Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Detroit Lions is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We have already looked at the AFC East, NFC East and AFC North. We started the NFC North with the defending champion Green Bay Packers and now it’s onto the Detroit Lions.
It’s safe to say that the Detroit Lions’ running attack has been basically non-existent for the past three seasons. The team gained the third-fewest yards on the ground in the league in 2016. That comes after ranking 32nd in the NFL in rushing in 2015 and 28th in the same category the year before that.
Is that because the team hasn’t had quality running backs? Or has the offensive line continued to be an area of disappointment? The answer lies somewhere in-between and this offseason, general manager Bob Quinn did something about the latter unit.
Unfortunately, the team did get some bad news not all that long ago. Quality left tackle Taylor Decker underwent should surgery and is sidelined these days. The 2016 first-round pick enjoyed a solid rookie season and the Lions’ offensive front is weaker without him around. The club went out and landed an insurance policy in Greg Robinson. The second overall pick in the 2014 draft was a three-year disappointment with the now-Los Angeles Rams. Perhaps he finds new life in the Motor City.
More importantly, free agency was responsible for bolstering the right side of the line. Quinn signed guard T.J. Lang away from the Green Bay Packers. He also wooed tackle Ricky Wagner, a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
The Lions struggled to run the football and failed to adequately protect quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was sacked 37 times in the regular season and three more times in the playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The additions of Lang and Wagner and the continued development of players such as 2016 third-round pick Graham Glasgow and ’15 first-rounder Laken Tomlinson bode well for the Detroit Lions. A healthy Decker and the presence of center Travis Swanson are positives as well. This is a group that bears watching season.