Lions rookie Larry Warford savors pro debut

Larry Warford had a pretty good idea he would make his first NFL start well before last weekend’s opener.

The third-round pick said he had all of the right guard reps with the first team the week leading up to the game, but Warford didn’t let the thrill of making his debut change his approach.

“I stayed consistent throughout the whole deal,” Warford said after the 34-24 victory over the Vikings. “You can’t just turn it on because you received some good news.”

Warford and the rest of the offensive line had a great start, allowing one sack and helping running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell account for 283 yards.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our offensive line,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Handing the ball off and watching Reggie and Joique and all those guys run the ball was great, but it was fun to look out and see all the air that was in there.

“Our offensive line was moving them better than they have since I’ve been here, and our running backs took advantage of it. And then in the passing game, they did a great job of keeping me clean, too.”

Warford was one of three new starters along the line, with Riley Reiff taking over at left tackle and Jason Fox at right tackle. Fox left the game with a groin injury in the first quarter.

“I thought they run-blocked well,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday. “And they obviously gave us enough time and kept the quarterback clean enough to be able to make plays down the field.”

Warford said he worked well his fellow linemen, and besides a couple miscues — a false start in the second quarter among them — he thought he played well.

The analysts at Pro Football Focus agree. They said Warford was tied for the third best guard in the NFL with his run blocking boosting his rating.

Warford said he enjoyed watching Bush and Bell torch the Vikings defense.

“It just makes you want to keep blocking and put more effort into extending the play and staying on blocks,” he said. “Those guys can make plays, so you want to give them as much of an opportunity as you can.”


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