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 Offensive Line discussion 
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Post Offensive Line discussion
As the Lions didn't add to the offensive line in the first 2 picks, that makes our "starters" pretty settled. Certainly they could still get a lineman in the 3rd or 4th round still, but I don't view picks in that range as definite starters on Day 1.

I'll start my evaluation by saying this: I think Lions fans have been too hard on the line the past two seasons, starting with being harsh on Backus/Raiola. Especially last season, where I thought the offensive line did generate a push and open up a lot of holes in the running game (Holes that Kevin Smith missed...and hesitated in). Were they a dominate unit, of course not, but it wasn't the pathetic showing it has been in the past. I think Pettigrew and Heller helped out in this regard, I think Gosder showed some ability. Overally I'd rate the run blocking as decidedly average.

The pass protection is tough to grade because the OL has been pu in a rough spot. We've been down a lot and we've had poor QB and WR play. There's been a lot of stress on the unit. Even going back to Martz and the long developing routes, the Oline hasn't gotten a lot of help schematically.

I'm not sure how much the addition of Rob Sims is going to help. I'm not positive how good he truly is. I expect more progress from Gosder. I can't say if it'll be enough to save him from the "bust" category, but I do expect a level of improvement.

At the current state, I'd give the offensive line, as a whole, a decided "C" grade becaue they do field 5 legit NFL starters and solid blocking tight ends. The may not be "good" starters, but it isn't the scrub parade it has been. Almost certainly any of our starters coud find a job starting somewhere in the NFL. If Gosder develops and Sims proves to be a good blocker, this unit may even jump into the B range.

Just wondering what others thoughts are.


April 23rd, 2010, 12:52 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
Sorry but I look at it the opposite way. The holes were few and far between for our RBs and Kevin Smith was dealing with injuries to both shoulders for most of the year reportedly (which might explain why he did often appear to run hesitantly). I don't how the OL was in a tough spot. Sure, sometimes the defense would allow a couple... few... quick scores and put us in passing mode by the middle of the first quarter but honestly, how often did that really happen? Most games we were actually in into the third quarter but having an offense incapable of scoring, changing field position/ chewing up T.O.P., or often even moving the chain one time (3 & outs) put a lot of pressure on an admittedly below average defense that got more blame then even they really deserved.

Regardless of how you feel, I still don't like the idea of an "average at best" OL protecting the guy who was supposed to be the future of the franchise QB from the likes of Matthews, Allen and now Peppers 6x a year. Raiola and Backus are at the end of their primes (which should be a terrifying thought in and of itself), so we're also looking at having to potentially replace both in the next couple years anyways which will also likely have a negative effect on Stafford as far as any progress he's made.

I'm not saying we should've reached for Okung over Suh or anything, just calling the situation as I see it. On this topic our opinions happen to differ. I give them a C- and believe I'm being generous and grading them on an enormous curve. This season has the chance to give a much better indication as at least there is continuity at OC for the 2nd straight season and our OG situation should be much improved.

Just my $.02...


April 23rd, 2010, 2:02 am
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Mr. Irrelevant

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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
With the weapons the Lions have added this off-season the pressure to perform at a high level will be imperative for our O-line. The focus will be on them next season, to see if this offense can live up to it's potential.


April 23rd, 2010, 9:22 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
IMO, backus has been on an island with no starting quality guard for a long time, and the addition of Sims greatly helps that. Also, the biggest help to stopping a pass rush is a running game, which was addressed yesterday. I think we'll see a far "better" line this season


April 23rd, 2010, 9:32 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
If Schwartz was honest when he said Bachus should have been a pro bowler, then the likelihood of drafting an elite left OT went to zero. I was hoping it was all smoke, but sadly, no.

Mayhew seems to be mirroring so many front office types who think you build a team around a strong QB and RB plus an elite squad of WR's, and if needed, you trade up to get them. This is a show pony philosophy that drives me nuts.

You build an offense around a strong O line and a defense around a strong D line. The Lions have neither, and they keep moving in baby steps to address their line needs.

