After the first two preseason games, the Detroit Lions offensive line situation was unclear. The Lions toyed around with lineups for the No. 1 offense. But based on their game against the New England Patriots, it appears the Lions have solidified their starting front five.
|Drive||QB||C||RG||RT||Drive summary||Rushing game||Sacks|
|1||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||10 plays, 90 yards, FG||3 rushes, 9 yards||0|
|2||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||3 plays, 5 yards, punt||1 rush, -4 yards||0|
|3||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||4 plays, 6 yards, missed FG||0 rushes||1|
|4||Stafford||Raiola||Gandy||Waddle||4 plays, 37 yards, TD||1 rush, 2 yards||0|
|5||Stafford||Raiola||Gandy||Waddle||4 plays, -4 yards, FG||1 rush, -6 yards||0|
|6||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||3 plays, 2 yards, punt||2 rushes, 2 yards||0|
|7||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||3 plays, 0 yards, punt||0 rushes||0|
|8||Stafford||Raiola||Warford||Fox||3 plays, 6 yards, punt||0 rushes||0|
|9||Stafford||Raiola||Gandy||Fox||4 plays, 22 yards, FG||0 rushes||0|
|10||Moore||Harris||Gandy||Waddle*||8 plays, 80 yards, TD||4 rushes, 43 yards||0|
|11||Moore||Harris||Gandy||Waddle*||7 plays, 34 yards, FG||3 rushes, 23 yards||0|
|12||Moore||Harris||Austin||Waddle*||12 plays, 96 yards, TD||6 rushes, 22 yards||0|
|13||Lewis||Keyton||Austin||Waddle||8 plays, 47 yards, TD||6 rushes, 25 yards, TD||
*Hilliard at LT
The Lions had a whopping nine first half drives with the first-time offense on Thursday. It is important to note that the left side of the offensive line was the same for all nine drives: Riley Reiff at left tackle and Rob Sims at left guard. During that time, Larry Warford got his first career start and played for the majority of the first half, totaling six drives. Dylan Gandy snuck some playing time in there after getting no time at right guard last week. Jake Scott failed to play a down at right guard after starting at the position last week. What it all boils down to is this: while Scott and Gandy have been bouncing all around the offensive line with the first, second and third teams, Warford has only played at the right guard position and has seen time with the first-string offense in all three games. The job is his.
The situation is just as definitive at right tackle. Corey Hilliard didn't take a snap at right tackle this week, though he played three series at left tackle in the second half. They are clearly grooming him to be a versatile backup for both tackle spots. The Lions did, however, take a good look at LaAdrian Waddle, who had previously only seen snaps at right tackle with the third team last week. Waddle not only played the entire second half, but he even got a few series with the No. 1 team. However, he is not a real threat to take the starting job. The Lions were most likely testing to see how he would play with the big boys. Jason Fox clearly has the position on lockdown. Fox has played with the first-string offense in nine of 16 drives this preseason and has been solid in pass protection.
So it appears the Lions have their starting front five. They have looked above average in pass protection, but they still have a long ways to go in run blocking. Hopefully as the season progresses, and this newly-formed line coalesces, we will see improvement.