Detroit Lions General Manager Bob Quinn has made some nice moves in his first off-season as the organization’s decision maker, but the elephant in the room is that Quinn has not yet addressed the team’s biggest hole, the left tackle position.
Detroit missed out on free agent Russell Okung who seemed like a perfect fit for the Lions, and instead decided to stop gap the position by acquiring eight-year NFL veteran Geoff Schwartz. Schwartz wasn’t the flashiest pickup but he has started at tackle in 39 games in his career and provided Lions fans with a sigh of relief that the team would at least be upgraded at the position this year.
Not so fast my friend.
Mlive’s Kyle Meinke reports that at a season-ticket holder meeting Thursday night, Quinn seemed to have a different idea of where Schwartz would fit in on the offensive line.
“He’s primarily a guard, first and foremost. [He] has played some right tackle in the past.”
Wanting to put Schwartz at guard would make the signing strictly a depth move because the Lions are set with last year’s first-round pick Laken Tomlinson at left guard and three-year starter Larry Warford at right guard. Stashing Schwartz at guard would come as a definite surprise to fans but would hardly be unnecessary.
With former Lion Manny Ramirez now in Chicago, the team does need depth at the position, but given all the problems at the tackle position, it would be strange for the team the stash a player who most would consider an upgrade on the bench.
However, if you look at this quote from Quinn, that seems exactly what the Lions plan to do.
“He’s a veteran offensive lineman who has started a lot of games, and I feel really strong about his ability to come in and improve our depth,” Quinn said.
Improving depth is obviously important for any franchise to have success, but before improving depth, you should make sure you have capable starters, which it doesn’t seem the Lions have at three out of five offensive line positions.
Quinn’s not blind to this fact and it doesn’t sound like he’s done trying to improve.
“It’s an area I still want to upgrade,” Quinn said. “It’s a position that I studied at length in free agency and … it was a position where I didn’t see the value of players that were getting signed to contracts that they were getting from other teams. So that’s the way I want to build this team — I want to build it the right way.
The argument of not wanting to overspend even though the Lions have the cap space to do so is sound. There’s an increasing feeling that the Lions are going to mainly try to upgrade the line through the draft because of the instant impact rookies along the line can have, and their team-friendly contracts that come with it.
Breathe easy Lions fans, Quinn isn’t looking to blow money to make the playoffs and improve the line for one year, he’s trying to change the culture and build a consistent winner.