The Detroit Lions are hoping to keep their offensive line intact for an entire season heading into 2022.
The group didn’t play a single snap together in 2021, due to each member missing at least one game with injuries. When healthy, the unit of Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell is among the most exciting in the league.
Vaitai left Monday’s practice early with an injury. It wasn’t clear what the issue was when he departed, but Campbell provided clarity on the situation Wednesday.
“He should be good, all good,” Campbell said. “He had a little spasm, but he’s good.”
Ragnow missed most of the 2021 season after suffering a season-ending toe injury in Week 4. Meanwhile, Decker missed the first eight games of the season after undergoing finger surgery.
Behind the starters, the leaders for the backup spots are Evan Brown, Tommy Kraemer and Matt Nelson. All three played key roles in 2021 due to the influx of injuries.
D'Andre Swift has 'thick skin'
A key storyline in the second episode of "Hard Knocks" was the relationship between starting running back D’Andre Swift and his position coach Duce Staley.
The dynamic between the two was displayed multiple times. With the show peeling back the curtain on closed-door conversations, viewers learned that Staley believes his starting back can be among the best in the league.
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Swift scored a touchdown on his only series in the Lions’ preseason opener against the Falcons, but was pulled from the game earlier in the drive and was lectured by Staley on the importance of staying inside and following his blockers.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Campbell said he was confident that his third-year running back can handle tough coaching.
“I would say Swift, since we’ve walked in this door, has been great, as far as that’s concerned,” Campbell remarked. “Swift’s got thick skin, and he wants to be good, he wants to be great. He can handle any and all of the above. If we didn’t think he could, we wouldn’t do it. And, if we didn’t think he could be the player that we think he can be, then we wouldn’t be hard on him. But, he’s always been receptive, he’s always put in the work. So, he’s gonna be just fine.”
1.) The Lions’ predecessor on Hard Knocks was the Indianapolis Colts, which were the first team to be featured on the show during the regular season. Though Detroit and Indianapolis are spending Wednesday and Thursday practicing against each other, Campbell said he hadn’t reached out to Colts head coach Frank Reich about the show.
2.) Detroit trimmed its roster to 85 players earlier in the week. The team will carry that group into its Saturday matchup with the Colts, before having to trim the roster down to 80 players on Aug. 23.
3.) Campbell spoke on the importance of identifying the players who were going to make an impact leading into the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, during the final two preseason games.
“These two days that are coming up is really about getting the guys that we think we’re going into Philly with and getting them honed in, man,” Campbell said. “Getting them really good work and seeing if we can get better in those units. And, then the areas where we don’t quite have them shored up, who is gonna start at this position? Let’s figure out who’s gonna take that next leap. Who wants that spot? Linebacker position, somebody want to go take that spot? The very young guys, we’ll see at the game, and they’ve got to show up for the game, because they’re not gonna get a lot of reps these next two days.”
4.) The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed offensive lineman Ryan McCollum, who was waived by the Lions on Monday.