Woody takes new spot on Detroit line
The Detroit Lions, who have allowed a league-worst 47 sacks, have shuffled their problematic right tackle position again, moving former guard Damien Woody to the position for next Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
A nine-year veteran, Woody has not played tackle since high school. But he will become the third different starting right tackle this season for the Lions, who have now lost three straight games following a 6-2 start, and are beginning to fade in the NFC wild-card race.
In addition, the Lions re-signed 10-year veteran offensive lineman Barry Stokes, who was with Detroit in training camp but was released before the start of the season. And the Lions placed second-year tackle Jonathan Scott, who had started the past two games on the right side, on injured reserve.
Scott sustained a serious hamstring injury in the Thanksgiving loss to Green Bay. He had started the past two games at right tackle, replacing George Foster, who led the league in false start penalties in his nine starts.
Woody, 30, had been benched earlier in the season after starting three games at guard. The former Boston College star, a first-round pick of New England in 1999, signed with Detroit in 2004 and became the NFL's highest paid guard at the time. Woody has battled weight issues, but is said to be excited about the move to tackle.
In his stints with the Patriots (1999-2003) and Lions, Woody has appeared in 123 games and started 116 of them.
That the Lions' coaches would turn to Woody instead of going back to Foster, who was acquired in the offseason trade that sent cornerback Dre Bly to Denver, speaks volumes about the problems -- and desperation to find a solution -- Detroit has experienced at the position.
The much-traveled Stokes has played with seven different franchises, and started 11 games for the Lions in 2006, splitting time between right guard and right tackle. Stokes, 33, has been out of the league since the Lions released him this summer. He has played in 83 games and started 44 of them, and likely will be the backup to Woody at right tackle.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com
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