The elephant in the locker room this off-season is the fact that 3 of the 5 starting offensive lineman will be brand new. Ok, well the elephant itself is more of the question of whether this will hold back the exciting potential of the offense or not. Everyone wants to say that the young tackles and guard will do a great job, and really…they have no choice. The rest of the team is progressing very well this off-season, thus it would be a shame to have inexperience up front negate the positive addition of Reggie Bush to this dynamic offense. Fans are not emotionally prepared to utter the words “Wish we still had Backus” to themselves after week 1. The Lions offensive line has been a complaint magnet for years, and fans are only expecting improvement at this point. As uncertain as the situation is, perhaps the young line will come through…maybe even show more talent than people are expecting.
One this is for sure, any amount of success from the new starters this year won’t go far unless Dominic Raiola’s skill and mental handle last at least another year. With the departures of Jeff Backus and Jason Hanson, Raiola is the lone straggler left to call this team “his.” Plenty of teammates have started to step up and take ownership, but on a very young o-line Dom has to keep Stafford feeling comfortable.
So far Raiola has done everything right. At the beginning of the off-season he resigned for the veteran’s minimum, which was a very helpful gesture to the team. During the 3 day mini-camp he was observed to have added almost 20 pounds to his frame. Dom has always had a lion heart and so far this year has done the lion’s share to prepare for a good year. Here’s to hoping he can anchor a young, excited, and successful o-line in 2013. There is a possibility that he will not have the starting job by the end of the season, but so far it looks highly unlikely and fans are forced to accept that Raiola indeed must be a crucial aspect to this year’s success.