'I feel good': Lions' Joe Dahl ready for whatever coaches throw his way

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

It's unclear how much the Detroit Lions planned to play offensive lineman Joe Dahl in his return from injured reserve last Sunday, but in all likelihood, it was less than the 34 snaps he was actually needed in the victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

A starter prior to suffering a groin injury between the first and second game, the Lions adjusted their starting lineup to cope with Dahl's absence. That grouping included Jonah Jackson shifting to Dahl's left guard spot and Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Tyrell Crosby manning the right side.

Joe Dahl

And that was the same setup to open Sunday's game against Jacksonville. 

Dahl was going to see some time in the game, no doubt. The Lions were planning to incorporate a guard rotation, similar to the one they used last season. But heat-related issues for Vaitai and Crosby expanded the reps the Lions needed Dahl to play. 

Fortunately, he was ready for the added workload. 

"I feel good," Dahl said. "It was nice to be out there, just knock some of the rust off. I think the plan was just kind of reintroduction into the whole thing and I think everything on the body held up well. It was nice to be back out there."

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Not only did Dahl's body hold up well, so did his performance. He didn't miss a beat, allowing zero quarterback pressure, and helping open up some of the holes for the running backs, part of the group's season-best, 180-yard rushing performance. 

What that means is an already-difficult decision wasn't made any easier. The Lions want to play their best five linemen, but with both Dahl and Crosby both playing well, there's no obvious answer to what Detroit's best five looks like. 

Even with his status as a starter in limbo, Dahl isn't sweating it. 

"I think I'm just going to leave that up to (offensive line coach) Hank (Fraley), you know?" he said. "I think, like I said, I think a big strength of ours is how deep our offensive line is. I'm just going to keep working and trying to be better every day. He'll sort that all out. I think that we have a lot of guys that are deserving. I think that we have a really good group altogether."