According to Tim Twentyman, center Dominic Raiola has received the Eric Andolsek Top Offensive Lineman Award for the seventh straight season. The award, which is named in honor of former Lions offensive guard Eric Andolsek, who was killed in an accident after the 1991 season, goes annually to the top Lions offensive lineman. The award is voted on by Lions players, who obviously hold Raiola in pretty high regard.
While Raiola has received his fair share of criticism from fans over the years, he has been a pretty reliable center. I know many are hoping the Lions draft a center this year in order to replace Raiola, but as offensive line coach George Yarno told Twentyman, that may be easier said than done.
"He’s the quarterback of the offensive line and the nucleus of it," said offensive line coach George Yarno. "He makes all the calls and declarations. He allows us to do a lot more upfront than maybe some other lines that don’t have an experienced center."
Yarno went on to talk about how Raiola and Matthew Stafford have developed good chemistry that played a big role in the offense being as good as it was in the 2011 season.