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Notes: Detroit Lions’ offensive line isn’t much better than last year

The improvement just isn’t there right now.

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Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

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:

  • The Lions seem to have a knack for propping up their opponents to NFC Player of the Week levels:

  • The Lions’ pass defense is bad. The Lions’ pass defense is also bad when they try to blitz.

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