DETROIT -- Edwin Mulitalo is well aware the NFL's final preseason games are regarded as meaningless.
Entering his ninth season in the league and first with the Detroit Lions, Mulitalo just doesn't agree with the popular notion.
To the guard, much is at stake Thursday night when Detroit hosts the Buffalo Bills in the last exhibition for both teams.
"It's important for us because we're still piecing guys together on the offensive line," Mulitalo insisted. "The offensive line is a unique position group because we have to be cohesive to play well. That only happens by playing together in games because you can't simulate everything in practice.
"Have we jelled yet? I'm not sure. But have we come a long ways? Yes."
The Lions need their reshaped offensive line to improve because last year quarterback Jon Kitna was sacked an NFL-high 63 times and they averaged a league-low 71 yards rushing per game.
Detroit can't expect Kitna to take every snap, as he did last season, if he gets hit that many times or to win consistently if the running game stays grounded.
Mulitalo, who started 102 games for Baltimore from 1999-2006, was signed as a free agent. Tackle George Foster was acquired in a trade, along with running back Tatum Bell from Denver for cornerback Dre' Bly, after starting all but three games the past three seasons for the Broncos.