After slow start, Lions’ Teez Tabor making big strides

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Buccaneers' Mike Evans can't pull in a one-handed reception in the end zone with the Lions' Teez Tabor defending in the first quarter.

Allen Park – A healthy scratch six times this season, second-round draft pick Teez Tabor has steadily seen his role increase down the stretch of his rookie season.

The Detroit Lions cornerback got a bigger workload for the fourth consecutive week, playing 39 defensive snaps against the Tampa Bay Bucs, more than double his previous season-high.

“It kind of depends on who we play, what packages we’re using, it (dictates) how much he gets an opportunity to play,” coach Jim Caldwell said Monday.

Tabor had lined up mostly in the slot prior to Sunday, but got a crack to defend outside receivers against the Bucs. His best play came in the first quarter, when matched up one-on-one in the red zone against Mike Evans, Tampa Bay’s 6-foot-5, 230-pound standout.

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The Bucs lobbed a jump ball to Evans on the first-and-goal snap from the 5-yard line. Tabor pressed Evans at the line, and as the ball dropped down, the young cornerback chopped hard through the receiver’s arms, causing the incompletion. Surprisingly, Tabor wasn’t credited with a pass defense.

According to Pro Football Focus, Tabor was targeted five times the 23 snaps he was in coverage, surrendering three catches for 46 yards.

“He was out there and did a pretty good job for a young guy,” Caldwell said. “I think you’ll see he’ll continue to progress.”