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Thread: New Lions OG T.J. Lang: We can have one of best OLs in the NFL

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    Default New Lions OG T.J. Lang: We can have one of best OLs in the NFL

    New Lions OG T.J. Lang: We can have one of best OLs in the NFL

    Dave Birkett , Detroit Free PressPublished 12:49 p.m. ET March 12, 2017 | Updated 19 hours ago

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    The Detroit Lions have completely revamped their offensive line in the last 11 months, going from arguably one of the worst units in the NFL to a group that the team believes can be some something special.
    Four days after the Lions made Rick Wagner the highest-paid right tackle in the league, they completed their overhaul by agreeing to a three-year contract with T.J. Lang to play right guard.
    Lang, the former Birmingham Brother Rice and Eastern Michigan star who spent the last eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, will take the place of Larry Warford, who signed a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints earlier this week.
    Before his agent announced the deal on Twitter, Lang told the Free Press that his final decision was down to the Lions, Packers and Seattle Seahawks, and that he was trying to pick the right place to raise his young family.


    "The easy part is we narrowed down to these three teams because I really felt like all three of these teams are ready to win now and ready to compete and ready to contend for championships," Lang said. "So that’s not anything that I’m really thinking about. I really feel strong about all three of those teams.
    "Right now it’s just, I think the biggest thing is it’s not just me making a decision on where I want to go play, what team I want to play for, what city I want to live in. It’s more for my family. My son is going to be in first grade this year, my daughter’s growing up. It’s trying to narrow down every single scenario and we did a lot of homework."


    Lang, 29, is coming off the first Pro Bowl of his career, though he did not play in the game after undergoing postseason hip surgery.
    He said he won’t be ready to return until training camp, but that all three team doctors he met with gave him good reports last week.
    "That was the biggest reason why I took the visits just because teams wanted to see the hip, teams wanted to see the X-rays, the MRIs, they wanted to see how I was doing up to this point," Lang said. "And everything I got from everywhere I went, from Green Bay's doctors to Detroit’s doctors to Seattle’s doctors, everybody was really pumped about it. They’re like, 'Yep, the hip honestly from where you’re at from six weeks (out of surgery), it looks great.'
    "I think everybody knows that it’s going to be another couple months until I’m back running around on the field, so it probably won’t be until training camp. But I think being a veteran guy and being a guy that’s played a lot of football, I don’t think that scared any of them away."


    Last year, Lang missed the Packers' entire off-season program because of shoulder surgery yet still had arguably the best season of his career.
    "And that was even with a bad hip, so I just really made it clear that this is the first year probably in three or four seasons that I’ll be going into training camp feeling really, really good and I’m really excited about that because I’ve always had something," Lang said. "This year, I got the shoulder fixed, I got the hip fixed, we’re going to be going full throttle and I really think that teams believe me on that and really it wasn’t much of a factor, as big of a factor as I thought it was going to be."
    With Lang and Wagner in the fold, the Lions could have four new starters on their offensive line this fall from the team that general manager Bob Quinn inherited after the 2015 season.
    Taylor Decker, last year’s first-round pick, returns for his second season at left tackle, and Graham Glasgow, a 2016 third-rounder, is the favorite to start at left guard after replacing Laken Tomlinson midway through last year.
    Center Travis Swanson, entering the final year of his rookie contract, is the only holdover from the 2015 season, though he finished that year on injured reserve because of shoulder surgery.
    The Lions’ starting offensive line for the final game of the 2015 season was Riley Reiff at left tackle, Tomlinson at left guard, Manny Ramirez at center, Warford at right guard and Michael Ola at right tackle.
    Reiff signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent after playing right tackle for the Lions last year, Ramirez retired after last season and Ola is currently a backup with the Buffalo Bills.
    Lang said in a conference call with Detroit reporters after he signed that he had dinner with Wagner on Thursday night during his free-agent visit and talked to most of the rest of the linemen Sunday.
    "I let them all know that I’m excited to work with everybody here," Lang said. "I’m excited to learn from you guys, I’m excited to answer any questions you have about my experiences and just the last thing I relayed to them all was I really feel like we can form one of the best units in the league with all the talent we have."


    Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

  2. #2

    Default Re: New Lions OG T.J. Lang: We can have one of best OLs in the NFL

    This is how I see the offensive line for 2017:

    Starters:

    LT Taylor Decker - age 23
    LG Graham Glasgow - age 24
    C Travis Swanson - age 26
    RG T.G. Lang - age 29
    RT Rick Wagner - age 27

    Reserve offensive lineman:

    Joe Dahl -age 23
    Laken Tomlinson - age 25
    Corey Robinson - age 24

    Barring any injuries, the offensive line should be all set for 5 years or more.

