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Why Bob Quinn made the offensive line a priority in free agency

PHOENIX – Bob Quinn is always planning and working ahead for all possible contingencies when it comes to free agency.

Obviously, Quinn knew offensive line starters Riley Reiff and Larry Warford were headed to free agency this offseason, and dating back to last October and November, he began formulating a plan in case the team wanted/needed to move in a different direction.

That's exactly what ended up happening, and the leg work Quinn put in the months leading up to free agency allowed him to target and eventually sign veterans Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.

"I felt very fortunate to get him," Quinn said at the league meetings Monday of signing Wagner in the opening hours of free agency. "He's going to bring a lot to the table. He's going to bring a lot of toughness and size. I think he's equally as good as a run blocker and pass protector."

Wagner, 27, started 47 games in Baltimore over the past three seasons.

He allowed just two sacks in 15 games protecting Joe Flacco's right side this past season, and has given up just seven sacks in 62 career games.

While Wagner brings that experience and toughness Quinn wanted to infuse into Detroit's young offensive line, Lang brings "grit and personality."

"We have a pretty young offensive line when you look at who's in that room right now and I think to add a veteran that has some personality and that's been through some wars and been through a lot of playoff games is something that's really important," Quinn said of Lang.

Lang won a Super Bowl in his time in Green Bay, and was a Pro Bowl player last season, not allowing a single sack or quarterback hit in 13 games.

Quinn is expecting both Lang and Wagner to become instant leaders along Detroit's revamped line, and show the younger guys how to take their game to the next level.

Detroit finished 21st in the NFL last season by allowing 37 sacks. They were also 30th running the ball.

"You can't fill all your needs in free agency," Quinn said. "You're going to have to look at the whole picture and say, 'alright, this is who's available, this is what I think their value is, this is who I could actually, possibly get.'

"Then you go through the first week of free agency, see who you have and who you can get and you readjust your needs going into the draft."

Detroit's free-agent acquisitions haven't been maybe as sexy as some other teams with some of the well-known marquee names. But the reality is that Quinn saw a deficiency and a chance to address it. He had a plan, executed it, and Detroit should be much better off for it moving forward.

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