The Detroit Lions’ 2022 season has already hit its first bump in the road. When the team placed starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai on injured reserve earlier this week, it was an annoyance—especially considering all the excitement built around the starting five offensive linemen—but it wasn’t considered a massive ordeal. The Lions have some offensive line depth and Vaitai is widely considered the weakest link among the starters.
However, concerns grew deeper on Wednesday when the most likely replacement for Vaitai, second-year guard Tommy Kraemer, missed practice with a back injury. The left coach Dan Campbell scrambling for possible replacements. On Wednesday, Campbell rattled off a list of possibilities, including several disruptive options that could have a domino effect on the offensive front. Moving right tackle Penei Sewell to right guard—a position he hasn’t played since Pee Wee days. Moving center Frank Ragnow—arguably the best player on the team—to right guard.
The team shuffled all of these lineups during Wednesday’s practice, and they may not land on a decision until Friday.
“We’re probably going to take all week to figure out exactly what we’re going to do,” left tackle Taylor Decker said on Wednesday. “Because today we did a million different combinations.”
Unfortunately for Detroit, the Philadelphia Eagles are in town for their Week 1 matchup and they boast one heck of a defensive front. All-Pro Brandon Graham is back after suffering a torn Achilles early last year. Six-time Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox somehow remains one of the most overlooked defenders in football. Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is coming off a 7.5-sack season. And Philly added Haason Reddick this free agency and drafted one of the most intriguing prospects in Jordan Davis.
This is one heck of a test for the Lions offensive line right out of the gate, but the tests go well beyond that. Can the Lions’ untested secondary hold up against the likes of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith? Will the Lions be able to slow the Eagles’ rushing attack? Is Jalen Hurts a good quarterback? And will Detroit’s revamped wide receiver room find success against an Eagles secondary that is looking much improved?
We tackled all of these topics this week on the premiere of “First Byte” our Lions podcast. This week’s host is friend-of-the-show (and real-life friend) Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation.
Check out our conversation below:
Subscribe to the PODcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeartRadio. Follow Pride Of Detroit on Twitch to get notified when we record the PODcast live and chat with us. Video replays are available on Twitch and highlights can be founded on YouTube.