One of the biggest questions facing the Detroit Lions in 2019 is the status of their offensive line. Last year, we saw glimpses of what the unit could be as a whole, but with a major piece in T.J. Lang now enjoying retirement, the rest of the squad is going to have to step up collectively in his absence and play more consistently this season.
Left tackle Taylor Decker is optimistic. As the Lions prepare to enter Organized Team Activities next week, Decker believes the Lions’ offensive line chemistry is at an all-time high.
“I think this is the best group I’ve ever been around, as far as personalities fitting together, guys being on the same page, just kind of on the same wavelength,” Decker said. “You just kind of got a feel for everybody. Everybody gets along really, really well. There’s just a good chemistry in that room and that’s exciting. And I think we do have a good group that we can do some good thing with on field.”
According to Decker, it’s not just the personnel that’s helping form chemistry and a productive work environment, it’s also the familiarity with the coaching staff. Though Detroit is going through a scheme change with new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is entering his second year with the team.
“It’s huge because he’s had a year under his belt, and we’ve had a year under our belt working with him,” Decker said. “So we know how to work with one another, and to piggy back on the fact that we have good chemistry fit in our room amongst the players, coaches as well. It’s just a really good fit all around, and a great work environment for us to be able to get better.”
The Lions will be returning four of five starters in 2019, with that right guard position formerly held by Lang still up for grabs. Although, Kenny Wiggins, who started the final eight games at the position, could very well win the job out of training camp.
It’s that continuity that’s key for this unit, according to Decker. Learning together, watching film together, learning each other’s tendencies and habits—they all factor into making this offensive line a complete unit on the field. And now entering year two alongside Frank Ragnow, who is coming off his rookie season, could mean big things for both players.
“That’s a huge thing because communication, and kind of having just that feel of the guy next to you is huge,” Decker said.