On Tuesday, the Detroit Lions will ramp up practice at training camp by putting on the pads. With pads come contact, and with contact comes intensity. There will be pancakes. There will be (soft) tackling. There will be physicality that we’ve been promised under the Dan Campbell era, but we’ve yet to actually see.
Perhaps most excitingly, the donning of the pads also represents our first true opportunity to asses the Lions’ reworked trenches. The offensive line added what could be the final piece of the puzzle, while the defensive line was nearly completely overhauled. Training camp battles between the lines are often the most entertaining on the field, and Tuesday will be that first opportunity to see that entertainment first hand.
So today’s Question of the Day—that I may or may not have borrowed from our own Ryan Mathews during this week’s PODcast (released this morning!)—is:
Which Lions player are you most excited to see in pads?
My answer: Penei Sewell.
No need to get fancy or overthink this one. By now, we’ve all seen what Penei Sewell did as a 17 and 18 year old at Oregon. Now, after a year away from football and upgraded to the big leagues, Sewell has a big learning curve in front of him. But if he’s half as special as everyone seems to claim he is, we’ll see some of that talent right out of the gate.
That doesn’t mean he’ll be a Pro Bowler right away. It’ll take some time to build that consistency needed for NFL success. However, I can’t wait to see his first pancake. I can’t wait to see the first play in which they pull him on screen or pitch play and he’s chasing down linebackers and defensive backs to put his hands on, and keeping up with them athletically.
If I had to pick one on the defensive side of the ball, it’s probably Alim McNeill. He seems already plugged into a starting spot as the team’s nose tackle, and I’d love to see how he responds going against one of the league’s best centers in Frank Ragnow.