ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have had one of the NFL's best offenses this season, ranking among the league leaders in scoring and yards.
A new-look offensive line has a lot to do with that.
With three new starters, the Lions' revamped line is giving Matthew Stafford more time to throw and Reggie Bush more room to run. Entering the season, the unit was regarded as a weakness by people outside of the franchise. Through four games, it has been an asset.
"For four weeks, I guess we proved everybody wrong," guard Rob Sims said Wednesday. "We still got a long way to go. We knew what we had. We know what it looked like on paper. I understand why everybody felt the way that they felt because we weren't big-name guys."
The Lions lost last year's left tackle, Jeff Backus, to retirement. Detroit didn't re-sign right tackle Gosder Cherilus, who now starts for the Indianapolis Colts, and released right guard Stephen Peterman, who was cut by the New York Jets in August.
Detroit drafted Riley Reiff in the first round last year and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was confident the team would have a quality player at the key position to protect Stafford's blind side.
"Every single day of last year, nonstop going against Riley Reiff, you knew he was ready to step in at left tackle," Suh said.
While Reiff had his job locked up well before Week 1, the Lions gave several players a shot to start at right guard and right tackle. Rookie Larry Warford, a third-round pick from Kentucky, won the job at right guard.
"Larry is going to have some ups and downs and growing pains that all players are going to have, being that young," Sims said. "But he's doing a great job of handling the ups and lows. He's pretty even-keeled."
Jason Fox beat out Corey Hilliard to start at right tackle for the opener. Fox, though, had a groin injury in his first career start against the Minnesota Vikings and Hilliard replaced him.