Lions’ O-line coach: ‘There’s been no discussion’ about moving Penei Sewell permanently

Detroit News

Allen Park — If the Detroit Lions have any intention of keeping rookie Penei Sewell at left tackle, even after Taylor Decker returns from injury, it’s a topic that hasn’t been broached with the team’s offensive line coach Hank Fraley.

“I’ll just be honest, there’s been no discussion on that stuff,” Fraley said Wednesday. “Right now, Taylor, in my mind, is our left tackle and Penei is our right tackle. And when Taylor is not playing, Penei is left tackle and Matt Nelson is right tackle. That’s how we’re doing things and (Sewell’s) done a nice job.”

Becoming the youngest player to start at left tackle in NFL history, Sewell opened some eyes with an impressive performance, primarily going head-to-head with former Pro Bowl defensive end Nick Bosa.

Sewell allowed a sack and six quarterback pressures — areas he’ll certainly look to improve — but largely held his own in pass protection, all while showing flashes of dominance as a run blocker.

“He’s done a nice job all camp,” Fraley said. “I know outside the building there’s always a lot of speculation and talk on everything, and that’s where it stays is outside the building. In here, he’ll just line up wherever you want. If you ask him to go play center, he probably would play center.

“He’s done a nice job with it. He’s taken it as a challenge and this week is a new challenge for him, again. New pass rushers, new running blocking, you know, the Smith brothers up there, they’re good pass-rushers themselves.”

The Green Bay Packers’ edge rushing duo, Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, aren’t actually related, but they have been a top tandem since both signing with the Packers as free agents ahead of the 2019 season.

Za’Darius has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons, averaging 13 sacks per season during the stretch. Preston is coming off a down year, but had 12 sacks in 2019.

Injury report

After working through a back injury during training camp and battling a hip injury during last week’s practice, the Lions opted to scratch second-round draft pick Levi Onwuzurike from the lineup in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. But coach Dan Campbell is optimistic he’ll be able to get the energetic defensive lineman into the lineup for Week 2.

“I would say he’s trending the right way,” Campbell said. “We put him through a really good workout Sunday to see how he felt for game day, even though he was down and he responded well. So, we’re excited. I think we’d like to see if we can get him up this week, but we’ll see where the week goes.”

Meanwhile, wide receiver Tyrell Williams remained in concussion protocol on Wednesday and it’s looking unlikely that he’ll be medically cleared for Monday night’s game.

“I can tell you he’s not in the building today,” Campbell said. “Right now, it doesn’t look great, but we’ll see what tomorrow looks like.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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