Detroit Lions 2014 Mid-Season Report Card: Offense

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Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions offensive line during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Five Guys Up Front

The Detroit Lions offense isn’t the same offense of years past. Sure, the players are the same, but the new system installed by first year offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has presented a learning curve in Detroit — especially for the offensive line.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has had pressure in his face for a majority of his snaps this season, despite returning the same five guys in the trenches.

In 2013 the Detroit Lions offense was built around a quick release from Stafford. In 2014, under Lombardi, the routes in which the wide receivers run take more time to develop. In turn, Stafford is holding on to the ball longer and his offensive line must keep the pursuit at bay.

While a tenth of a second might not seem like much, that is what Stafford is averaging — a tenth of a second more before a pass. That is a difference when you’re an offensive lineman.

In 2013 Stafford also got rid of the ball in an average of 2.42 seconds. This season, he is at 2.53. So it leads to more risk, but also more reward if the blocking holds up.

If Waddle continues to get healthy and the rest of the line continue to learn the system, we can only hope that the protection improves for Matthew Stafford.

Offensive Line Grade: C