Stafford sees Lions’ offensive line as “extremely talented”

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The Lions lost their starters at left tacke, right tackle and right guard this offseason, and they drafted just one offensive lineman while not adding any in free agency. So does that mean the Lions should expect a drop-off on the offensive line this year?

Not according to the man they’re protecting, quarterback Matthew Stafford, who said after Organized Team Activities started that he sees a lot to like about the guys in front of him.

“I don’t expect a big change,” Stafford said, via “I don’t expect any kind of a drop-off. I think we’re extremely talented up front.”

Two of the three veteran offensive linemen who departed will be replaced by talented young players: Longtime left tackle Jeff Backus retired and will be replaced by last year’s first-round draft pick, Riley Reiff. And guard Stephen Peterman, who’s now with the Jets, will be replaced by this year’s third-round pick, Larry Warford. If Reiff and Warford develop the way the Lions are hoping, those changes could represent an improvement. The right tackle situation, however, doesn’t look good for Detroit: Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will compete to replace the departed Gosder Cherilus, and either way, that’s a step down.

Stafford added that he’s ready for growing pains.

“Any time you play quarterback, your dream is a perfect pocket every time,” Stafford said. “But let’s be honest, in the NFL, the defensive guys get paid to rush the passer. That’s something we’ll focus on, like we do every year, is improving the pocket and me moving in the correct ways — left, right, up, back, whatever it is — to avoid pressure. That’s something we’re constantly working on and something we’ll have an emphasis on this spring.”

With three new starters, the offensive line will need to jell in a hurry. Keeping Stafford upright is critical for the Lions.

40 responses to “Stafford sees Lions’ offensive line as “extremely talented”

  1. Oh and I love where it says that Fox and Hilliard r a drop off from Godster.. Is that a joke because I’m pretty sure the Lions won’t miss his over rated One good year playing for a big contract Arse!!

  2. Fox has been sitting in reserve waiting for his chance. he has been groomed for RT…now it’s his time. You are foolishly assuming that he is not ready just so you can bash the Lions yet again…you wouldn’t be doing that if he was on the packers online. You base your entire article on a flawed assumption…smh

  3. addition by subtraction. I would hardly call replacing gosder as a step down. He was average at best. I don’t care what he fetched in free agency. He’s not a good rt.

  4. What’s he supposed to say, “Our offensive line is trash and I expect to be sacked 50 times this year.” ?

    Peterman was a seive, and the only memories I have of Cherilus are holding and false starts–it’s not like they could run the ball behind that right side. I can’t wait to see what the young guys have. Fox was considered a top-flight talent with injury concerns coming out (he’s finally healthy) and Warford looks like an absolute beast and insant upgrade.

  5. For years, Lions fans have complained about the offensive line. Soon we will find out if things are on the upswing or if we will be looking to the good old days of Backus, Peterman and Cherilus.

  6. this team has only finished above 23rd in rushing once since 2000.

    Raiola is the worst center in regards to run blocking

    if he starts this season, things will not change in the run game.

  7. Cherilus was not even average last year at RT! The entire article proves that you don’t know what you are talking about. Cherilus left the team because he wasn’t wanted in Detroit – and another team overpaid drastically for his services. The Cherilus signing this off season has been called the biggest single mistake of the year by your press brethren.

    Fox certainly isn’t a downgrade. He would only have to be average to be considered a huge upgrade at RT – regardless of the wording by PTF’s clueless writers…

  8. Bears fan here. I think Cutler said this same thing the last 3 years. What else can you do but try to support them, build them up?
    But I think the Lions O can be scary good. Wish our O scared me as much…oh, wait, it does!

  9. So basically the starting o-line has been downgraded from last year, and instead of having plenty of depth like last season, there will be zero depth this year. Got it.

    Thanks for that tip.

  10. Its nice for once to have young potential on the offensive line for once. We will miss Backus in terms of reliability but I think that reif can hold his own on the left side. Rob Sims and warford at the guards and probably Jason fox at right tackle. We definitely have upside and the potential to be good but raiola is dead weight and he’s probably slated to start by default and thats what worries me.

