Detroit Lions offensive line has big goals for 2022
The Detroit Lions offensive line expects to be among the best in the NFL this year, complete with some lofty goals.
ESPN’s analytics arm may not think so, but the Detroit Lions absolutely have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL heading into the 2022 season. The first key will be health, as the five of Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Penei Sewell did not play a single snap together last season.
Despite that lack of offensive line continuity, the Lions had their most productive rushing attack since the Barry Sanders era in 2021. Overall, they were 19th in the league in rushing (110.9 yards per game) and they were top half in the league in yards per carry (4.4).
The Lions allowed 36 sacks last season, which was a middle of the pack number league-wide.
Detroit Lions offensive line has lofty goals for the season
After practice last Thursday, Vaitai put the goals the Lions offensive line has out to the world in plain terms.
"For the O-line, our goal is to be the top rushing attack in the league. That’s our goal. And then be the best O-line in protecting,” said Vaitai. “The rest will take care of itself.”"
The Lions last led the NFL in rushing in 1981 (174.7 yards per game), spearheaded by Billy Sims, when they also led the league in rushing touchdowns (26) and yards per attempt (4.7). As hinted previously, they last led the league in yards per carry in 1997, with Barry Sanders as the lead back.
The lowest sack totaled allowed in the league last season belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with 23. So there’s work to do there too. But having Decker healthy all season on Jared Goff’s blind side, Sewell ready to make a leap in his second season and Ragnow healthy in the middle will be big steps in the direction of allowing fewer sacks.
The Lions are in line to have a much-improved offense this season. But it all starts with the big guys up front, and the unit has high standards for itself.