Allen Park — The Lions got plenty of contributions from rookies in the team’s season-opening victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but cornerback Teez Tabor wasn’t invited to the party.
While linebacker Jarrad Davis started and played every snap and wide receiver Kenny Golladay hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, Tabor, a second-round pick out of Florida, was a healthy scratch for the game, buried on the depth chart behind a number of experienced veterans.
No one is particularly surprised by Tabor’s situation. He was dropped into a packed depth chart where his only path to early playing time would have been due to an injury.
And given how often rookie cornerback’s struggle, the Lions don’t view him spending his first few games on the sidelines as a negative.
“I do think, it’s a bit of a benefit for you to be able to watch for a little bit as you grow and develop,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s got some guys playing in front of him that have played a little bit, been around, so I think he’s in a good position right now.
“Any time it can be more out of design than necessity, that’s the key,” Caldwell said. “Most of the time, things happen in this league out of necessity than design, because of injuries that loom constantly.”
And while no player wants to sit on the bench, Tabor seems to be taking everything in stride. During a brief interview in the locker room on Friday, he claimed he’s not frustrated and has no problem with being patient for his opportunity.
“Coming in every day, getting better, that’s the key,” he said.
And while it might be several weeks before Lions fans get a closer look at the young cornerback, the team insists he’s making positive strides on the practice field.
“He’s doing everything right and we’ll see him at some point,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “(He’s) much different than when he first got in here. I think he’s a really super smart player. Gets it, can get around the ball, again, just growing him right now.”