When I wrote Lions Offensive Line - Eyes vs. Stats I never thought I would get the response that I did. I knew the topic would be hot but never did I think there would be such a wide array of opinions and feelings on the topic. What struck me the most was how divergent the views are. So many solid fans with good knowledge of the game coming to completely divergent opinions on the matter. So to recap the discussion and then advance it further lets lay out the dominant views that seem to be held here at POD and across Lion's fandom.
- The Eternal Optimists a.k.a. The Dom-inators! - The Detroit Lions Offensive line is pretty awesome. They have great stats according to the SI Hog Index and Football Outsiders has them ranked highly for pass protection. Its really hard to improve on awesome and our line was awesome last year. Anyone who doesn't see it this way is a hater and doesn't have FACT to back up their biased hater position. Dom may not be the best Center physically but his grit and leadership makes up for everything else. Peterman is one of the best guards in the NFL when healthy and he will be fine. Backus is a coming into his own and getting better with age. There aren't more than 5 other LT's that we would take over him. Gos will be fine cause he was hurt too and Sims was a brilliant move by Mayhew which proves that if he likes our O-line it must be good. If you disagree.....go post on Mlive or something.
- The Defenders, The Gnostics or The Back-Us Crew(pick which name you like best) - Our offensive line isn't perfect but it is above average and not a position group that needs much help compared to our LB's and CB's. If you are a really educated football fan and know what to look for you will see this to be true. Normal fans just don't have the smarts to read between the lines and understand th subtleties of Oline play and how to build a winning team. We don't love Dom but don't see a way Mayhew could have upgraded him without reaching in one of the drafts or replacing him with another mediocre Free Agent. He annoys us like he does just about everyone, other than the Dom-inators of coarse, but he will get us through 2011 and Mayhew has a plan. We must trust the FO because they are doing an awesome job and to criticize our line is out of line. Remember we were 0-16? Can't make everything perfect all at once. Peterman is unjustly criticized for having one bad season and when health he is awesome. While we aren't saying the online couldn't use some depth we have filled those holes with Fox, Culbreth, Hilliard, Ugoh, etc. The O-line with another year of consistency as a group will only improve and because we trust the FO and Mayhew we have no reason to be worried about the future of our Oline and the investment we made in Stafford and all the other Weapons. Stafford needs to be able to take a hit like a man.
- Upgrades Please(and Sooner rather than Later) a.k.a. Nervously Optimistic. - We love what Mayhew and the FO has done. We are really excited about 2011 and see something great coming for the next 10 years......that is....IF the Offensive line is upgraded and solidified over the next two FA periods and 2012 draft. We understand that not much more could have been done without sacrificing better players at positions of more critical need. Suh over Okung. Petts over Mack and Oher. Best over Saffold. Titus and Leshoure over Ijanala. etc. etc. Tough we do wish that the Spievey pick would have been Oline generally speaking we have no complaints with the FO thus far. We are however VERY concerned that the FO severely overestimates the importance of the Offensive LIne as a position group and/or overestimates the talent we currently have at that position. We see this as the serious weak link of our team. It is the fear that tempers an even more euphoric optimism. The stats from last year don't fit what our eyes have see over the past decade and honestly can you really blame us. O-line has been a problem for so long we just want some help especially when Stafford has had injury problems, our running game has been as bad as you can imagine, and our YPA throwing is REALLY low for a team with guys like Calvin Johnson wanna the games great deep threats. We want Dom upgraded yesterday and think he is the weak link of our team. We think the leadership of the C position is sorely overblown specifically to help bolster the image of a below average player that some fans like. The entire right side of our line has SERIOUS injury questions and Jeff Backus has never be great and one day(hopefully not this year0 his age is going to make him become a serious liability. With good health and some luck the Oline will be good enough for 2011 and a playoff run but going forward we need major upgrades to ensure the success of our team for the next decade. And secretly we are scared a injury or age related meltdown that stalls our high powered offense. We love our team and where it is going...but are just trying to keep it real. And yes the fact that Millen is primarily still attached to our franchise through the O-line doesn't help the matter. Regardless, 2011 will be the year where we truly find out what our O-line is made of and there are NO MORE EXCUSES.
- Hater Nation, Looser's until Winners a.k.a. Millen Zombies - The Lions offensive line sucks. All this hype over the Lions is just that...HYPE. We are 6-10 with a bad O-line that unless upgraded will mean we are loosers for years to come. Stafford will be hurt by week 3 and it will be Jeff Backus's fault. He has been killing us for years and stop trying to tell me he had a good year. Lets see him do well when it counts like when the Starting QB isn't hurt or during a game that actually matters. And if we hear one more STAT about how good our Oline is we will all collectively puke. Can Zombies puke? Anyway, we digress, Dom and Peterman need to be cut tomorrow. ANYONE off the street would be better. Mr. Little and Mr. Penalty are downright embarrassing. Cherlius is Cherli-bust and was one of the worst picks of the Millen era. Cheli...WHO? Are you kidding me. Anyway, he was a Millen pick so he should be GONE. I know so were Avril an CJ? blah blah CJ is good but overrated. Trade him for picks to get Lb's, Oline and Corners. Avril is either Hurt and or allowing someone to run by him. He should be traded too. Ohh and if you disagree with us you drink a lot Kool-aid and are a stupid slappy. We are out....and don't car what you have to say....it won't matter cause we won't read it. Well we might....but will just respond that you are a stupid slappy.
While I am sure there are many more categories that could be parsed out of these main four I think we fit as much into the four as possible. What is amazing is how different the view can actually be on a topic from people that all love and routinely watch the Detroit Lions. Most everyone reading this will agree that are D-line is great, that Stafford has potential, that we need a solid starting Cb and help at the Linebacker position. There are disagreements but within a general consensus. As for the O-line.....no such luck. The fact alone has to count for something when analyzing