Lions’ Jim Caldwell: Nick Fairley isn’t a starter right now

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Allen Park — If Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley is in coach Jim Caldwell’s proverbial doghouse, he isn’t showing signs of coming out soon.

After starting training camp playing with the first-team defensive line, Fairley has fallen out of grace, working with the second unit last week and during Friday night’s 27-26 exhibition loss at the Raiders.

Caldwell had stopped short of saying that Fairley was no longer on the first team, but erased any confusion before Monday afternoon’s practice. When asked who would start on the first-team defense in practice, Caldwell laid out the situation clearly.

“If you’re asking me whether or not Fairley is going to be a starter, he’s not starting right now; he’s second team,” Caldwell said. “But the rest of it, we’ll look. It’s a long week and we have a lot of work to do in between and typically like most games, we’ll take a look at where we are and make an assessment on that toward the end of the week.”

C.J. Mosley started at tackle, along with Ndamukong Suh on Friday and that tandem likely will continue this week. Caldwell likely was not happy with Fairley last week but with only one tackle, Fairley didn’t make a huge impression in the game, either.

“(Fairley) played better,” Caldwell said Saturday. “He worked at it and we’ll see how it goes this week. We continue to evaluate and it’s not just a one-time evaluation.”

Mosley replaced Fairley on the Lions' unofficial depth chart for Friday's game against Jacksonville. The only other change to the starting lineup was fullback Jed Collins moving ahead of Montell Owens.

In his four seasons, Fairley has had his share of issues dealing with his weight (listed at 6-foot-4, 308 pounds) and it appears he has added a significant amount of weight since training camp began.