One of the bigger stories about the Detroit Lions’ return to the field in Week 10 was the position switch of rookie tackle Penei Sewell.
After starting the season on the left side thanks to Taylor Decker’s hand injury, Sewell was switched back to the right side where he started in training camp and the preseason. Given his solid work on the left side which was his natural position, many wondered if Sewell would make the shift back to the right side as effortlessly.
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That question was asked and answered with his performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sewell played at right tackle and didn’t surrender a single sack or pressure in 29 attempts as Pro Football Focus College pointed out after the game.
That was an impressive showing for Sewell, considering the last time he played the Steelers in the preseason, it was a baptism by fire for the rookie lineman. As a whole, Detroit’s offensive line had a great afternoon in Pittsburgh, helping the team rush for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns. As Sewell told the media on November 14 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, it wasn’t a surprise to see the team dominate as much as they did.
“We knew coming in what the game plan was, we knew what the weather was going to be like. What you saw was what we expected and just grind it out from there,” Sewell explained. “A play at a time, get as much yardage as possible and just focus on that play.”
Many may not have expected the Lions or Sewell to look that good right off the bat, but the rookie and the team re-established themselves with this performance in a big way.
Sewell Credits Training Camp Work for Comfortability
Why was Sewell able to look good playing on the right side so quickly? As he explained after the game, he credited his work during training camp getting acclimated and even playing left tackle through the first half of the season for the performance.
“It felt real comfortable, It was really a testament to all that work that happened in training camp when I was getting comfortable to the position, and actually, playing left tackle. I don’t know how that happened. But I was real comfortable out there,” Sewell told the media.
Sewell also believed that gaining experience as a whole in NFL games played a role in him looking better on the field.
“Definitely having those first eight games under my belt helped tremendously,” he said. “Now I know the speed of the game, and everything that comes along with an NFL game. So, those eight games helped me to become comfortable just like I was tonight.”
Comfort was evident, and with game one out of the way at right tackle, Sewell can continue to ease back in for the team.
Sewell Not Sweating Play Calling Changes
Another big talking point from the games was Dan Campbell’s transition to having a more active role within the offense. The results may be mixed from that specifically, but one thing that cannot be denied was how much of a bruising game it was for the offense given all the rushing yards and heavy packages. Sewell admitted to liking that approach.
“I know as an offensive lineman I love a game plan that is going forward more than backward, so whatever he calls, we’re going to do it to the best of our abilities and go from there,” he explained of Campbell’s game plan.
No matter who is calling the plays or where Sewell lines up, it’s good to see him getting comfortable and continuing to show some domination. That is great news for Detroit’s top draft pick amid the tough adjustment to his rookie season on the field.
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