COORDINATOR CUT-UP: Linehan: "I thought our offensive line really won the trench battle last week"

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Both Scott Linehan and Matthew Stafford gave a lot of credit to the Lions' offensive line for its performance in the team's 34-24 win against Minnesota.

There were a lot of terrific performances on offense last week for the Detroit Lions, but the best performance -- and the No. 1 reason the unit put up nearly 500 yards -- was because their revamped offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.

"I have to give a lot of credit to our offensive line," quarterback Matthew Stafford said Tuesday. "Handing the ball off and watching Reggie (Bush) and Joique (Bell) and those guys run the ball was great. It was fun to look and see all the air. Our offensive line was moving them, better than they have since I've been here."

New starters Riley Reiff, Larry Warford and Jason Fox/Corey Hilliard might not have a whole lot of experience, but they're certainly more athletic than the previous Lions regime and that showed in Sunday's win.

Riley ReiffT Riley Reiff (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan thought he had a talented bunch, but it had to be game-tested.

"I think the thing I saw was consistency," Linehan told "Consistently clean pocket. Consistently staying on blocks in the run game. It's a great first step.

"We've got to build off that, probably an overused term as well, but it's definitely something we can get confidence from knowing we played a top-notch defensive front and held our own."

The Lions won the battle upfront and that made Linehan's job a lot easier from the sideline.

"It goes way back in time to the game of football when you can control the line of scrimmage, whether it's offensively or defensively," he said. "It's typically going to be to your advantage. I thought our offensive line really won the trench battle last week."

Linehan also touched on a couple of other offensive trends from Sunday:

On how long it will be before defenses will have to adjust for Reggie Bush: "I just think everybody's got a different role, different systems than ours. Certainly Reggie's going to get attention now. You don't go almost 100 rushing and 100 receiving in one game and people aren't going to pay attention to you, but I think the biggest thing is, it puts the onus more on the other pieces because it takes a little off of Calvin, puts a little more (on players like) (Tony) Scheffler or a (Joseph) Fauria. Those guys -- they will get more opportunities because of it and I think that helps our offense."

On if this is what they talked about in the first meeting with Reggie: "We know everything's kind of a work in progress. It's a good example of what we hoped it would be and now thinking it will be. Each week's a different challenge. One week you fair well, you don't rest on your laurels. You've got to know that people are going to be zoning in on what you did that week and we've got to continue to build other people's roles within this offense so we can keep it spread around."

On the ‘unsung heroes' of the game: "We feel like everybody has a role on this team. I felt like we get a play or two from the leading receiver from the slot position in Nate (Burleson) -- we felt like that was going to be something that needed to happen. We certainly knew that a lot of our focus was going to be getting a couple big plays out of Calvin. We did, they were just near-misses.

"But having those other guys affect the game in certain situations, whether it be a first down on a critical third down or a big catch like we got out of Nate (is big). Throw Joique in there. Joique scored two touchdowns in two really critical situations. That's what good offenses do: they get production from all their pieces."