Lions not worried about new OL Kevin Zeitler learning the offense despite missing time already

USA Today

The Detroit Lions have a new starting right guard for 2024 in Kevin Zeitler. The veteran signed as a free agent this offseason after three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

However, Zeitler still hasn’t been available to practice for Detroit at any of the sessions open to the media. The 34-year-old is still dealing with knee and ankle injuries that ended his 2023 Ravens season early. Zeitler was at minicamp but didn’t participate in any on-field team drills.

Offensive line coach Hank Fraley brushed off any concerns about Zeitler not being ready to roll in Detroit.

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“He’s got a lot of experience,” Fraley said recently. “He’s doing new things, a little bit of new technique maybe he hasn’t been asked in a while to do. Offensively, we do a lot here, a lot of variety, and it’s been fun for him. Some of it can be challenging for him, which is good, to keep you engaged. So it’s been good for the room, and these guys get along, they gel and he’s been professional. I think that’s what guys get to see.”

The experience is readily evident. Zeitler has played at least 1,000 snaps in eight of the last nine seasons, including last year. He’s done that with four different teams (Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York Giants, Baltimore) in a variety of different offenses. With PFF scores consistently in the upper 70s overall, he’s handled the variety with aplomb repeatedly.

Fraley expects Zeitler back for training camp in July, and he expects him to be ready.

“We’ll really get it when training camp comes up front,” Fraley stated. “When the pads go on. We like to joke around, this is like being in underwear for us up front. D-line and O-line, it’s tough. That’s where we’re going to join, get it.”

Zeitler’s arrival pushes Graham Glasgow, last year’s right guard for most of the season, to the left guard spot. Glasgow took a lot of reps at his new spot in the spring. Free agent Netane Muti, Kayode Awosika and sixth-round rookie Christian Mahogany got the vast majority of the right guard reps in the sessions open to the media in OTAs and minicamp.

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