  11. If there is a drop off at first, it will be natural. They lost some important guys from their OL.

    Of course, Stafford would say he doesn’t expect that. What did you expect?

    Oh and Lions fans should relax a bit. Saying something negative about your team doesn’t mean people are hating on them and the Lions.

  12. Come on give these guys something to work with ….I’ve been a closet Lions fan for while now ..(Everyone love the underdog on Turkey day)….. Its like Detroit invites you in with one hand and pushes you away with the other ….Improved the skill positions but then you leave them in vunerable position with an untested line after coming off a major underachieving season? …..I had a little faith in the new management, now I’m starting to get that ol’ M&M boys feeling ….Hype but no production

  13. I always love it when dudes like “pondertheDUMP” throw stones in a glass house. Funny too cause last time I checked Ponder was and is one of the bottom 2 QBS in the NFL.. But lets take a crack at Staff who behind ur OL and with Peterson behind him would no doubt have the Queens in the SB. Check urself.

  14. Most have already said it but Fox is a talent that has been shelved for injury concerns. The only real question is can Reiff really make us forget Backus and can Raiola train us a replacement for next year with Nagy because Raiola is gone in 2014.

  15. classactcalvin81 says: May 27, 2013 11:48 AM

    I always love it when dudes like “pondertheDUMP” throw stones in a glass house. Funny too cause last time I checked Ponder was and is one of the bottom 2 QBS in the NFL.. But lets take a crack at Staff who behind ur OL and with Peterson behind him would no doubt have the Queens in the SB. Check urself.


    You probably can’t tell, but my screen name is making fun of Christian Ponder.

    Detroit Education: FANTASTIC!

  16. This is super funny. We have a Vikings fan trashing Matt Stafford and a Nostradamus prodigy who knows what the Lions record will be next year.
    Vikes fans-every time you even think about talking smack about another teams quarterback please take a second to remember that Christian Ponder is yours. This should stop you dead in your tracks and restore some humility to you.

  17. Let’s see if they actually develop a running game this year. Even in the close games where neither team scored a lot, Stafford was still throwing over 40 passes. You can’t win without a running game. Ask Brees.

  18. Guess what Ponder I Live in Maryland and have my whole life 34 yrs once again think b4 u speak. And another thing r u saying everyone from the D is an idiot because that would b a horrible assessment. Lol. At u of course!!

  19. can we stop with Fox being so great hes about as healthy as delmas is during the seasons hes been here he hasnt even had a chance to prove that he can play which means you are looking at hilliard as the rt if thats the case , but Rome wasnt built in a day and that will be the next thing they need to fix

  20. “The right tackle situation, however, doesn’t look good for Detroit: Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will compete to replace the departed Gosder Cherilus, and either way, that’s a step down.”

    LOL Who wrote this, Jim Irsay? You didn’t have to pay that much, Jim — nobody else wanted him!

  21. classactcalvin81 says: May 27, 2013 2:04 PM

    So who exactly do u root for then?? Because now ur statement makes no sense at all.


    My statement makes perfect sense.

    Ponder has a weak arm. My name makes fun of him. He is “the dump off king” because that’s all he can do.

    What teams have beaten the Lions 7 out of 8 times since Horsehead came into the league?

    There are two. Both of whom have better Quarterbacks than the Lions.

  22. Stafford is hoping the line can pass block. It would be nice if the Lions can run effectively. What is the old adage a good running game is the quarterbacks best friend. Detroit can use it. I wish them well.

  23. If Bill Nagy some hows beats out Dominic Rollover for the starting center job this team could make a deep run into the playoffs, possibly their first superbowl appearance.This will be a top five defense with the addition of Glover Quinn and a healthy Louis Delmas on the back end.The only question is will they be able to run the ball consistently on short yardage and late in games.With the addition of big Larry Warford and the (hopeful) replacement of Dominic Raiola the interior of their oline still be much improved giving them the balance on offense they so lacked last year thus making them a complete football team. Go lions superbowl or bust 2013

  24. Ok so Stafford thinks his line is great, Flacco thinks his line is great. I’m quite certain that every QB will say his line is great or talented, or guys I’d go to war with. It’ll be a real story when one of them says, these guys suck

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