Never let my love for the Phonz overshadow the fact that Matthew Stafford has been and always will be my boy! With that said like the secondary I have several concerns about the offensive line. Can they continue to protect Matt against the elite pass rushers ? Is there one guy who can open a run lane for Best and Leshoure next season. What about the penaltys? So here is a similar breakdown like my previous post of the often underrated and also overrated Detroit Lions Offensive line.
*Warning* Stephen Peterman is mentioned in the following post.
Jeff Backus - The Left tackle and while over they years I admit to being harsh on Jeff. With comments "Our left tackles name is Holding seventy six". With the addition of a left gaurd his game has improved but I can't help but feel that when it comes to the NFC best pass rushers Jeff Backus can't even hold his own in the 4th. Peppers, Allen and at his best Matthews has been known to own Backus late in games. His age must be considered a growing concern now it is time to make a decision about who the left tackle is. Backus is a free agent and while I see him being a Lion next year I also feel it is in our best intrest to see what the market hold at left tackle. The draft must also be studied very hard. I have a growing concern that my hopes of Fox being the future left tackle will never happen. We know Cherilus isn't the guy. It is now time to find out who is the guy to protect number nines blind side for the rest of his career. Backus should return but I think 2012 should be the year he must earn the right to remain the left tackle.
Rob Sims - Can't say much about Rob he honestly is the only true starting lineman I have almost no concerns with. He's not a monster in the run game or a dancer in the pass game. Truth is Rob is just a good well rounded player. Like with adding him for Backus adding a young talented left tackle will only improve his game. He will never be a special player but he will always show up. Which is what you need in a offensive lineman Consistency..remember this word going forward.
Dom Raiola - Oh Dom possible the most underrated player on the line in some ways. Physically he will always be out matched and always has been. Dom is a tremndous leader ( ask titus Young ) and very intelligent player on the line. Physically though Doms leadership and intelligence can only take him so far and as he gets older and his skills fade. Dom will continue to be a weak link on the line. I almost hate to be negative about Dom because I love his vocal leadership and I love the way he sticks up for his players. Did he flip off Lions fans..DAMN RIGHT HE DID and I loved the fact that he did it but I'm probably alone. Dom needs to saty with the Lions to be that Jon Jansen leader and the guy that can step in at anytime. The day is coming where we need to add our Pouncey or Saturday truth is Doms body just dosen't posess what it needs to to be a force at center. His size is now a bigger liabillity as he reaches the end of his career.
Stephen Peterman - What can I say about Stepehen Peterman...Well I'll start with the truth. I have never liked Peterman from day one but my disdain has only grown for this man. Sure he had a decent year...again and then next year he will probably tank and the year after he will do fair for part of the year. Fact of the matter is Peterman lacks the one this ALL succesful offensive lineman starting in the NFL must posess. CONSITENCY! No matther what you excuse is be it injury or just bad play. From year to year and sometimes even game to game you don't know if you getting an average NFL gaurd or a poor college center. I need to know who my right gaurd is every week and every off season. Peterman will never be that for me it is time to replace him. While Decastro may not be an option there are plenty of other gaurds better than Peterman. I'd rather trade and get 1 to 2 years of Steve Hutch at his age than one more season of Peter tears.
Gosder Cherilus - An Inigma, wraped in a riddle, wraped in a vest. Ok so he isn't Nelson Mutnz but you get my point. Who or what is Gosder anyways? Every year we say this is the year and every year I pull for Gosder to really make that jump. Will he ever make that leap to the right tackle I know he can be? I love Gosders attitude he is the bad boy on the O line and nobody will push him around ( In his mind anyways ). If you ever seen the NFL commercial with Jared Allen singing on some ladys doorstep I always picture Gosder Whoopin his ass on her front lawn and the cops show to break it up. I think Gosder would benifit from a big force at gaurd some one who is a road grader up front. Is Gosder a bust ? I am slowly admiting to myself year by year that he is. Can he play in the NFL no question and can he be a Lion for years to come you bet. Gosder will never be the Left tackle for the Lions and he will never be a monster right gaurd. He's always just gonna be Gosder Cherilus for what we know him to be...I'm ok with that. He's not the strength of the right side nor is he the weakness. Get the boy a big time right gaurd and he will bring his hard hat and lunch bucket every sunday. Thats all I can ask for from him.
My biggest concern for the O line probably rest as a unit though. They all need to step up there run game. You can feed me the " We don't run the ball" B.S all you want the fact of the matter is we can't. A run game helps us control the clock, protect Stafford, keep defenses honest and close out games. I love that Stafford can effectively throw for 5,038 yards in the season. I just don't want him to be required to ever again. My ideal offseason change would see Peterman replaced by a monster like Decastro at gaurd. Or maybe someone like Knoz as well. The O line on it's best day is average. Average is never gonna be good enough for me especially when your responsible for protecting the franchise..Matthew Stafford. I like Corey Hilliard as a backup and I still belive Fox has some value but if we can upgrade our starters at 1 or 2 spots our depth will automaticaly jump a mile from last year. It's time for the Line to just get some fresh blood in it and to finally find an anchor.