As the Lions progress through the offseason training program, the offensive linemen are learning new ways to do things with the addition of new o-line coaches Jeff Davidson and Hank Fraley (assistant).
In Davidson and Fraley, the Lions have hired two line coaches with extensive NFL playing experience, which is something veteran T.J. Lang can already tell brings a little different element to the table.
“Obviously, Jeff is a guy who’s been around for a long time,” Lang said. “He’s a former player himself, so he understands what it’s like sitting in those chairs. I think it’s been a great addition to the team.
“I think both him and Hank, the assistant o-line coach, Hank is a guy that played a long time, too.”
Davidson played for the Broncos and Saints over a five-year career from 1990-94. He moved into coaching in 1995 with the Saints after a shoulder injury ended his playing career.
Fraley’s playing days spanned a decade with the Eagles, Browns and Rams. He finished his playing career in 2010 before getting into coaching with the Chargers in 2012.
“I think that having someone with a lot of their own personal experiences can help me and younger guys in our locker room getting our technique down, and a lot of questions he’ll be able to answer,” veteran Graham Glasgow said of the addition of Fraley as Davidson’s assistant upfront. “And I think that he, especially for the centers and the interior lineman, is a very good resource to make sure we can be the best we can be.”
There are a lot of very good NFL coaches who never played a down in the NFL as a player, but those players that do make the transition to coaching have a unique perspective.
Davidson played both tackle and guard, and Fraley played center, so the pair have every position upfront covered.
Lang said the players are still learning the new terminology, blocking schemes and exactly how the new coaches want things run, but everything has been “very positive” to this point.
A new message can’t be a bad thing after the Lions struggled upfront last season with injuries and consistency. Detroit’s rushing attack finished last in the NFL last season, and quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 47 times, second most in the NFL (Jacoby Brissett, 52).
“I would say that Jeff seems like a fantastic guy,” Glasgow said. “He’s a very down to earth coach and I think that he’s somebody who will help our position group improve and get better throughout the year.”