Dan Campbell on Penei Sewell Missing Minicamp: 'No Setback'

Dan Campbell explains why Penei Sewell missing rookie minicamp will not hurt his development.

When the Detroit Lions began rookie minicamp, they did so without their first 2021 draft pick.

Penei Sewell tested positive for the coronavirus, sidelining him for the entirety of minicamp. Sewell, whom the Lions picked No. 7 overall, missed out on the first opportunity to acclimate himself with the organization in person.

However, Lions head coach Dan Campbell is not worried about the positive test creating a setback for the rookie’s development.

“No setback,” Campbell said. “That’s not going to hurt, whatsoever. He’ll be here. We’ll get him in, probably early next week. And, he’s been in the Zoom meetings. So, schematically, he’s on it.”

Sewell projects as the Lions' right tackle of the future. Campbell said that there is little worry about his ability to adjust, even though he missed rookie minicamp.

“He’ll be fine,” Campbell said. “He’ll adjust quickly. It’s not going to be any setback whatsoever.”


Schedule release

The NFL released its schedule for the upcoming season on May 12. The 2021 season will be the longest in NFL history, with each team set to play 17 games for the first time ever.

According to CBS Sports, the Lions are tied for the sixth-toughest schedule. This does not phase Campbell, however.

“Yeah, there’s some difficult things that come up, difficult teams,” Campbell said. “But, you guys know as well as I do, you’ll have an idea about the ones that are going to be good year in and year out. But, man, there’s a number of teams that, it looks rough now, but they may not be the team they were.”

In addition to its traditional NFC North opponents, Detroit will have to run the gauntlet of two of the tougher divisions in football: the AFC North and NFC West.

Big games include a road trip to Los Angeles to take on former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and a home tilt with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Lions open the season at home against San Francisco.

“It’s no secret. San Fran is not going to be some breeze, (and) neither is Baltimore,” Campbell said. “And then, we’re going on the road for our divisional opponents, (like) Green Bay. It’s also pretty freaking exciting. It’s like, you know what, you weather the storm early, and man, you’re feeling pretty good.”

Non-traditional minicamp

Prior to allowing members of the media to watch minicamp for the first time, Campbell warned that it would not look like a traditional rookie minicamp.

Detroit, along with the rest of the NFL, was only allowed to bring in five tryout players. Because of this, Campbell said the organization had to evaluate based on need, rather than plucking players at every position.

“Normally, you’re allowed to have really as many tryout players as you want,” Campbell said. “You can invite these tryout rookies, and so now you can call it three-deep, you’ve got your three teams.”

Among the positions Campbell and company elected not to add was quarterback. His reasoning behind not adding a quarterback was an expression of confidence in the three options Detroit has: Jared Goff, Tim Boyle and David Blough.

Because there’s no quarterback, a trio of coaches have taken the reins of the offense in practice. Quarterbacks coach Mark Brunnell, wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle-El and offensive quality control coach Tanner Engstrand have all taken snaps in practice.

“We’ve got some coaches on this staff that actually can throw a little bit,” Campbell said. “We’ve used their arms somewhat. I’ll say this, there’s been a lot of icing after practice, there’s been a lot of heat pre-practice.” 

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