You build a draft by getting more picks, not less. It's a crap shoot anyway, so increase your chances of hitting big.

3 years ago they should have traded down instead of taking CJ - and used the extra pick to improve their line. (And they should not have traded up to get Stanton. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.)

2 years ago they went after an OT and a LB. (Finally drafting great positions of need!) Unfortunately those choices were Gosder Cherilus and Jordan Dizon. Their next pick? a RB, Kevin Smith.

1 year ago they again should have traded down. Their picks were Stafford and Pettigrew. (This after having the worst Defense in the league. Great idea. Fix your D by drafting ponies.)

This year they should have traded down. No, they took Suh (who should do well). I like Suh, but we needed more picks. A trade down would have helped more. Trading up for Best was another mistake.

Millen's picks: WR, QB, OT, LB, RB.
Mayhew's picks: QB, TE, DT, RB.

Don't they look awful similar? If the Lions next pick is a LB, their picks are almost identical. (Wasn't Mayhew supposed to have learned not to be Millen?)

I will give Mayhew credit for having a better eye for talent - with only last year's success to go by - but still. He is way too enamored with high picks and show ponies.

Fix your O line. Fix your D line.

I have not given Mayhew enough credit here for acquiring DE Vanden Bosch and G Sims. These are two major moves to improve the line this year. I'd have been much happier if Mayhew had traded up to get an OT (Saffold, maybe) instead of a RB (Best). Then I'd have hope. False hope maybe, but hope none-the-less.

With apologies this ran on sooo long.

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April 23rd, 2010, 9:54 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
Backus and Raiola have never been more than average at best IMO and historically you could make highlight reels of them getting sat down and handled very easily. I know some don't like the "Best" pick but a great line with no one to block for helps no one either. I definately think you can find value in the mid to late rounds on the line though more than any other position. Most NFL lines are at least half built from these guys in the 4th to undrafted free agents. If I look at football from the GM perspective I have to think of balancing a budget and where do I invest money. I know what I have stated above as a GM about finding many olinemen in late rounds or decent vets in free agency. You look at does having the top linemen in the draft bring a significant value difference versus have a slightly above average linemen versus having a top rated running back, dlinemen, or quarter back versus slightly above average. The ROI between those comparisons is quite a bit different IMO. I think there are more pressing things we need to address first like CB...the line you can use the stop gap (pun intended) approach and fill through FA, late round picks, and also sifting through the cuts that will come as teams trim their rosters.

I personally think the line hasn't been the disaster it has in the past and agree with the idea that they are average or C level. That doesn't mean you don't look to improve but that we address more pressing needs first like having 2 starting quality corners.

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April 23rd, 2010, 10:00 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
I posted this in another thread, but think it applies here too:

DetroitLions.com wrote:
On how excited Scott Linehan was about the pick
“There’s a couple things: a guy that works in our pro personnel department, does a great job, Joe Pirucki, did a project at the end of the season last year where he was taking the top five offenses in the league over the last few years. And he did a lot of research, spent a lot of time – he’s really a smart guy. He came up with, ‘What do they all have in common?’ They all had a wide receiver, they all had a quarterback, they all had a running back and they all had a tight end.
“It was funny that left tackle wasn’t in that group, but the top five offenses over the last three years had those things in common.
Well, we drafted a pretty good tight end. He’s injured, but he’ll be back. Trade for another tight end that’s a match-up threat for us; a guy that can run 4.55 as a 6-5 tight end. We have the wide receiver and we drafted a quarterback last year. The running back gives us that other weapon. It’s exciting.”

http://www.detroitlions.com/news/articl ... 92dffa01ac


If true, the bolded part is very interesting

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April 23rd, 2010, 10:16 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
The problem is an offensive line is only as good as its weakest link. The LG spot has been a huge weakness for years. We traded and got Sims but is he the answer or just another experiment gone wrong. Goz also needs to step up big time. If Sims works out and Goz lives up to his talent our offense will be very scary IMO.

