If there was one reason Detroit Lions fans were looking at 2018 as being a year the offense finally reaches its full potential, it was the perceived improvement of the offensive line. With T.J. Lang healthy, Frank Ragnow manning the left guard position and a brand-new offensive line coach, Detroit was running thin on excuses for average, or even above-average offensive play. This was supposed to be an elite offense.
And while it seemed like those changes actually made a big difference at first—the Lions only gave up three sacks in the first three weeks of the season and finally started to establish a running game early—that progress only lasted a few weeks. Their offensive line struggled against the likes of the Bears and Vikings, rendering their running game moot and making their pass protection look foolish. Detroit has now given up at least three sacks in five of 11 contests and they’ve been held below 4.0 yards per carry in six games.
Entering the season, Pro Football Focus predicted this offensive line to be the eighth best in the NFL. 12 weeks into the season, PFF now ranks them just 17th. While you’d think that was an improvement from last year, it barely is. PFF ranked the Lions’ offensive line performance in 2017 as 19th.
Obviously, the Lions have had some improvement. The Lions’ running game is at least close to average after being dead last in most statistical categories last year. However, the offensive line needs to play a lot better before they’re considered a “good” unit.
- If it makes you feel any better, English actor Daniel Radcliffe—famous for playing Harry Potter in the film series based on the books—annually suffers through Thanksgiving with us as a fellow Detroit Lions fan:
- PFF provided the grades for all 32 first-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Frank Ragnow’s grade (65.1) ranks 18th among first rounders, and, as PFF notes, Ragnow is coming off his best game as a pass blocker.
- The Lions seem to have a knack for propping up their opponents to NFC Player of the Week levels:
Player of the Week Honors vs #Lions:— ᴰᴱᴿᴱᴷ (@steeztabor) November 28, 2018
W2 NFC ST: Robbie Gould
W4 NFC ST: Brett Maher
W8 NFC ST: Michael Dickson
W9 NFC DEF: Danielle Hunter
W10 NFC OFF: Mitchell Trubisky
W12 NFC DEF: Eddie Jackson https://t.co/UHTokhdGJO
- Want more offensive coordinator candidates in case the Lions drop Jim Bob Cooter this year? Nate Atkins of MLive has an exhaustive list of 15 candidates.
- The Lions’ pass defense is bad. The Lions’ pass defense is also bad when they try to blitz.
Best pass defenses when blitzing- note that this isn't the effectiveness of the blitz, as in when it gets home. This is how opposing QBs fare who actually get the ball off, which is most of the time.#FightForEachOther #Skol #DallasCowboys #TitanUp #RavensFlock #GoBills #DaBears pic.twitter.com/Xq5xBG741N— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) November 28, 2018
- Reuben Foster was claimed by Washington on Tuesday, meaning the Detroit Lions did not put in a waiver claim for the troubled linebacker.