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Lions sign offensive line assistant Hank Fraley

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The Detroit Lions are serious about improving their offensive line.

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The Detroit Lions added another fresh face to the coaching staff on Friday. The team announced that Hank Fraley has been hired as the Lions’ assistant offensive line coach.

Fraley comes most recently from UCLA, where he was the offensive line coach for the the Jim Mora-led Bruins. When Mora was fired and Chip Kelly took over this offseason, Fraley was retained, but the Lions have plucked him from college to be an NFL assistant.

Fraley will reunite with Lions offensive line coach Jeff Davidson. The two coached together with under the same titles they currently hold for two years with the Minnesota Vikings. The two teamed up to have the 10th most efficient running game in 2014 and the third-most in 2015. Fraley also had an 11-year career in the NFL as a center, playing for mostly the Eagles and Browns.

The Lions desperately need help along their offensive line, as their running game has been among the league’s worst over the past two seasons and Matthew Stafford hasn’t had the protection he needs, despite a seemingly talented front five. Stafford has been sacked 173 times in the past four seasons, for an average of 43.3 times a year.

In addition to adding Fraley, the Lions also announced another coaching move. Evan Rothstein, who had been serving as the team’s “offensive and research & analysis assistant,” has been given the new title of “head coach assistant/research & analysis.”

It’s unclear what Rothstein’s actual role will be, but considering this will be Matt Patricia’s first year as a head coach, there’s a good chance he’ll be one of the main staffers that Patricia will use to delegate certain roles.