The Detroit Lions clinched their first win of the season this Sunday without three of their starting offensive lineman. Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai are all injured. Vaitai had back surgery last week and is likely to be out for longer than 4 weeks. Tommy Kreamer, the expected replacement for Vaitai, is also out with injury.
Replacing the three starters on Sunday were Evan Brown, Logan Stenberg, and Dan Skipper.
Skipper has played in the league for 6 years for several teams, but never made a team, and never started. On Sunday, that changed.
Not only did he get his first career start, he started at a position he has never played before in the NFL. Skip started in the left guard position, replacing Jonah Jackson. Guard is a position he hasn’t played since his freshman year of college. He’s played at tackle his entire NFL career.
“I thought Dan Skipper did it. He did a hell of a job. He stepped in and he’s never played guard, and he’s been dying for this opportunity and I thought he made the most of it,” Campbell said.
Dan Skipper in the Hard Knocks Spotlight
The final episode of Hard Knocks put a spotlight on all the players cut from the 53-man roster for the Detroit Lions. Skipper, one of those cut, was a memorable one. He was visibly emotional even asking if there was anything he could’ve done better or differently. He spoke about the consistent disappointment after the win on Sunday.
“Hey man, I mean my sixth year in the League. I’ve never made a team. It’s tough, you go in, and you’re never quite good enough. You’re not quite enough. You show up every day, and you think you’re doing the right things, and just for whatever reason, it just doesn’t quite work out. I think I’ve had 20 NFL contracts? They’re not worth the paper they’re written on, right? So, it’s like, ‘Here we go again.’”
He showed out during the game Sunday, making several big plays on offense. Quarterback Jared Goff says it was no surprise he played well.
“Skipper, it’s his first time playing, so you don’t really know what to expect, although I kind of knew what to expect, the way he is. He has so much experience and plays just so dang hard, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Goff wasn’t the only one that spoke on his hard work and efforts. Taylor Decker even mentioned on Monday that Skipper is the guy that absolutely deserved the opportunity.
His teammates rallied behind him and we’re chanting “Skip” in the locker room after the game. In a video posted by the Detroit Lions, you can see the excitement in the room and an emotional Skipper, taking it all in. Skipper described his mentality after the game.
“Just trying to get back to push your best foot ahead every day. It’s not easy. Whether you’ve been fired once or 100 times, it still sucks. It’s tough. You get fired, but just keep on plugging away.”
Skipper will likely play in the game this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Maddy Miller – Detroit Lions Beat Reporter
On Twitter @madelynvmillerr
Photo Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports