Detroit Lions: Offensive foundation crumbling before us
By Zack Moran
The Detroit Lions offense was going to be the key to keep this team alive, but unfortunately, that foundation is crumbling beneath them.
Walking into this season, the Detroit Lions were going to rely heavily on their offense for success. When general manager Bob Quinn took the helm, he made it a priority to surround his franchise quarterback with protection and weapons. From drafting offensive players high to signing big ticketed free agents.
Coming off a respectable season last year for quarterback Matthew Stafford, expectations were high as ever. With a coaching change, we all expected there were going to be some road bumps, but he still had offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter on the sidelines. The beginning of the season started well.
The Lions were reaping the benefits from their first and second picks from this year. Guard Frank Ragnow and running back Kerryon Johnson revived what was a dead running game. The cohesion of the offensive line was finally beginning to gel giving up less sacks. The wide receivers were as good as promised.
Then, it all started to go downhill.
T.J Lang injury
It began when T.J Lang suffered a gruesome head injury against the Dallas Cowboys. Seeing him on the field dazed and confused had a lot of Lions fans concerned, myself included. He did eventually return after his absence, but that was short lived.
Lang suffered a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings that landed him on injury reserve ending not only the season but probably his Lions career. He has battled a number of injuries especially with his time in Detroit. This might be the time Lang needs to have serious self reflection and decide if it’s time to hang up his cleats.
When Lang landed on injured reserve it left a big hole. The Lions didn’t have anyone replace the Pro Bowl talent left behind at left guard. Kenny Wiggins was the first man up to take that spot. You can’t expect the same level of play from Wiggins compared to Lang; which has led to a drop off in the offensive line play.
The offensive line, for the most part, has been playing decent; but failed expectations coming into the season. Graham Glasgow has held up well at center. Ragnow did have some rookie struggles, but he has rebounded nicely throughout the season. Taylor Decker seems to not have fully recovered from his injury. Rick Wagner has been widely inconsistent. The Lang injury was a major blow to this team and still feeling the ramifications from it.