  3. #3

    Default Re: New Lions OG T.J. Lang: We can have one of best OLs in the NFL

    T.J. Lang was 99.9 percent sure he'd sign with Seattle, until Detroit countered



    Former Packers guard T.J. Lang, shown at right with Aaron Rodgers, says he'll spill some of Green Bay's secrets to Detroit. (AP File Photo)

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    By Kyle Meinke | kmeinke@mlive.com
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    on March 13, 2017 at 5:38 PM, updated March 13, 2017 at 5:48 PM






    ALLEN PARK -- When T.J. Lang boarded his plane home from a free-agent visit with Seattle, he thought that was it. He was going to be a Seahawk.
    "At the time, Seattle actually had the best offer," he said Monday while in studio with 97.1 FM, "and I didn't know Detroit was coming back with the counteroffer."
    Oh, Bob Quinn came back all right.
    The second-year Lions GM raised the Seahawks a three-year, $28.5 million deal that included a reported $19 million in guarantees. At $9.5 million annually, it would make Lang the fourth-highest paid right guard overall.

    In other words, Quinn gave Lang an offer he couldn't refuse.
    "When I left Seattle, I was about 99.9 percent sure I was flying back there to sign a contract," Lang said in the interview. "And Detroit stepped up, and things changed pretty quick."
    Lang agreed to join the Lions the next day, and that was that. The former Brother Rice product and Eastern Michigan star was headed home, and the Lions had yet another elite player for the right side of their offensive line.
    They also signed Rick Wagner, the year's top free-agent right tackle.
    Lang's addition is doubly significant because it also hurts the division rival Packers. And Lang made it clear in the interview he'll do everything he can to hurt Green Bay -- even spilling some of their offensive secrets to Detroit.
    "Probably most of it, yeah," Lang said.
    He later lauded Aaron Rodgers for what he sees and calls pre-snap at the line of scrimmage, and intends to share those tricks with Matthew Stafford.
    "That was one of Aaron's strengths, being able to deceive the defense a little," Lang said. "I haven't watched enough of Detroit's offense to know (about Stafford), but maybe those are some ideas I can come in and share with those guys. Matthew is obviously a veteran, and a smart guy at the position, so definitely something we can add a little bit, mess around with, toy with."
    Here are some other highlights from the wide-ranging interview with 97.1 FM:
    On Quinn: "Just a great football mind, is (the impression) I got. We sat and we talked football for a couple hours Thursday night, when I went over to visit, and he just seemed like a down-to-earth guy. And you could see the vision that he has for this football team and the organization, and it's something obviously -- growing up here in the area -- people haven't seen in a long time. And he's getting things done. I'm a big believer in you build your team through the offensive and defensive lines, and he's a guy, he doesn't mess around with that -- obviously, with what he's done here in the last couple days."
    On fellow free-agent pick up Rick Wagner: "Everything that I've found out about Ricky so far is he's a credible guy, and he's a pretty young guy still, and he's coming off of a pretty good couple of years here. So it's going to be a lot of fun playing next to him."
    On Jim Caldwell: "I've actually talked to a lot of guys who have played here in the last couple of years. Jason Jones, one of my best friends dating back to our Eastern Michigan years, played here a couple years in Detroit. Had some good conversations with him. Had some good conversations with a buddy, Geoff Schwartz, who was here last offseason, and ended up getting released at the end of training camp. Both of those guys had such tremendous things to say about him. And that was really something. ... Neither of those guys had nothing to say negative about anything, as far as Detroit's coaching staff and coach Caldwell. He's just a guy who loves football, man. I'm excited to play for him. I met him Thursday night, I talked to him a little bit yesterday, and he's just so (eager) to get a championship team on that football field, and just get this thing rolling."
    On whether Ndamukong Suh being gone was a factor in the decision:"Probably, yeah. I didn't think about it, but yeah. We didn't get along too much."
    On Matthew Stafford: "You guys might laugh at me, but I was really looking forward to playing with another, what I call, elite quarterback in Matt Stafford. I mean, I've watched the guy play. We came in together -- same draft class -- and obviously had his growing pains, a lot of ups and downs, but I didn't want to go to a team with no quarterback or a bad quarterback. That's just a set up for failure there. So obviously Matthew had a lot to do with my coming here."
    On how long it takes for a new line to gel: "Probably a couple games. But with Ricky and I, and the salary we're going to get, we're not going to have that. People are going to expect us to come in and play at a high level from Day 1. So I think that we're really going to have to work hard at that."
    On Taylor Decker: "He's a future Pro Bowler. I've watched a lot of film on that guy -- he's a stud."
    On what it's like facing the team he grew up rooting for: "It was really weird the first year. After that, you kind of forget about it. I just had to keep reminding myself, back in 2009, the Lions passed on me about five times in the draft. And if they don't want me, why would I feel sorry competing against them and trying to beat them?"
    On the possibility of drafting Joe Mixon: "It's really tough because when it comes to that whole thing -- to hitting a woman -- it's really tough to get past that when it's out there."
    On the toughest player he's faced: "Ever? Justin Smith (49ers). That dude was a beast, man."
    On which current Lions player was the hardest to block: "Haloti (Ngata) was always a pain, man. I had good headache and neck pain for like four days after playing him."
    On what he listens to pregame: "I'm into the shuffle button, man. A little country, a little rap, a little '80s rock."
    On living in Green Bay: "There's not a lot to do there besides drink beer and eat cheese and brats, and watch football."
    On beer: "I'm an Oberon guy."


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