Penei Sewell setting the tone for the Detroit Lions offensive line

Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell stretches during minicamp in Allen Park on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell stretches during minicamp in Allen Park on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. /

Heading into his second NFL season, Penei Sewell is setting an aggressive tone for the Lions offensive line.

By all accounts, Penei Sewell was the top star of Detroit Lions training camp during the first day with pads on Monday. From reps against rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to laying out cornerback Jeff Okudah while blocking on a short passing play, the second-year offensive tackle has clearly taken it upon himself to set the tone during training camp.

In a broad sense, Sewell had a pretty good rookie season. He earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Rookie Team and in PFF’s top-101 players for 2021, with the sixth-best grade among rigth tackles (81.9). He did not allow a sack in his last 11 games.

But Sewell gave himself a harsh assessment after last season, as he pushes to be among the best offensive tackles in the league. And he won’t turn 22 until October.

Via the team website, Sewell talked about how things are different for him than they were a year ago.

"It feels a lot different,” Sewell said of the start of his second camp with the Lions. “More comfortable out there. I know the system. I know V (right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai), Jonah (Jackson), Deck (Taylor Decker) and Frank (Ragnow), so that chemistry, too, just makes my job way easer out there.“I know what to expect. The speed is way slower. Everything is not coming at me 1,000 miles per hour.”"

Penei Sewell taking it upon himself to set the tone

Lions left tackle Taylor Decker didn’t see Sewell’s big block on Okudah, but he heard “roars” and “the guys getting excited.”

"You hear the competition, that’s what we need around here,” said Decker."

Center Frank Ragnow added his own praise for Sewell.

"He’s a pro, man,” said center Frank Ragnow. “He was a pro when he first got here, but he’s leaning out, he’s gained more muscle mass, he’s smart. I’m very excited for him. What is he, 21? Very mature 21-year-old.”"

The Lions are often a punch line, and they have often too easily been pushed around physically and metaphorically. Dan Campbell wants to set a new, different tone. Sewell’s start to camp shows he’s taking a lead role as a tone-setter for his linemates, and the entire team.

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