Bob Quinn has made it very clear through his actions over the last 14 months that reshaping and retooling Detroit’s offensive line was a top priority after taking over as Lions general manager.
When he began running Detroit’s football operations last January, the Lions had just completed a disapointing 7-9 season with a win over the Chicago Bears Week 17. In that game, Detroit’s starting offensive line consisted of Riley Reiff,
Decker played every snap as a rookie, and made the Pro Football Writers all-rookie team. Glasgow started 11 games between center and guard, and is a good candidate to start this year at left guard. Quinn said at the Combine he’s “excited” about the progress Dahl made as a rookie coming from a pass-happy scheme at Washington State to the more-balanced NFL.
“You win football games in the trenches and you’ve got to have big, strong, tough, durable, versatile guys in there,” Quinn said after Day 2 of the draft last year.
Fast forward one offseason and Quinn attacked free agency with that same philosophy of continuing to bolster what he obviously perceived as a weakness in 2016. The Lions ranked 30th running the football last season, and quarterback
Wagner, 27, has started 45 games for Baltimore the last three seasons and allowed just two sacks all of last season.
Lang, 29, was a Pro Bowler in Green Bay in 2016 and didn’t allow a single sack or quarterback hit.
Wagner and Lang are also upgrades in the run blocking department, and check off all those boxes Quinn said he liked in offensive linemen during the draft last season. They bring toughness and experience to a unit ripe with youthful talent. On paper, it looks to be a very strong group, collectively, with good depth.
It seems likely that Decker, who was Detroit’s best offensive lineman last season, Glasgow and Dahl can all improve in 2017 with a year under their belts, and a true offseason to prepare.
Lang spoke to a number of his new teammates Sunday after signing with the Lions. He left those conversations with a simple message.
"The last thing I relayed to them all was I really feel like we can form one of the best units in the league, with all the talent we have," Lang said.
The talent has been assembled. It’s now up to the players and coaches to put it together on the field.
In just a little over a year, Quinn has completely restructured Detroit’s offensive line, and in doing so, has given his team a much better chance for success moving forward.