The Detroit Lions came up just short of giving the home fans at Ford Field a victory to kick off the 2022 season, as the Philadelphia Eagles held on to a 38-35 victory. While Lions head coach Dan Campbell knows the team has a lot of work in front of them, Week One wasn’t all bad. Some players stood out more than others, and luckily for you, a guy who broke his arm in youth football at eight years old and decided to retire from the game of football will be judging these Lions’. Here are three studs and three duds from Week One.
3. Malcolm Rodriguez
I’m not sure anyone dressed in blue and silver has a larger fan base than the one they call Rodrigo. Malcolm Rodriguez became an instant fan favorite for showing off his dancing skills and likable personality on HBO’s Hard Knocks. What did the 6th-round rookie have in store for his debut regular season game? Oh, nothing, just the highest graded performance of any defender on the roster, according to PFF. Rodriguez finished the game with 6 total tackles, including one for a loss. However, it’s Rodriguez’s intensity that has everyone raving about his debut. Keep it up, cowboy!
2. Penei Sewell
In my opinion, the offensive line as an entire unit had a great all-around game. None better than the former first-round pick, Penei Sewell. According to PFF, Sewell was the best lineman when it came to run blocking at 84.5 and was the best offensive lineman when it came to pass blocking at 70.1. Many have been hesitant about their opinions of Sewell, but I believe when this line is at full staff, Sewell is going to be a bright spot for a very long time.
1. D’Andre Swift
As if anyone else could grab the number one spot. The stud of studs for the Detroit Lions on Sunday was none other than D’Andre Swift. We’ve seen glimpses of this potential, but the talent was on full display against the Eagles. On 15 attempts, Swift managed to rush for 144 yds and found the endzone once. The offense struggled to find a connection in the air, but Swift was a modern-day Doug Heffernan with how he handled the rock. I’m not sure when your stud trophy will be in the mail, Mr. Swift, but look for anything that may say Chippendale’s on the box. You stud you.
3. Logan Stenberg
Calling a professional athlete a dud while I’m mowing down a hot cocoa oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen makes me feel like a small human being. Nevertheless, I am tasked with this onerous responsibility, and as I dig my spoon deeper into the bottom of my cup, I must talk about Logan Stenberg’s Sunday. As a Kentucky fan, I was excited for Stenberg to get his first professional start. I feel Stenberg has the potential to be a great rotation piece to this Lions’ offensive line. Maybe nerves played a factor when Stenberg picked up two tough penalties on the offense’s first drive of the game. Stenberg was the lowest graded lineman in the pass-and-run block. Something will have to change drastically for Stenberg to continue to see playing time.
2. Derrick Barnes
Many fans, including myself, were ready to see Derrick Barnes take that next step toward becoming a fixture in the linebacker unit for the Lions. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of that from the 2021 4th round pick. Barnes only checked in for 22 snaps on Sunday, which resulted in 3 tackles and zero QB pressures. Barnes, a Kentucky native like myself, showed plenty of potential last season before the injury bug infected him like many others. I’ve noticed my duds list has a lot to do with the state of Kentucky. Maybe I’m harder on these cats cause I want them to succeed more than their wildest expectations.
1. Wide Receiver Drops
We can blame Goff for the slow start and not being on the same page as his receivers and tight ends, but the receiving unit had far too many drops, which resulted in drives being stalled. DJ Chark made up for his two key drops by finding the endzone later in the game, but the receiving unit has to tighten that up as the offense moves forward. By my count, the team had six drops that weren’t because of defensive interference. That has to change.
There you have it, the Week One studs and duds. Look for me weekly to deliver to you the fans who jumped on my stud radar and who found themselves being sent some milk duds for their play. I love this team and feel that Week One saw more positives than you would typically find in a loss. Sixteen of these left; let’s go easy on the fellas and coaching staff as we head into a new week. (Says the guy who just called three players duds.) I’ll see you next week.