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April 23rd, 2010, 10:49 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
Does Linehan not know that before you get a great QB, RB, TE or WR you must first have a great O line?

Sigh :cry:

Linehan just confirmed everything I hate about the Lions draft strategy.

For the record it is tough to have a standout OT or G or C because they cannot function as cowboys. They all have to work together as a cohesive unit.

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Blueskies is my hero. I worship the ground he walks on.


April 23rd, 2010, 10:56 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
Giving the Lions O-line a C grade implies that this line is average when compared to the other 31 teams. I disagree. I think that if you ranked the offensive lines for all 32 teams, the Lions O-line would rank somewhere from 20-25. I challenge anyone to list 12 O-lines that were worse than the Lions in 2009. This, to me, drives the grade to be more of a D+ or a D.

As for the 2010 draft, I think that taking Suh was the right pick. You just don't pass on a player like that. Now, in the 2nd round, I don't think this team could afford to move up to take a RB. There are too many needs on the O-line and in the secondary that are more pressing than the need at RB. In round 2, the lions could have moved down a few spots and still taken Rodger Saffold or Charles Brown. This probably would have netted an extra pick or two as well. Instead, we have a small RB with injury history running behind a weak O-line. Seems like a death sentence to me.

If you have to choose, which you typically do, you build the O-ilne first. You can get by with late-round RB's until you are ready to compete. It doesn't make sense to draft RB's with high picks and watch them get abused behind this line. By the time this team is ready to compete, Jahvid Best will be out of the league.


April 23rd, 2010, 11:04 am
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RIP Killer
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
I think our Oline is on the verge of being "good." We have always been missing something at G... always. I believe as others have said that it is only as good as your weakest link and we have always had holes in our guard position (or injuries). That being said, Sims should help and a healthy Peterson should as well. I was thinking we might go OL so we can shuffle some guys around and make us a great oline, but I'm glad we went the way we did.

Backus and Raiola are just now getting into their prime as olineman. Hopefully we can take advantage of that.

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April 23rd, 2010, 11:08 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
I wasn't too high on the OL availabe at the top of the draft and think LT is one of the most over rated positions on the field, don't believe me then look at the most successful offenses in the league.

The Top Five Scoring offense and their LTs were:

1. New Orleans, LT = Jermon Bushrod (7.5 sacks allowed)
2. Minnesota, LT = Bryant McKinnie (9 sacks)
3. Green Bay, LT = 3 different starters (11.5 sacks)
4. San Diego, LT = Marcus McNeill (5 sacks)
5. Philly, LT = Jason Peters (6 sacks)

The Saints lost starter Jammal Brown in the preseason, Busrod had been active for only 2 games over the past two seasons and they still had a decent season. The Colts got to the SB with Charle Johnson (pick 199 in 2006), not a great LT there.

In 2007, the Giants won with LT David Diehl who allowed the 2nd most sacks in the league at LT that year with 10.5. The Pats have won with Matt Light, no a pro bowl LT there.

I know everyone hates Backus and it would be nice to have a great LT protecting Stafford's blindside but is a great LT needed to have a great offense? In a word, NO...

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April 23rd, 2010, 11:33 am
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
LG has been the weakest link for years. They've rotated people in, but its always been an issue. Also, the majority of the sacks have come from the interior line, not the tackle spot. We had 21 20+ yard runs to the left and right last year, and only 9 in the middle. G's and C's are usually taken in later rounds, not 1st and 2nd. And has the ability to get long runs been solely on the line, or does some of that blame fall to the RB's themselves?

Don't forget to factor in Pettigrew and Sheffler on running plays in the 2 TE set. Teams trying to scheme against CJ are going to have mismatches now. Both TE's can catch, Burleson can't be ignored and any team that ignores Best will pay. Now that they can't ignore the other positions, that will free up CJ consistently.

And your right, there weren't 12 teams with a worse ranking Oline last year, there were 8 with 2 being Green Bay and Pittsburg.

