Lions' Washington puzzled by benching vs. Saints

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions defensive end Cornelius Washington

Allen Park — Cornelius Washington doesn’t know and he hasn’t asked.

The Lions defensive end was benched against the New Orleans Saints and he never got an explanation for the coaching decision.

“I feel like it had something to do with our O-line situation,” Washington said. “I don’t make those decisions. I just work here.”

The Lions’ offensive line was in flux before the game, with starting guard T.J. Lang being ruled out with an injured back minutes before inactives were submitted, but the Lions didn’t keep an extra lineman active.

After the game, Lions coach Jim Caldwell noted the decision to sit Washington was not disciplinary.

More: Lions not alarmed by Ansah's sagging stats

More: Lions' Quin practicing after sustaining concussion

“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.”

Oftentimes, a benching can motivate a player, but Washington isn’t overanalyzing the situation.

“I don’t know what the issue was, so I don’t know what problem to fix if there is a problem to fix,” he said.

In five games, Washington has recorded just four tackles, but he’s been reasonably disruptive as a pass-rusher, generating 13 quarterback hits or hurries, the same as starting defensive end Ziggy Ansah. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Washington has also done a decent job setting the edge against the run, something the Lions struggled to do against the Saints.

“I’ve done all right,” Washington said. “I don’t feel like I’ve been the best in certain areas, but I’ve done pretty good. I’ve had a solid showing so far.”