What is the solution?
The Lions started signing backups from other team’s practice squads just to field a group of five men who could physically go out onto the field during 2017. Therein lies the problem.
At a bare minimum, Quinn needs to sign a guard either through free agency or the draft to start at left guard. That would only give them five starters, so more is needed. The line needs a backup tackle that can play left tackle in a pinch. Could these two players be the same person? They could be if Quinn is smart. You could easily draft a guard/ tackle who is quick enough to handle spot left tackle duties.
Looking at the problems, though, that still seems inadequate. Perhaps Dahl or Robinson is healthier coming into 2018. Can you trust that?
Common sense must be injected
Really stop and think about the problem.
Five of the top six linemen spent large chunks of the season injured. Will two players be enough to ensure that we don’t get a repeat? It sure wouldn’t seem like that would guarantee anything.
Of the starters, you probably shouldn’t get rid of any, yet. Especially if Swanson doesn’t return. Of the top backups, though, I would probably look to move on from Corey Robinson. Give someone else a try. That would only replace two of your top seven “big uglies.”
I would not feel good about that unit if they only add one or two guys. After the season we just watched, three to four new additions seems like a necessity. Three to four players need to be different; three if one guy is both a swing tackle and guard capable of starting.
The team is going to keep about eight or nine active linemen going into next season. After the four returning starters, and one backup, the other options need to be better competition. Doing less would seem like a dereliction of duty.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Follow me on Twitter CoachKirk @mkirk2, and Go Lions!