Can Backus have a resurgence? Who knows?

Monday, June 29, 2009

From MLive's Tom Kowalski's summer scouting reports... Killer describes LOT Jeff Backus as a player who's "had his confidence shaken and who has given up an average of 10 sacks per season for the last three years."

(Now that you quantify it like that ... yuck!)

Killer makes a decent case for how an offseason contract squabble, Mike Martz's system and the pressure it puts on pass blockers, and a rib injury all worked against Backus in recent years.

The new staff isn't giving up on Backus yet because they want to see how he does when he's firing off the ball as much as he is dropping back in pass protection. The theory is that an offensive line has to dictate the action because defensive linemen are far less effective when they're worn down by the running game and also don't know when a run or pass is coming. When a team is either pass-happy, doesn't have a running threat or constantly behind, the linemen can tee off and play the run on the way to the quarterback.

That's why new head coach Jim Schwartz is adamant that the Lions will run the ball and, even if they're not effective early, they're not going to abandon it. Left tackle is the most important position on the line and, based on his performance this season, Backus will either prove to be a solid starter again or he'll be one of the players who could see a change of scenery next year.

I hate to be the one who reminds you, but we heard about the commitment to the run from Rod Marinelli after Martz was ousted, too. And it -- and Backus -- didn't work out so great.

Still, Jeff has to know what's on the line this year. I've got to believe he'll come in in the best shape he's been in, physically and mentally, in years, and really go after keeping his job. If it still doesn't work out, at least the Lions' line depth is better than it's been.

Talk about it in The Den!