After tallying 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and the second-highest defensive grade for the Detroit Lions on Sunday, rookie edge defender Aidan Hutchinson has been nominated for Pepsi’s Rookie of the Week.
After shifting around some personnel, including getting rookie Josh Paschal into his first NFL action, the Lions were able to move Hutchinson all around the formation against the Dallas Cowboys, and it worked. Operating on both the strong and weakside of the formation, the Lions were able to get their first-round rookie in favorable matchups, and Hutchinson delivered a strong game. And, yes, he even often lined up in the two-point stance that helped him have so much success in his last year at Michigan.
“We changed a few things, kind of went back to what we were doing last year, just the way we play those big boys up front,” coach Dan Campbell said on Monday. “And getting Hutch up in a two-point and having Paschal back, John Cominsky, and then helping the perimeter a little bit. But I thought they all showed up.”
This is already the second time Hutchinson has been nominated for the award in six games. He was nominated for Rookie of the Week back in Week 2 for his three-sack performance against the Washington Commanders but ended up getting out-voted by Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who had eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns that week.
Hutchinson is going to have a tough time winning this week, too. Former Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker is nominated after tallying 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns this week. And even Cowboys defensive end Sam Williams has a better statistical resume with 2.0 sacks, a forced and recovered fumble.
Still, it’s a positive sign to have Hutchinson nominated for the award in a third of his games already.