With Taylor Decker on his way back, Lions head coach Dan Campbell is confident Penei Sewell will be just fine moving to right tackle.
When the Detroit Lions drafted Penei Sewell seventh overall last April, the plan was to have him play right tackle with Taylor Decker staying put at left tackle. That plan changed when Decker suffered a finger injury before Week 1 and needed surgery. He has yet to play this season, and Sewell has been the Lions’ left tackle.
All along, Decker was going to get his post back whenever he was ready to play. He is on the 53-man roster after being activated last week, and he may make his season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. If not then, then Decker will surely play Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns.
Dan Campbell confident Penei Sewell will handle move to right tackle
Other than a couple bad games, Sewell has been pretty good at left tackle for the Lions–as expected since he played that position at a high level in college. Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, head coach Dan Campbell has no qualms about Sewell going back to right tackle, where he worked all summer until Decker was injured on the precipice of Week 1.
"Now look, it’s different playing tackle but I know plenty of people that played left hand and right-handed stance. I mean, tight ends do it for years. Now, they’re not tackles, I get it, but at the same token, you get comfortable with it when you do it. And I think he’ll go over there and won’t miss a beat, me personally. It’ll be a little odd, but I also know he’s got enough reps over there — and look he’s a damn good athlete, and he’s a professional man. He wants to win. He wants to win his reps, so I think he’ll go over there and do just fine.”"
Moving Sewell off left tackle does not feel like a good idea, even if it means Decker has to move to right tackle. Sewell’s professionalism to make the move and skill to handle the move from a physical standpoint are not in question. But he is the future at left tackle for the Lions, whenever that day comes. Decker may have been traded at the deadline if he’d been healthy, and that idea will surely be revisited in the offseason.
Decker’s progress through the upcoming practice week will dictate if he plays against the Steelers. His return can’t come too soon, with a Pittsburgh pass rush led by T.J. Watt (11.5 sacks) on the horizon this week for Detroit. Then the Browns and NFL sack leader Myles Garrett (12 sacks) are on the slate in Week 11. But rigidly sticking to a preseason plan at offensive tackle, while possibly setting back a future stud, feels like a plan a first-year head coach would rigidly stick to.