Dan Skipper became easy poster boy for Lions culture in win over Commanders

Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images /

After Sunday’s win over the Commanders, Dan Skipper became an easy poster boy for the culture Dan Campbell is fostering in Detroit.

Down all three interior offensive line starters Sunday against the Washington Commanders, albeit buoyed  by two 50-plus yard runs, the Detroit Lions ran for 191 yards. With 2021 Pro Bowler Jonah Jackson (finger) inactive, Dan Skipper stepped in at left guard.

Skipper was cut late in the preseason by the Lions, as captured on “Hard Knocks”. Being cut is not new for him, having had it happen to him six years in a row, but it was a hard moment to watch as Skipper teared up.

Skipper was eventually brought back on the Lions’ practice squad. As injuries hit the interior line–Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Frank Ragnow, Jackson, Tommy Kraemer–the Lions got to a point where they simply needed another healthy body for the offensive line active for Sunday’s game.

Skipper had never started an NFL game before Sunday. He hadn’t played guard in a meaningful game since his freshman year of college, and at 6-foot-9 tackle is an easy natural position for him.

Dan Skipper became easy and instant poster boy for Lions culture

Skipper had very few, if any, hiccups at left guard on Sunday. On D’Andre Swift’s long run, he got to the second level of Washington’s defense to clear the way.

A left guard is not usually postgame podium material. But Lions head coach Dan Campbell sent Skipper out to speak, after highlighting him in the locker room.

Via MLive and Pride of Detroit, Skipper talked about his long road to Sunday’s opportunity.

"Hey man, I mean, it’s my sixth year in the league,” Skipper told MLive after the game. “I’ve never made a team. It’s tough. You go in, and you’re never quite good enough. You’re not quite enough. You show up every day, and you think you’re doing the right things, and just for whatever reason, it just doesn’t quite work out.It’s been such a long road,” Skipper said. “Six teams, and like I said, I’ve been cut all over. Just having my wife and kids here and everything else, it just really comes full circle. It’s hard to explain. I don’t know. It’s kind of the first—it kind of makes everything all worth it. All the chaos and the trials."

Campbell is trying to create a culture fueled by players who believe in and trust each other, with a “next man up” mentality when inevitable injury adversity hits. With teammates chanting “Skip!” in the postgame locker room, and how well he answered the challenge against the Commanders on Sunday, Skipper became an instant and easy new poster boy for that culture.

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