Former NFL Lineman: Penei Sewell ‘so Much Better’ at Left Tackle

Penei Sewell

Getty Penei Sewell playing up front against the 49ers in Week 1.

After a shaky preseason, Penei Sewell looked much more comfortable playing in the Detroit Lions first game of the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers.

Sewell was forced to play on the left side of the line thanks to an injury to Taylor Decker, and he hardly looked out of place or panicked in the game. Sewell drew rave reviews for his play from Nick Bosa, and folks watching the tape are coming to the conclusion the Lions could have a good problem on their hands with two elite players at one position.

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NFL Network analyst and former league offensive lineman Brian Baldinger hopped on Twitter and provided a quick analysis on what makes Sewell so good up front. Specifically, he said he believes Sewell looks more comfortable on the left side than the right side thanks to his play against Bosa and the 49ers.

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“Penei Sewell looks just so much better on the left side than he does on the right side,” Baldinger says in the clip. “He’s going agains Nick Bosa here and he had some rough moments in the game but this is Penei Sewell at his best right here. Bosa’s got a little leverage on him but he’s got his hands in the right spot, digs them out. (Jared) Goff is throwing the ball and look where Bosa’s at. He’s got him on the Lions logo right there and he stays with him. Sewell, I know they got him on the right side and I know why he’s over to the left. But that natural kick, athlete, using his strength right here, dropping the anchor. No doubt he had some rough moments, but he also had some good moments like that one.”

Whether the Lions decide to keep Sewell at left tackle or move him back to the right side when Decker returns is a matter of debate, but it’s clear the future could be bright for Sewell regardless what the Lions want to do. He’s got the fundamentals down and will only improve as he gains more experience in the league.

Dan Campbell Remains Mum on Plans for Penei Sewell

Sewell’s play was a big topic for Campbell when he met with the media on Monday, September 13. He was asked right off the bat about the play of his rookie lineman, and explained that he believes Sewell did a good job in the game given what he was asked to deal with in his first week.

“I thought he did a good job. I thought he held his own, he went over there and he fought and he held up for us. That was very encouraging to see. When you get in games like that and you kind of forget about your left tackle, that’s a good thing,” Campbell said.

Even though that was the case, the coach wasn’t ready to divulge his plan for Sewell and Decker moving forward in terms of who goes where, saying there was plenty of time for that to sort itself out.

“I would love to entertain that, but we’re so far away from that right now,” Campbell admitted. “It’s just, how do we put the best lineup out there for Green Bay right now? We’ll worry about that when Decker comes back, but right now, I know that we feel good with Sewell being at left. We asked him to move over there and he accepted the challenge, did well and we’re going to need another good performance out of him because these guys, they’ve got some good players over there as well, good rushers.”

Regardless of where Sewell plays, it’s good news the Lions and their staff like what he was able to do in the opener. That sets a positive tone for his career.

Another Former Player Proclaims Sewell ‘Left Tackle’ for Lions

Baldinger is far from the only one who believes Sewell should be playing the left side of the line in Detroit. In the opener, Lions had to move Sewell over in an emergency to left tackle, his natural position in college. According to former offensive lineman and analyst Geoff Schwartz, they may have found something with this switch. After a mere quarter played out for Sewell, Schwartz had seen enough to say that he believed the team had their new left tackle of the future in the former Oregon Duck.

What the Lions decide to do with Sewell will remain a question, because the team does have Taylor Decker entrenched on the left side, and Decker just signed an extension with Detroit last year and played well in 2020. Decker has only played the left side since being picked by Detroit in the 2016 NFL draft, so whether or nor he would move at this stage of his career remains to be seen. It is an interesting thought to remember nevertheless, though.

Some believe it’s time for the Lions to think seriously about moving their rookie back where he started.

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