For many seasons, at least the past six, many Lions fans have been harping just how bad left tackle Jeff Backus is. I have been one of the many that have pleaded Detroit Lions front office personnel to draft an elite left tackle.
One thing that has bothered me is I never knew how Backus stacked up to other left tackles in the league until I found this site by STATS Hosted Solution. There are tons of football stat sites that will give you a lot of breakdowns but none really for offensive linemen.
So I took the time to create an Excel spreadsheet, go to each team site on NFL.com and check the depth chart as to who plays left tackle for each team in the NFL. The results are a bit mind-boggling.
Rather than list all 32 left tackles, I've limited to those that have played in 100 games. Backus has played 133 games with out missing any games due to injury. That would be about the best thing you could say about him.
Team Player Years Games Sacks Allowed Avg Sacks Per Year
Lions Backus 9 133 67.25 7.47
Vikings McKinnie 8 105 51 6.38
Patriots Light 9 118 56.75 6.31
Giants Diehl 7 101 42.5 6.07
Cardinals Gandy 9 100 44.75 4.97
Cowboys Adams 12 171 56.75 4.73
Bears Pace 13 162 58.5 4.50
Redskins Samuels 10 141 44.75 4.48
Seahawks Jones 13 180 57.25 4.40
There you have it folks...in black and white, this proves that Jeff Backus is indeed the worst starting left tackle in the National Football League.
One could argue that many of his sacks came while Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator. Disputing that is Orlando Pace who played under Martz's offense longer than any left tackle had a right to...and yet, there he is allowing a mere 4.48 sacks per year.
The Detroit Lions must open there eyes to the fact that Backus just isn't cutting it. The first round of the 2010 draft, the Lions need to focus on obtaining an elite left tackle with a talent level of Joe Thomas (who we could have had three years ago), Eugene Monroe (who we could have had last year) Sam Baker (who we could have had two years ago or Ryan Clady (who we could have had last year).
Release Backus, let him catch on with another team as a backup. If we are still under a long-term contract with him, move him inside to left guard.
But for the sake of keeping our quarterback alive, get him out of the left tackle position!