Tulloch concedes layoff showed in Lions' loss

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Stephen Tulloch admitted Friday that rust did play a factor in his lackluster performance in Week 1. The Lions’ middle linebacker suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Week 3 last season and missed the rest of the year.

“Obviously, missing some time kind of threw me off a little bit, getting back into the full swing of things,” he said. “The good thing about the NFL … is you can correct your mistakes, learn from it and just get better.”

Tulloch, 30, had just six tackles in his return last Sunday against the San Diego Chargers and missed a few reads in the run and pass game.

“I missed a whole year,” he said. “When you get back out there and play a full game for the first time, there’s some reads that I can make better that I’ve always made and things I can adjust to and study the game.”

Tulloch was among the players responsible for the lapses in covering short passes, which the Chargers consistently used as they gained 483 yards in the game. Among the players that exploited the Lions’ mishaps last week was tight end Ladarius Green, and Tulloch knows Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is capable of performing well if the Lions don’t make improvements.

Tulloch also acknowledged that the Lions linebackers still have to make adjustments to the new personnel. Last week’s game was just the third time Tulloch didn’t play with DeAndre Levy since Tulloch signed with them in 2011.

And, to the people ready to call Tulloch’s 10-year career over after one poor game, he has a message.

“I came in as a fourth-round guy,” he said. “They said I wouldn’t make it past two years. I’m in (Year) 10 now. I know how to handle adversity. I’ve been through it my whole career — through injuries, through somebody getting hurt and me stepping up, playing through injuries.

“When people tell me I can’t do it, I tend to prove them wrong, which I have my whole career. I’ll bounce back and help lead this team the way I have since I’ve been here.”