Taking a closer look at the Detroit Lions offensive line in 2019

Exactly how well did the Detroit Lions offensive line play in the 2019 season?  Who should return in 2020 and who might need to be replaced?

Under general manager Bob Quinn, the Detroit Lions‘ front office has had a major focus on improving their offensive line. And with their 11-year quarterback, Matthew Stafford, coming off an injury-plagued season causing him to miss eight games, getting better play out of their O-Line is essential. So, I decided to take a closer look at the Lions offensive line play from 2019.

First, l went to NFL.com and looked at the team numbers. I wanted to see how Detroit compared to other teams. Specifically, when it comes to sacks and quarterback hits. The Lions tied with the New York Giants at 19th place with 43 sacks allowed. Yet the top seven teams in sacks allowed all made the playoffs. They ranged from 22 to 28 compared to the Lions 43.

The Lions offensive line also allowed 92 quarterback hits. Good enough once again for 19th place overall. Five of the top eight teams allowed 52 to 73 hits and they made the playoffs. Apparently the loss of yardage due to sacks hurts a team more so then hits, but if your quarterback gets hurt you can probably blame both at least somewhat.

The Lions must do something to improve the hits and, for sure, the sacks. And it would seem like looking at who on the offensive line should be singled out for more advanced training or replacement would be the way to go.

According to Pro Football Focus, the top-rated offensive linemen from last season for Detroit were left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow. Decker scored a PFF overall score of 75.5 and had the most snaps along the O-Line with 1,017. Ragnow played 996 snaps and had a PFF score of 74.9. The duo played the most snaps on the entire team last season.

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With players like guard Graham Glasgow and tackle Oday Aboushi scheduled to become unrestricted free agents later this month, how the Detroit Lions actually choose to address the offensive line going forward remains to be seen. My opinion on the matter is that some fresh blood at guard and tackle might be in order, whether that comes in the upcoming NFL draft or even before that in free agency.