Lions still waiting for backup offensive lineman or two to separate from the pack

Detroit News

Allen Park — Finding quality offensive line depth is a struggle in the NFL.

That’s always been the case, but more so since the league and its union agreed to reduced practice time several years ago, limiting how much time players can spend in pads during the offseason and contributing to the stagnation of development for the game’s more physically demanding positions.

On paper, the Lions have pieced together one of the league’s most formidable starting offensive lines. But best-laid plans have been scrapped due to injuries the past two years, with the projected starting five never sharing the field for a single regular-season snap.

To address some of those concerns, the team re-added veteran Graham Glasgow to the mix. He’s locked in a battle with Halapoulivaati Vaitai for the starting right guard job. Worse case, Glasgow provides high-level insurance at both guard spots, as well as center.

But teams often carry between eight and 10 linemen, so there are still some jobs to be won through the remainder of training camp and the preseason. Asked if anyone from that remaining group has stuck out during camp, Lions coach Dan Campbell didn’t hesitate to offer an honest assessment.

“We were just talking about this last night, and I think right now that honestly, no,” Campbell said. “Not negatively, not positively. You want somebody to separate themselves. That’s what we’re looking for is that next wave. There’s a group of guys that, let’s go, somebody go take a job here, somebody separate themselves from the other group.

“So there’s a lot of jockeying. I think they’re competing back there. And we’ve seen some good things out of all of them. … You’re wanting to see somebody separate themselves.”

Among the contenders from that group, the Lions return young veterans Matt Nelson, Kayode Awosika and Logan Stenberg. Added to the mix was 83-game starter Germain Ifedi and fifth-rounder Colby Sorsdal.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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