Lions take wait-and-see stance on Taylor Decker's return

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Lions coach Jim Caldwell isn’t one to prognosticate, particularly when it comes to injuries.

So it’s no surprise he didn’t shed much light regarding how close left tackle Taylor Decker is to making a possible return to the field.

Decker returned to practice for the first time last week after missing training camp and the first seven weeks of the regular season following offseason shoulder surgery, but he wasn’t added to the Lions’ active roster prior to Monday night’s game in Green Bay.

“He’s getting better,” Caldwell said Tuesday. “He’s coming along and we’ll see what happens. Got another week this week and we’ll see where he is.”

The Lions host the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Ford Field, and Caldwell isn’t holding out hope that it’ll mark Decker’s season debut.

“You know what? I hope to see him when he’s ready,” Caldwell said. “That’s what I want to make certain happens.”


During Decker’s absence, the run blocking has struggled and the offensive line has allowed 26 sacks — tied for the sixth-most in the league — with Greg Robinson and Brian Mihalik taking over most of the duties at left tackle.

But the pass protection has improved the past two games since the team’s Week 7 bye, with Matthew Stafford being sacked once by the Packers and twice by the Steelers. In the three games before the bye, Stafford was sacked a total of 17 times — six each by the Vikings and Panthers and five by the Saints.

“We’ve been better at making certain that our quarterback’s not getting hit as often. I think that, just like sacks, there are a lot of things that go into that,” Caldwell said. “Receivers running routes on time and at the proper depth, the quarterback getting the ball out of his hand on time on rhythm, backs blocking linebackers when they blitz or whoever their responsibility is, tight ends doing the same and offensive linemen taking care of their responsibilities.

“I think we’ve been doing all of those things better. I think that contributes to the outcome.”

More:​ Wojo: With Stafford slinging, Lions can win this division

And there’s no doubt Decker, who played every single offensive snap last season as a rookie, will provide an immediate lift whenever he’s back in the starting lineup.

“It’s still a team game, obviously. It’s not one of those things where any one guy is going to determine the outcome of a ballgame,” Caldwell said. “What you’ve seen from us week in and week out, we’ve had a lot of guys up and down, but it’s a team game. But he’s obviously an important part of that.

There’s no question he can help us in a number of ways.”

Extra points

Sometimes a long drive can clear your head. Or, in tight end Eric Ebron’s case, it can help you come up with a creative touchdown celebration.

That’s exactly what happened when the Lions were heading up to Lambeau Field from Appleton, Wis., prior to Monday’s game, and Ebron came up with the idea for the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots reenactment.

"Did you like that? It was kind of a spur of the moment,” running back Ameer Abdullah said following the win. “We were like, ‘Man, we got to do something creative. These teams are outgunning us.’ And Ebron was like, ‘Yo, let's act like we're playing video games. Whoever scores is going to win. Make it cool.'”

After Marvin Jones scored on a 25-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, he and Ebron acted as the robots while Golden Tate and Abdullah sat on the ground with imaginary controllers. It ended with Jones knocking out Ebron and Abdullah celebrating his victory over Tate.

"It’s everything I dreamed of,” Abdullah joked. “That's why I play in the NFL, to celebrate.”

… The Lions waived guard Tim Lelito off the injured reserve list. The St. Clair native and former Grand Valley State standout suffered a thigh injury in the Oct. 29 loss to the Steelers.