If there was one thing that stuck out from Friday’s loss to the New York Giants, it was the Detroit Lions’ offensive line struggles. Unlike the preseason opener, Detroit failed to run the ball effectively even though the starting offensive line—minus T.J. Lang—played for longer than they did against the Oakland Raiders.
The Lions’ pass protection may have been the worst part of it all. Matthew Stafford was sacked twice in three offensive series and hit at least one additional time. In total, the Giants were credited with six quarterback hits on Friday, according to ESPN.
Monday afternoon, starting left tackle Taylor Decker didn’t want to focus too much on overall offensive line performance, but openly admitted there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“Coming out of any preseason game, especially this last one with the starters getting more time in, we’re going to have things that we can improve upon,” Decker said.
And to him, there isn’t a doubt that the line will play better than they did on Friday night.
“I think us as an offensive line, we’re going to improve and get better.”
Decker, himself, had a rough game Friday night. The third-year tackle was arguably responsible for two sacks on the evening and even struggled in run blocking. As a result, Giants edge rusher Olivier Vernon—who lined up primarily (but not exclusively) opposite Decker—was Pro Football Focus’ highest graded Giants player Friday night:
Olivier Vernon stood out early on the defensive line for the Giants last night. pic.twitter.com/AguYCDTTkN— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 19, 2018
But Decker’s confidence wasn’t shaken by his performance.
“I think moving forward I’ll be a lot better. I’m comfortable saying that,” Decker said. “Overall, I’ll be okay.”