Lions draft OL Colby Sorsdal in fifth round

ALLEN PARK — With the 152nd overall pick, the Lions drafted Colby Sorsdal who was a five-year starter at William & Mary. It was the Lions’ first of two selections on Saturday, the final day of the draft.

Sorsdal, who is 6-foot-6 and 301 pounds, was a team captain with 46 starts at right tackle. He became a starter as a true freshman for the Tribe.

“I can’t really explain the feelings right now, I think I have hives a little bit for how excited I am,’’Sorsdal said during a Zoom interview from his family home in Dallas.

Look for him to possibly move to the interior line due to his lack of length (short arms). He said he just wants to make an impact wherever he is on the field.

He joins one of the best offensive lines in the NFL with guys like Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell and Jonah Jackson.

“I think one of my strengths is that I learn and I love to learn. Coming into a room and learning from all of those guys, it’s a dream come true,’’ Sorsdal said. “I’m just excited to get to work.’’

He first talked to the Lions at the Shrine game and a local scout was at his pro day. He said he’s also talked to Hank Fraley, the Lions offensive line coach.

Sorsdal wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, but has size, experience, moves very well and most of all he has toughness, according to Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network.

He was a  third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection for his play in 10 starts in 2021. Then he was a first-team FCS All-American and All-CAA notice as a 13-game starter in his final season.


Lions look for answers as they head into their bye week

ALLEN PARK — Frustration among the 1-4 Lions is not unexpected. Even though this is early for an NFL bye week, it may be perfect timing for this bunch. Many of them need to heal physically and they all need to examine what has led to this train-wreck of a start.

The 29-0 loss to the Patriots just put an emphasis on the shortcomings on both sides of the ball.

The offense imploded after good showings in the first four games. The defense, which is ranked last in the NFL, slightly improved, according to coach Dan Campbell.

One of the team leaders, running back Jamaal Williams, gave a speech during training camp that was featured on ‘Hard Knocks.” His anger showed after the team just won three games a year ago.

He has not given up on his teammates or coaches.

“I sense the disappointment, we don’t do this, we don’t work everyday for us to come out and be 1-4, we don’t accept losing, I don’t accept losing. I’ll never get used to losing. Losing will never be – that (is something) I feel in this locker room right now that we’ll get used to. I understand the status of this team the last few years,’’ Williams said on Monday.

“For me I’ve only been here for two years and, for me, I feel like this team can be very great. We can be good and have a good winning season, we can go to the playoffs, we can win a whole Super Bowl,’’ Williams said. “That’s my mindset because I’m here, I see these people every day. I see my teammates, I see my coaches, I see these people every day.’’

Still for Williams and everyone, including Campbell, the game against the Cowboys in Dallas on Oct. 23 is the total focus.

The one game at a time approach is not exactly a novel idea, but not many alternatives. No one in the Lions’ building seems to doubt this team has the work ethic. Great, but it doesn’t always lead to wins.

Center Frank Ragnow said they don’t necessarily have to work harder, but maybe work smarter  and trust each other more.

“The biggest thing we’re missing right now is complementary football. I know that’s coach-speak but it’s real,’’ Ragnow said. “Last week as an offense we scored 45 and the defense struggled. This week we put the defense in a lot of tough spots. We need to be able to have each other’s back so we can have the flow of the game. We’re a young team and we need to figure that out.’’

Campbell’s message about the next game being key, working hard and playing smart has gotten through to at least some of the team. It shows in their words to the media.

“Everybody is in the same boat, everybody is upset, everybody is frustrated, nobody likes losing here. I think everybody knows we’re better than 1-4, but we haven’t shown that collectively,’’ Campbell said on Monday. “In pieces we have, but I also know what kind of group of guys we have in this locker room. Brad (Holmes) and I built it that way. These guys are not going to lay down, they’re not going to give up, it’s a good group of guys, we have to regroup, we have the bye to do that, make adjustments, figure out what we can do better, how do we use our personnel, what do we do to maximize the personnel.’’

Immediately after the game he said he thought the defensive played better — they only gave up 29 points instead of the average of 35-plus. 

