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New Orleans — Cornelius Washington had been a productive member of the Lions defensive line rotation coming into Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints, but he was surprisingly scratched from the lineup before the contest.

Washington had averaged nearly 30 snaps the first five weeks. He’s recorded just four tackles, but has generated some decent pressure  nine hurries and four quarterback hits according to Pro Football Focus  while setting a reliable edge with his 280-pound frame.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell offered little clarification when asked to elaborate on the decision to scratch Washington.

“Yeah, what we do is look at a situation, see who we’re playing, see what the situation is, make a determination what we think is best for our team,” Caldwell said. “That’s what we did.”

Caldwell emphatically said the benching wasn’t a disciplinary issue.

It’s unclear whether Washington would have made a difference, but the Lions struggled to set an edge in the loss to the Saints, who ran for 193 yards in a 52-38 victory, including a 51-yard gain by Mark Ingram and a 21-yarder by Alvin Kamara, both on outside runs.

With Washington out, the Lions rolled with a four-man rotation on the outside, which included undrafted rookie Jeremiah Valoaga and recently re-signed veteran George Johnson.

Washington left the locker room after the game before he could be asked to comment.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/justin_rogers

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