Lions center Swanson shrugs off fine performance

Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
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Theo Riddick and Travis Swanson celebrate after a touchdown on Sunday.

Allen Park – Travis Swanson isn’t about to pat himself on the back, but the Lions center had one of his finest professional performances in the team’s season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

You just might have missed it, because unless you’re focused on the trenches, it’s difficult to judge an individual offensive lineman’s performance in the moment. But generally speaking, if no one is talking about you during the game, you’re probably playing pretty well.

The Lions gave up just one sack against the Colts, and it wasn’t Swanson who was beat on that play. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, the third-year man out of Arkansas didn’t give up a single pass-rush pressure all game, earning him the highest-graded performance among offensive performers.

Remember, this is the same publication that ranked Swanson 34th among 40 qualifying centers for the 2015 season.

Swanson response: none of that analysis matters.

“I know people like to do that, but to us, the only thing that really matters is what the people in this building think,” Swanson said.

Stafford's fiery demeanor a favorable sight

What does matter is the Lions racked up 450 yards of offense, including 116 on the ground. The offensive line largely kept quarterback Matthew Stafford’s pocket clean, while opening respectable holes for the running backs. Those are two areas where the unit consistently struggled last year.

But instead of success, Swanson saw room for improvement.

“It can be a lot better,” he said. “It needs to be a lot better. From what we saw as a group, there’s a lot of little things, technique things that can be cleaned up.”

Still, Swanson can admit, the line is at least trending in a positive direction.

“It’s definitely something to build on,” he said. “Hopefully you have stuff like that every week to build on because you’re obviously doing a good job.”

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