“Watching the tape, the defense played much better. I felt like we stopped the bleeding from what we’ve been going through the last couple weeks,’’ Campbell said. “Good in the red zone, good on third down, good in the run — aside from two runs they popped when we didn’t fit the gaps right,’’ Campbell said. “We gave ourselves a chance really for what we were getting ready to play and the style they were going to play. I thought we did what we needed to do.’’

Due to injuries during the game, they were so critically short on defensive backs.

“The late touchdown was tough. We had (Chase) Lucas playing safety. He had never played safety and Bobby (Price) is out there at corner and they had got us,’’ Campbell said. “Those guys will learn from it, they got put in tough spots particularly Lucas.’’

The bye week should give many of the injured time to heal.

Five things to watch as Lions face Commanders; plus prediction

The second week in the NFL can’t produce a must-win game. However the Lions need a win over the Commanders to get to 1-1. When losses snowball it’s never a good thing, ask any Lions fan. 

The Lions played in front of a raucous and loud crowd in their opening loss to the Eagles. They want to keep the fans in the game and winning is a surefire way to accomplish that.

Coach Dan Campbell said he’s not talking about winning to the team.

“I’m talking about playing better, and let’s clean up our details. Because if we do, that winning is a byproduct of that. That’s got to be our sole focus, and so man, let’s just play better than we played last week,’’ Campbell said. “To a man, let’s coach better. I’ve got to coach better, our coordinators have got to coach better, the position coaches, and the player’s got to play better. And if we’ll just – everyone of us get a little bit better and clean up these issues, and the same issues that have bitten us or bit us last week, they don’t show up again, we’ll be that much better. That’s all we’ve got to worry about.”

Here are five things to watch as the favored Lions (0-1) face the Commanders (1-0):

1. The offensive line injury woes continue. Center Frank Ragnow (groin) has been ruled out and likely will be replaced by Evan Brown. Left guard Jonah Jackson (finger) was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday. And remember, starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back) was placed on IR before the opener. He was replaced by Logan Stenberg who had a rough first series but calmed down. Stenberg could line up at right guard again or shift to left guard. It’s likely Drew Forbes, who has been with the Lions for two weeks, will start at one of the guard spots. Campbell said the rash of O-line injuries changes what they do a bit. “Just the style at which we need to play and you just – you will have to shift the burden a little bit, other places of the load to other places on our team, which is OK. It’s what we got to do. It’s what we’re charged with,’’ Campbell said. Last season the five O-line starters never played together in one of the 17 games due to injuries. 

2. In his second game in this new offense, quarterback Jared Goff needs to step up. The offense seemed to find a rhythm in the second half on Sunday against the Eagles when the Lions scored three touchdowns.There was plenty to like last week.Goff threw both of his touchdowns on third downs. “I think the stuff that we loved was we scored every time we got in the red zone and we were really efficient on third down. And typically those numbers are resulting in wins and ultimately, this one didn’t,’’ Goff said this week. “But I think if we can continue that trend, it’ll be good for us.”

3. The defense struggled more than the offense giving up 38 points to the Eagles. Of course Washington quarterback Carson Wentz is not as mobile as Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts which should make a huge difference. Rookie Aidan Hutchinson is expected to take another step in his development (he wasn’t bad in his debut, but perhaps more was expected). Cornerback Jeff Okudah, coming back from a torn Achilles in the opener a year ago, impressed, finishing second in tackles with 10.

4. Running back D’Andre Swift sparked the offense against the Eagles with 144 of the Lions 181 rushing yards. Swift (ankle) is on the injury report and listed as questionable, but should be able to go. Will he be 100 percent? Not likely. Still the Lions need to be able to count on the running attack. “It’s helpful for any passing attack. I think it’s a quarterback’s best friend when you can have that and have the play-action off of it and the keeper’s stuff off of it, the roll outs and whatnot,’’ Goff said. “So, it’s super helpful and it’s fun to watch Swift take off too..” If Swift is gimpy, Jamaal Williams can help pick up the slack.

5. Perhaps you’ve heard this from previous seasons and coaches, the Lions need to finish. This team is better than last year’s bunch but there’s a long way to go. The Lions were down 17 points in the third quarter on Sunday, but the comeback came up 3 points short. It’s all in the details.

PREDICTION:  Lions 27, Commanders 21. The Lions know this is a big home game against a beatable opponent.