Former guard with 20 career snaps may protect Stafford’s blind side

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Nothing is more important to the Lions than keeping quarterback Matthew Stafford upright, but that won’t be easy this season.

Starting left tackle Taylor Decker is recovering from shoulder surgery and will miss the start of the season, and so the Lions are scrambling for a new left tackle. That could mean giving the job to Joe Dahl, a fifth-round draft pick last year who played guard as a rookie and only got on the field for 20 snaps.

Dahl did play left tackle in college at Washington State, but he admits that the offense he played in under coach Mike Leach was nothing like an NFL offense.

“The huge thing was, we barely ran any schemes,” Dahl said. “We were really simple scheme-wise and then we never played in a three-point stance. We hardly ever run blocked, but it’s just learning all new schemes and all new techniques, so it’s entirely different.”

Still, Dahl is working at left tackle in OTAs and minicamp, and he thinks he’ll be ready in Week One if he earns the starting job.

“I’d feel very comfortable,” Dahl said. “After all the reps I’ve gotten this spring, I definitely came so far from where I was, especially right when I got here.”

Having Dahl protecting Stafford isn’t ideal, but for the Lions it may be the least-bad option.