Lions' Decker confident he'll be 'a lot better' going forward

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — It wasn’t Taylor Decker’s best night. Far from it. But the Detroit Lions offensive tackle isn’t sweating his preseason struggles against the New York Giants.

“As an individual, I’m going to improve and get better going into this next week,” Decker said. “I think moving forward, I’ll be a lot better. I’m comfortable saying that.”

Lions tackle Taylor Decker walks off the field after practice last week. Decker says he's not concerned over a lackluster performance against the New York Giants.

Decker, Detroit’s franchise left tackle drafted in the first round two years ago, had an evening to forget, playing much of the first half against the Giants.

You can excuse the first sack he allowed, to defensive end Olivier Vernon, since it appeared Decker was anticipating inside help from both rookie guard Frank Ragnow and running back Kerryon Johnson, but there was little excuse for badly losing back-to-back reps to rookie edge rusher Lorenzo Carter — one that resulted in a hit on quarterback Jake Rudock and another in a sack, although it was wiped out by a penalty on the opposite side of the field.

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Decker had some similar struggles during the preseason of his rookie year, but quickly moved past them to have a stellar debut campaign. His ability to build upon that foundation was wiped out last year when he suffered a shoulder injury during OTAs. He required surgery and missed half the season, never quite rounding back into form.

Expectations have been back to their normally high level this offseason and Decker hasn’t missed a practice. A week ago, coach Matt Patricia raved about the young veteran when asked about his camp performance.

“He’s been great,” Patricia said. “He’s been really a guy that has played I think consistently well since the spring with his techniques and now it’s really turned from a learning phase to now he’s really transferring that into a more aggressive type of a player, which has been great. Hopefully we can continue with that.”

Decker will look to rebound when the Lions travel to Tampa Bay to battle the Bucs in preseason action.