The Detroit Lions announced that they have placed starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai on injured reserve and claimed guard Drew Forbes off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns.
With the Lions headed into Week 1 of the 2022 season, after a year of waiting, things finally looked like the team would be able to see their starting five offensive linemen work together for the first time in the regular season. But, it was not to be, and that moment will be delayed by at least four weeks, as per the new rules for injured reserve.
Vaitai has looked very strong this training camp and preseason, especially in the run game, as he was playing some of the best football he has played during his three years in Detroit. Through two preseason games, he had earned 91.8 and 81.8 overall grades from Pro Football Focus for game one (against the Falcons) and three (against the Steelers) respectively.
He did not appear to be injured in the preseason finale, but he was noticeably absent during last Thursday’s practice.
Tommy Kraemer and Logan Stenberg have been the Lions' second-team guards this preseason and both have looked very solid during practices and games. They have rotated sides at different points of camp, but over the final few weeks and during the games, Kraemer has been the primary right guard and would seem like the natural replacement—though Stenberg will surely make this a competition.
Forbes, a 2019 sixth-round pick of the Browns when Lions’ senior personnel executive John Dorsey was their general manager, was waived by the Browns after initially making their roster this season. Coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2019, Forbes has experience playing both left and right guard, but he has only played in three NFL games over the last four seasons and all his snaps came on special teams.