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August 18, 2016: Detroit Lions guard Geoff Schwartz (74) during game action between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Detroit Lions during a preseason game played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)
Detroit Lions

Schwartz cut: Lions prove they’re ready to go with youth on OL

Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
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The Detroit Lions have cut guard Geoff Schwartz, a bit of a surprising move considering that he is a solid veteran, a 30-year-old anchor on the interior of the offensive line and a guy who was just signed by the team this offseason.

It’s even more surprising when you consider that while Schwartz has a history of injuries, he is healthy.

But if you’re a Lions fan, this is a good sign that Detroit like where they are at with the depth of their offensive line. Schwartz was listed on the Lions’ web site as the backup at right guard behind Larry Warford, but he did not play in Saturday’s preseason game against Baltimore and according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, was simply caught in a numbers game.

“Larry Warford and Laken Tomlinson are expected to start at guard this year, the team drafted backup Joe Dahl and two other linemen in April, and on Sunday, the Lions traded extra receiver Jeremy Kerley to the San Francisco 49ers for guard Brandon Thomas,” Birkett wrote.

“Typically, teams keep nine linemen on their 53-man rosters, with two interior backups and two backups who can play tackle.”

Given this, Schwartz’s presence became unnecessary after the acquisition of Thomas, though this offensive line will be very young. Warford, in his fourth season, will be the most experienced key lineman, and the team plans to start a rookie, Taylor Decker, at left tackle.

But this just shows that Lions general manager Bob Quinn is comfortable with his young players and feels good about moving forward aggressively in his effort to build up a Lions team that went a disappointing 7-9 last season. Quinn is showing that he is not afraid to move forward quickly from his own recent signings. Dropping Schwartz is only one example of that temperament, as he also cut another of his recent free agent signees — running back Stevan Ridley – just last week.

One outlet reported that the Lions tried to trade Schwartz – unsuccessfully – before cutting him loose in order to help him catch on with another team. That seems likely to happen and happen soon. Schwartz started 11 games for the New York Giants last season before his season was ended by a broken leg.

But by all accounts, he was healthy this summer and probably won’t have to wait too long to find a new team. His experience, as well as his ability to play both guard and tackle, will make him a good target for any team seeking some line depth.

As for the Lions, they seem content to go ahead with a young but promising group to protect quarterback Matt Stafford and open holes for Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.

The young additions had better come up big and stay healthy, because if they don’t, Quinn has shown he won’t hesitate to cut bait and try something new if he has to. That seems to be where his thinking is at as he tries to bring the Lions back to contention.

Schwartz cut: Lions prove they’re ready to go with youth on OL

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