Is our line great? Of course not, but alot of the blame is placed on the Oline year after year for the failures of other offensive units. If the QB holds the ball too long, they get blamed for sack or hits. If the RB is hesitant and inconsistent, they get blamed for lack of yardage. We don't have the worst line in the NFL.


April 23rd, 2010, 11:40 am
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Varsity 1st Team

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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
Pablo wrote:
I wasn't too high on the OL availabe at the top of the draft and think LT is one of the most over rated positions on the field, don't believe me then look at the most successful offenses in the league.

The Top Five Scoring offense and their LTs were:

1. New Orleans, LT = Jermon Bushrod (7.5 sacks allowed)
2. Minnesota, LT = Bryant McKinnie (9 sacks)
3. Green Bay, LT = 3 different starters (11.5 sacks)
4. San Diego, LT = Marcus McNeill (5 sacks)
5. Philly, LT = Jason Peters (6 sacks)

The Saints lost starter Jammal Brown in the preseason, Busrod had been active for only 2 games over the past two seasons and they still had a decent season. The Colts got to the SB with Charle Johnson (pick 199 in 2006), not a great LT there.

In 2007, the Giants won with LT David Diehl who allowed the 2nd most sacks in the league at LT that year with 10.5. The Pats have won with Matt Light, no a pro bowl LT there.

I know everyone hates Backus and it would be nice to have a great LT protecting Stafford's blindside but is a great LT needed to have a great offense? In a word, NO...


Good stuff, Pablo.

And by putting the offensive line in a "bad" position, I don't mean just having the defense pin their ears back and go. A lot of it is the QB. Look at the three best offenses in the league (consistantly).
New Orleans
Indy
New England.

The common denominator is a QB who gets the ball out of his hands. The little dump passes and screens are a huge help. Brees, Brady and Manning get the ball out of their hands and don't let themselves take as many hits.

Going the opposite direction, Pittsburgh had a horrific line when they went to the Super Bowl, but Roethlisberger made it look worse by holding onto the ball too long. There were similar issues with Green Bay last year, Rogers tends to hold the ball a little long. It makes the offensive line look worse.

And, runningbacks have a big role is pass pro as well. Remember the Backkus/Felton mixup early in the year?

Further, this isn't the Mooch/Marinelli era offensive line here. Backus and Raiola are what they are. Could they be upgraded, yes, but they aren't a massive "hole" either. Peterman, Sims and Cherilus provide a better group surrounding thsoe two than we've had yet.

And, again....

TIGHTENDS ARE LINEMAN. They Block. They lineup on the line. When it comes to run blocking, Tightends often have absolutely crucial blocks because of their position. A good run blocking tightend is going to help the running game more than a center. Not a ton of plays go into the A-gaps, a lot more go into the C-gap and to the outside. Those plays are the tightend.


April 23rd, 2010, 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Offensive Line discussion
I thought that this draft was weak when looking at the top rated OT's. I think the only quality OLineman in this draft that can be considered elite coming out is Iupati.

I think it was Alpha that said the OL is made up of late round picks, UFA, and FA. I didnt do the research for all teams but the Lions have high draft picks on the OL already. Cherilus and backus are 1st rounders, Raiola 2nd round, Peterman 3rd round, Sims 4th round.

By comparison here is the NO Saints OL. Bushrod 4th round pick, Carl Nicks 5th round, Goodwin 5th round, Evans 4th round, Stinchcomb 2nd round.

You don't necessarily need high round picks to develop a good OL. You need to be able to see talent and have the OL work together. I think it is telling that all but 1 of their starters last season was drafted in round 4 or later.

For the Lions to use a 2nd round pick on a OLinemen that many believe is a weak class over a player that some thought is the best RB in the draft doesn't make sense. You may view the Lions OL as weak, which I am not arguing with, but you also have to draft by overall talent as well. Best is more talented by far than any OLinemen still on the board.

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April 23rd, 2010, 12:21 pm
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