Larry Warford nominated for Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Week

Posted Nov 12, 2013

The Lions' offensive line has no doubt been having a solid season through the first nine games, and rookie guard Larry Warford has been a big part of their success.

"We’ve improved there, but we’re not a finished product," head coach Jim Schwartz said in his Monday press conference. "A lot of that also has to do with Matt (Stafford). Matt gets rid of the ball pretty quick, so that helps.

"Those guys have, and you have to put (Rob) Sims and (Dominic) Raiola in there, along with Larry (Warford). They’ve done a good job of giving the quarterback some room to be able to step up."

Entering Week 11, the Lions' rank first in the NFL in sacks per pass play, allowing just 10, and their Week 10 21-19 win at Chicago has earned Warford a nomination for Pepsi NEXT NFL Rookie of the Week.

Against Chicago, Warford was part of a line that allowed zero sacks and zero quarterback hits on 35 pass attempts. On the ground, the Lions' were able to rack up 145 rushing yards, and came away with a total of 364 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.

Running back Reggie Bush racked up 105 of those rushing yards, including a 39-yard carry that set up the team's touchdown to begin the second half. Bush became the first Lions running back to rush for 100 yards at Chicago since Kevin Jones had 105 October 28, 1997, which was also the last time Detroit won at Soldier Field.

Warford's ability to step in as a starter on the right side and play as well as he has from the get-go has been impressive and consistent through the first half of the season.

Rookie offensive linemen typically go through the growing pains of adjusting to the speed and and intensity of the game, but Warford has been an exception to the norm, playing at a high-level early on.

"I think a lot of times when you talk about rookies, you talk about highs and lows and ups and downs, and that sort of goes with the business, but he’s been very consistent for a rookie player," said Schwartz. "He hasn’t made very many mental mistakes. That’s been a big key, and it helps having a veteran player like Dominic Raiola right next to him.”