Snap observations: Lions' Taylor latest to lose time
New Orleans — It appears defensive end Devin Taylor is the latest Detroit Lions player subject to coach Jim Caldwell's meritocracy.
Taylor, who has started all 12 games this season despite underwhelming production, has seen his playing time drop four straight weeks. He played a season-low 23 snaps — down from 34 on Thanksgiving — in the team's 28-13 victory over the Saints. That was fewer than Armonty Bryant in his return from a three-game suspension.
Taylor managed to snap his streak of five games without a sack against the Saints. Even with steady pressure from the Lions' pass rush, he was the only player to drop quarterback Drew Brees behind the line.
Here are some additional observations from Sunday's snap count report:
• So much for that rotation at left guard. One week after playing 27 snaps, Laken Tomlinson was back to the bench. He played one snap against the Saints, rotating in for Larry Warford late in the game.
• Tight end Matthew Mulligan continues to earn a larger role for his blocking ability. He worked a season-high 30 reps in New Orleans, while fullback Michael Burton was limited to one snap after playing two against Minnesota on Thanksgiving.
• In his season debut, wide receiver TJ Jones was on the field for 23 plays. Andre Roberts played a more significant role replacing an injured Marvin Jones, playing 53 of a possible 70 offensive snaps.
• As expected, with starting linebacker Tahir Whitehead out, rookies Miles Killebrew and Antwione Williams saw bumps in playing time. Killebrew, who snatched his first career interception to end the game, matched a season-high with 21 snaps. Williams, as the No. 2 guy in a depleted linebacking group, played 34.
• Haloti Ngata predictably dominated the defensive tackle rotation, while the four other players active at the position evenly split the remaining snaps. Tyrunn Walker, A'Shawn Robinson, Stefan Charles and Khyri Thornton each played between 13-17 snaps.
• Theo Riddick is clearly still dealing with some lingering ankle issues. The running back played a shade under 50 percent of the team's snaps.