The 2022 season had just ended the night prior, and on Monday afternoon Detroit Lions right tackle Penei Sewell was already thinking about the 2023 season and how dangerous this Lions team could be.
"I can't wait until next year already," Sewell told detroitlions.com during locker clean out Monday. "It doesn't even feel like we finished our season."
Sewell said he'll take a little time off to heal up and spend some time with his family, but his thoughts were already on next year and how he and his offensive linemates can be a catalyst for an even better offense than the one that became the first in franchise history to throw for at least 4,000 yards, rush for 2,000 and allow the second fewest sacks in the league in 2022.
Left tackle Taylor Decker, left guard Jonah Jackson, center Frank Ragnow, right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Sewell are all under contract next season. Ragnow was named to his second Pro Bowl, and Sewell is likely to be in Las Vegas for his first Pro Bowl being the first alternate up.
"I think we can be as good as anything out there," Sewell said. "I can see it in everybody's eyes the way we approach each and every day."
Sewell is on the fast track to superstardom. He's pound for pound the most athletic right tackle in football. He's so good the Lions actually game plan to his side and try to get him in space because he moves so well. He runs like a tight end and has some pretty good hands, too, as we saw in that game-clinching first-down catch in the win over Minnesota Week 14.
But Sewell said his biggest growth from Year 1 to Year 2 came in the mental approach to playing in the NFL -- the film prep it takes to learn and study not only the guy lining up across from him but entire defensive schemes.
Sewell finished as the No. 4 graded right tackle by Pro Football Focus and No. 2 as a run blocker. In pass pro, he allowed two sacks and just six quarterback hits in 17 games. Sewell played 1,142 snaps in his second season.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell is very clear about his offensive approach to football. He wants to run the ball and have a dangerous play-action pass game off of that. He has the big guys upfront to excel with that type of philosophy, and Sewell should be a Pro-Bowl caliber player in that attack for years to come.
"To have a coach like Dan Campbell believe in you just makes my game go up even higher," Sewell said. "Just because I know he's trusting in me and everybody else across that line and everyone in this building has that trust. We're just going to go out there and answer.
"I just can't wait for next season, man. This season was just cut too short, and I feel like there's way more on the table we can get."