Lions left guard Jonah Jackson is proving his value via his absence

Sheerly via his absence for most of the last several games, Detroit Lions left guard Jonah Jackson is proving his value to the team.

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Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers was an atypically rough day for the Detroit Lions offensive line across the board. Jared Goff was sacked three times (all by Rashan Gary) and fumbled three times, and according to Pro Football Focus he was hit 12 times and pressured an outrageous 33 times.

No one was immune to the ineptitude, but left guard was a particular sore spot. Rookie Colby Sorsdal was benched just before halftime, and replacement Kayode Awosika was not much better filling in for the injured Jonah Jackson.

Jackson missed his second straight game last Thursday due to a wrist issue. He missed three games (Week 6-8) before that with a high ankle sprain. Halapoulivaati Vaitai going on IR has depleted the Lion's guard depth, and it has especially shown over the last two games. Sorsdal also started in Week 11 against the Bears, and was the team's lowest-graded offensive player by PFF.

Jonah Jackson proving his value to the Lions sheerly via his absence

It's never ideal to miss a lot of time in a contract year like Jackson has thus far. It's also never easy to replace a Pro Bowler like him, but the Lions have especially struggled to do it. If there was any doubt about his re-signing being a priority, and there really should never have been/shouldn't be, it's gone now.

Jackson now has more leverage in contract talks than he did, even if he has openly expressed a desire to spend his entire career in Detroit. He is undeniably going to be one of the best interior lineman to hit the free agent market in March, should he get there before reaching a new deal with the Lions.

The short week before the Thanksgiving game made it certain Jackson would miss another game. Hopefully the extra time before Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints will allow him to return to the lineup, and he'll be able to stay on the field for the duration of the season. He is sorely missed, and sorely needed.

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