Control the line of scrimmage
The question I pose is quite simple; if such out of the box thinking could be the baseline upon which all the success Gibbs had in Washington was based, why haven’t more teams gone that same route? You could say that it is difficult to find NFL caliber tackles in today’s world, but the formula doesn’t have to be copied to a tee.
The Lions could actually use tackles that may not be quite as athletic, but just as huge at guard and still have success. If the ground game doesn’t revolve around pulling the guards then that quickness isn’t as imperative. Especially in pass-protection. Unless Aaron Donald is lined up over your guard, pass-protecting is easier from the guard position because most defensive tackles are more stronger than they are fast.
For example; Taylor Decker has not had a great year, but imagine if the Lions acquired an upgrade at left tackle and moved Decker to guard? Quite frankly I think Decker could excel there. His biggest problems have been against speed rushers. Take that away by lining him up at guard what would the results be?
This type of upgrade to the Lions offensive line would take some astute moves. It’s all about finding the right players, which the Redskins did with low draft picks and even free-agents that no one else wanted.
So the question becomes whether the Lions are astute enough to be able to find a few such players while also giving their defense the priority attention it needs this offseason? A power back, possibly like Bo Scarbrough, behind line play like that, could wear out defenses after they have been chasing a healthy Kerryon Johnson whose been given room to run.
Every year there are new systems that find success and every year there are teams that try to find a way to copy that success as well. But a power running game to complement a talented lead back like Kerryon Johnson, if he can stay healthy, and Matthew Stafford’s passing attack would bring a new dimension and attitude to the Lions offense.
A new dimension and ability to put defenses completely on their heels. The Lions’ current components in their passing game are still very deadly. Given an ability to actually pound on and physically beat up a defense with their ground game would make this offense virtually unstoppable.
Is the over-sized offensive line the answer? maybe or maybe not. The point is that Bob Quinn has been trying to build the trenches since his arrival. The results at present are mixed. It’s about finding the right players. It’s about not being chained to one standard of player, but being able to find value where others find none.
Every year there are offensive linemen drafted in the late-rounds and undrafted free-agents that not only make NFL rosters but become mainstays for their team.
Why can’t the Lions do the same? Bob Quinn has improved the level of talent in Detroit, but there are still key areas that have to improve like the offensive and defensive lines. Teams that win in the trenches win on Sundays. It’s pretty much that simple.
When this season winds down the Lions will have very little to show for their offseason efforts. They will have many needs on defense to address but should be astute and opportunistic about helping out their offensive line as well. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but without a big offseason that is followed by results, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia’s days may be numbered.