With Dahl out and Vaitai back, Lions shuffle starting offensive line

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Glendale, Ariz. — When the Detroit Lions signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai this offseason, they made sure to emphasize how much they liked his versatility. But throughout training camp, Vaitai lined up at right tackle, where his five-year, $45 million contract always implied he was destined to start. 

But with Vaitai medically cleared to debut Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after missing the first two weeks with a foot injury, the team opted to slot him in at guard, shuffling the starting offensive line to compensate for Joe Dahl's injury. 

Joe Dahl (66) was not in the lineup Sunday against the Cardinals.

Adjusting to Dahl's absence, the Lions kept Tyrell Crosby at right tackle, where he started the past two games, while plugging Vaitai at right guard. Rookie Jonah Jackson, who had started the first two games at that spot, was flipped to the left side of the team's line. 

Jackson, who started at right guard for both Ohio State, as well as Rutgers before he transferred, also has experience playing center. 

Peterson moves up

Adrian Peterson might not catch Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing yards list this season, but the current Lions running back passed the former Lions running back for seventh on the league's carry list on Sunday.

Starting for the first time since signing with the Lions earlier this month, Peterson's sixth carry of Sunday's game against the Cardinals, gave him 3,063 carries for his career. 

Peterson went on to dominate the workload in the first half for Detroit, rushing 14 times for 66 yards, including a 27-yard run around the left side on the game's second play. 

With 14 games to play, Peterson entered the day 919 yards behind Sanders on the rushing list. The Hall of Famer has the fourth-most rushing yards in league history with 15,269. 

Davis comes off bench

For the first 43 times linebacker Jarrad Davis suited up for the Lions, he was a starter, but against the Cardinals, the former first-round pick came off the bench. 

In the final year of his rookie contract, Davis already has seen his role significantly reduced in 2020. He entered the day having played fewer than 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. 

Coming off a rough game against the Packers a week ago, it appeared, at least through the first half, the Lions had further cut his playing time.

Asked about his declining snap total a little more than a week ago, Davis said he was trusting the coaches to do what is best. 

"When it’s my time to go out there, I go out there and I play to my best, play to my best of my ability and do what I can to help the team," Davis said.  But while I’m on the sideline I’m still locked in, I’m still dialed into the game and I’m just trying to make sure that whoever’s out there, that they’re making the plays, that they’re helping us out to try to put us in the best position they can so I’m trying to give my input as much as I can."


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers