battling injuries. Pro Football Focus gave him just an average rating, naming Lang the 14th best player at the right guard position.
He was the best member on this group which isn’t saying much.
Swanson took a giant step back this season between injuries and inconsistent play on the offensive line. The center position is an integral part to running the ball between the tackles and Swanson failed to meet expectations.
In each of the last three seasons, he’s started in less and less games.
This is the second year in a row that Swanson has dealt with concussion problems. Who’s to say how much longer he could be playing football?
Glasgow received the second highest PFF grade on the offensive line behind Lang. His play reflected that.
He allowed fewer sacks in his second season as a full-time starter for the Lions. He was the only offensive lineman to start in every game this season.
Fans should be happy that general manager Bob Quinn was able to get a player of Glasgow’s caliber in the third round of the 2016 draft. He continues to improve and get better.
Many were concerned about how Stafford was going to stay upright when Detroit’s starting left tackle went down in a non-contact injury during mini-camps.
Decker suffered a torn labrum and missed eight weeks of the regular season.
After having a great rookie season with the Lions, Decker struggled to get back on track this year. An injury that makes a player sit out for that long will make it difficult for them to adjust back to in-game speed.
Decker’s regression isn’t concerning. He looked very promising in his rookie season and he’ll continue to put in the work.
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