Just when everyone thought it was safe to feel great about the Detroit Lions offensive line, calamity falls. Starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai will miss at least the first four games on injured reserve with a back injury.
Losing Vaitai, the Lions’ best lineman in the preseason and a veteran who did not allow a single sack in 2021, sure looks like a big loss. But Lions head coach Dan Campbell is confident his team can handle not having “Big V” in the lineup for a little while.
“It hurts to lose Big V, man,” Campbell said in an interview on 97.1 The Ticket this week. “He was a big part of what we did, and he was a great team guy. He’ll still be in the building, but that’s life in NFL and we move on, but we’ll be okay.”
Campbell drew upon the myriad injuries the Lions suffered across the roster in 2021 as a reason why the team can handle Vaitai’s absence.
“Nobody is going to handle adversity better than us,” Campbell continued. “We went through so much s*** last year and we adapted. Our guys were ready to go and it was next man up, and so, man, this is nothing for us. We’ll overcome this. We’ll be fine.”
The head coach brought up several different replacement plan possibilities, but the unofficial depth chart shows Tommy Kraemer as the new starting RG.