It sounds like the Detroit Lions will be without their starting left tackle Taylor Decker for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers and possibly beyond. Lions head coach Dan Campbell said on Friday morning that after injuring his finger during Wednesday’s practice, they’re expecting Decker to sit.
“It looks like he’s going to be down for a little bit,” Campbell said. “We’ll adjust from there, and we’ll move forward.”
Campbell said Decker hurt his hand, specifically a finger, while in pass protection during practice. The injury appears to be significant enough to potentially require surgery, although that will be determined later on Friday after Decker meets with more doctors.
“We’ll know for sure this afternoon, but I think that it’s probably leaning that way,” Campbell said.
With the 49ers’ impressive pass rush coming into town, the Lions will have to come up with a contingency plan right away. Campbell discussed three possible options at left tackle: rookie tackle Penei Sewell, reserve tackle Matt Nelson or possibly even moving starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai to left tackle and putting Logan Stenberg in his place.
“Luckily, we’ve got a lot of flexibility,” Campbell said. “Nelson has played a little bit, certainly we have Sewell, and then having Logan being able to move up and bump Vaitai. So we’ve got some options we’re going to play with.”
The option of moving Sewell would be a controversial one. Though it’s the position he played in college, he’s been transitioning to right tackle all offseason, and one he’s put a lot of tough work into. Campbell admitted that Sewell is just now starting to feel like a right tackle.
“If that’s where we end up going with it, that’s what he did play in college, and it’s something he’s comfortable with, but he’s also getting pretty comfortable at right. It’s that fine balance between who do you feel like is best to move to the left side versus he’s a rookie and he’s getting better on the right side and let’s keep him there knowing Decker will be back in a little bit.”
UPDATE: Who knows how much you can draw from the first 15 minutes of practice—most of which is warmups—but it certainly looked like they were grooming Sewell back at left tackle during Friday’s open portion of practice:
In the few positional reps we saw at practice today, it sure looked like they were prepping Penei Sewell at left tackle, Matt Nelson at right.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) September 10, 2021
Insight to Sunday or playing tricks with the media?