Backus Looks to Mash Heads

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Justin Vanfulpen -

SAGINAW - When it comes down to it, there isn’t much glory being an offensive linemen. The only time anyone talks about you is when the official calls your number for a holding call or a false start. The TV announcers only talk about you when you have missed a block and let your quarterback get killed by a 300-pound defensive lineman.

The Lions offensive line has had some troubles blocking both in individual drills and in some 7-on-7 work outs, but head coach Marty Mornhinweg said it is to be expected.

"We have a lot of plays in already. We put a lot in these first 8-10 days. We put eight plays a night in, a few more protections every night,” said Mornhinweg.

"Every afternoon, you will see our offensive line look better It's the same in the pass game. We will chase perfection. Some of what you see at this point is expected,” commented Mornhinweg.

One offensive lineman that has had some trouble has been first round draft choice out of Michigan, Jeff Backus, which is to be expected since he is a rookie.

“I feel like a rookie,” said Backus. “But I think that the mini-camps really gave me a good foundation for training camp, the play book is not brand new cause we learned it during mini-camp.”

Since the NFL is so much different the college game, you must be strong mentally as well as physically, and you need to get the mental part of the game down so that you can physically play in this league.

“Right know it’s mental you want to get the plays down, gain some confidence in knowing what your assignment is and then you can go out there and mash heads,” Backus said.

It has been a while since Backus has had the pads on, and been able to -- as he calls it -- "mash heads."

“It’s been a long time since January, I’m use to having spring ball in March, it feels good to get going full speed, seeing all the plays happing in full go,” said Backus.

Backus has all the physical tools and the mental ability to play in the NFL and to perform at a high level, but just like every rookie that comes in the league, it just takes time to adjust to the speed of the game. For some, it takes longer than others but everyone has something that they think they can improve on -- and Backus is no different.

“I think I need to improve on when I have a defensive end bull rushing me being able to just sit down and stop them and not give up so much ground,” Backus said. “ I would like to improve my run blocking being able to get more pop, getting the defense linemen up field.”

The Detroit Lions offensive line needs to gel and rookie Jeff Backus is a cornerstone of it. In training camp, he has had his ups and downs, but there have been more ups than downs. Once he gets comfortable and gets a few weeks in pads, and a few pre-season games under his belt, he should be a very good one.

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