Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 10/2/13
ALLEN PARK, Mich. One of the biggest questions about the Detroit Lions entering this season was the offensive line. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush werent going to do enough damage if the O-line couldnt protect the passer and open up running lanes. Those concerns dont seem quite as strong now with the Lions tied for first place in the NFC North with a 3-1 record, especially coming off Sundays 40-32 victory over Chicago in which Stafford passed for 242 yards and Bush rushed for 139. For four weeks, I guess we proved everybody wrong, left guard Rob Sims said. Weve still got a long way to go. I understand why everybody felt the way they felt. We werent big-name guys. We dont get paid very much. But weve got a good group. Were going to keep a good group for a long time here, hopefully. Bush, who has 254 rushing yards and 179 receiving yards in three games, is greatly appreciate of the blocking hes been getting. This last game, there were a few runs where I didnt get touched until I got to the secondary, Bush said. "We talk about controlling the line of scrimmage. Those guys have done that all year. The Lions running game still ranks only 21st in the NFL (95.8 yards per game), but they have becomeconsiderably more balanced in their play-calling. Nevertheless, the one statistic that stands out is Detroit leads the league in fewest sacks allowed with only three in four games. A year ago, Stafford was sacked 29 times in 16 games. Other than Sims continuing to provide his steady influence, the Lions have a considerably different look up front. Riley Reiff, a first-round pick in 2012 out of Iowa, is protecting Staffords blind side at left tackle in place of retired Jeff Backus. Larry Warford, a third-round pick this year from Kentucky, has made an impressive transition in his rookie season while replacing Stephen Peterman (released) at right guard. Corey Hilliard, who started onlyfive games in his first six years, lost out in a competition with Jason Fox for a starting job during training camp. But Foxwas injured in the opening game and Hilliard didnt miss a beat taking over for himat right tackle, a position held last year by Gosder Cherilus (wasnt re-signed). And then there's center Dominic Raiola. He'san old veteran inhis 13th season, butRaiola added about 15 pounds during the off-season when his job appeared to be on the line. He looks stronger and better. Me and Dom told the young guys, theres going to be some struggles, we know that, Sims said. But I knew we were going to be all right. I had been in the room with Riley, Corey and Jason. I knew what they were very capable of. I knew what me and Dom were capable of. Basically, we were looking for a right guard. Larry stepped up and played well. If he didnt, we had other guys that I was confident in. I knew on paper we didnt look good, but I also knew on the field, which is all that matters, it was going to be good. So far, so good. EXTRA POINT Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who faces the Lions Sunday in Green Bay, got to know each other during the off-season at a Nike-sponsored event. I dont think Ill ever be able to have a friend as a quarterback, especially one I see twice a year, Suh said. Asked to respond to Suhs comment, Rodgers said on a conference call, I think he needs to expand his mind a little bit. Kind of branch out. Does that mean hes not buddies with Matt (Stafford) or Shaun (Hill) or Kellen (Moore)? Reminded that Suh was only joking, Rodgers added: Im being sarcastic.
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