COORDINATOR CUT-UP

Larry Warford has been an atypical rookie thus far

Posted Oct 2, 2013

In this week's Coordinator Cut-Up with Scott Linehan, Tim Twentyman talks about Larry Warford's quick acclimation to the NFL

Rookie Larry Warford has been everything the Detroit Lions hoped he'd be when they took him in the third round of the NFL Draft this year -- maybe even a little more.

Warford stepped right into the vacant right guard spot and has performed brilliantly through the first month of the season.

It wouldn't have been unusual if Warford had struggled at times early on this year as he adjusted to the speed and complexities of the NFL game. But that simply hasn't been the case.

"It's not common for a rookie offensive lineman to come out and play, either this early or this consistent early," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told me Tuesday. "I credit him and I credit his coaches for getting him ready."

Linehan and the coaching staff did have an inclination, however, that Warford would be a pretty good player when they spent a week with him down in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl.

Warford is a great example of how beneficial it was for this coaching staff to coach the Senior Bowl this year. It was there that they were wowed by eventual first-round pick Ziggy Ansah, too.

"We were able to see that (consistency)," Linehan said of coaching Warford at the Senior Bowl. "I'm not sure you see that watching film. He was very good on film, but I think we felt really comfortable with him going into the draft and we were just crossing our fingers that at some point we'd be able to draft him."

Warford had a number of terrific plays in last week's win over Chicago, but probably none better than the block he put on Bears nose tackle Nate Collins on Reggie Bush's 37-yard touchdown run.

Warford recognized Collins crossing the formation at the snap of the football and picked him up. Not only did he pick Collins up, but he also stood him up, drove him away from the play and Collins eventually ended up on the ground.

"That play or any play where you see him latch on to a guy," Linehan said. "Most guards need help. He's such a flexible player that he can grab a guy and block him, as opposed to covering him up. He can move the guy. He's extremely flexible and strong and mature for his age, which is a good thing for us."

Linehan also spoke on a number of other topics:

On the fact they have 625 yards after the catch this year:

"Way more this year than we've ever had. I think it's more the players we have. No. 21 (Reggie Bush) adds to that. Calvin (Johnson) adds to that. Calvin's long catch in Arizona puts a big chunk to that. Nate (Burleson) had a bunch of run-after-catch yards in the Washington game. I think it has more to do with the players than it does the scheme. But, 3rd-and-10, it doesn't have to be at the sticks if you've got guys who can run for the first. That very much is in our thoughts."

On the play of the offensive line:

"Our O-line is playing very well, considering we have three new starters, and really four, if you count Corey (Hilliard). The Washburn/Heffernan combo (offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan) is doing a great job. They are coaching those guys up and they're believing and I'm really proud of how our line is playing and how our O-line coaches are getting them ready to play."

On Brandon Pettigrew's seven-catch performance vs. Chicago:

"Brandon has played good, he just hasn't had the pass production. He's played very well in our run game and he's a part of the pass protection as well. He's not just out there running routes. Brandon has a really tough job. One play he's a run blocker. Next play is a pass receiver. Next play is a pass protector. That could be three consecutive plays. They have a lot on their plate and Brandon has done a great job in our offense. He's a perfect fit for what we do and had his most productive game moving the chains at tight end (vs. Chicago).