The Detroit Lions are depending on Taylor Decker to be a leader on the field and off in terms of his play as a elder statesman on the roster, and already, the tackle is speaking like someone who can be counted on for that role in the future.
Decker spoke to the media on the day before the roster was set to evolve again considering more major cuts are coming down the pipe. While those changes might represent an uncomfortable reality for some, Decker is one such player that can appreciate the changes in the name of trying to find the right mix.
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Speaking with the media on Monday, August 30 after practice, Decker admitted that whatever changes occur, he is hopeful for the Lions most of all, given he is sick and tired of losing and wants to see the team put things together in the best way possible for the future and more winning for the team.
“I’ve said it before, I’ll welcome any change that will help us win. Because we’ve lost a lot more than I’ve liked to around here and I want to see Detroit win. Anybody who can help us win, any coach, any staff member, any front office person, any player, I’m all for it,” Decker told the media.
This season, Decker is one of older players on the Lions, despite the fact he is not yet in his 30s himself. That roster transformation into one of the younger teams in the league has his attention in a big way, but he knows it can be a good thing in time for the team.
“We have a really young team. When I first got here, obviously, there were guys in their 30s and now we may only have a couple, I joke I am 32 but I am not. Much like the change thing, that is the name of the game. You’ve got to fight to maintain that level of performance and fight to stay on teams. For whatever reasons they move on from guys and trade guys or whatever it may be. But I’m happy. I’m a guy who’s still here. I want to be here and I want to see this team be a winner,” he explained.
Decker showing his commitment to Detroit is notable, and it’s clear he is a player who wants to be part of the solution for the Lions. The team needs more players like that in the mix, so to have Decker speaking up that way as a leader is great ahead of a new season.
Decker Believes Lions Staff ‘Fun to Work With’
If the Lions do end up having success on the field in 2021 off plenty of changes, it could have a lot to do with the new staff and what they have show the players so far. As Decker explained, he believes the fact that the Lions have plenty of former players coaching them could prove to be a huge advantage given they understand what it means to play in the league as well as communicate effectively.
“I know it’s probably been beaten to death but just the number of coaches on our staff that played, just the insight, to be able to relay information to players and be able to talk to them in a language they understand because you’ve been in that position on the field I think is huge,” he said. “Then, I think we got a really good blend of we’re going to be tough, we’re going to work hard, and we’re going to be smart and we’re going to put ourselves in some good positions to succeed.”
Specifically, as it relates to the staff, Decker said that the lines of communication have been open from day one, and that trust has been significant for the players in their development.
“It’s been a fun staff to work with. They listen to what the guys have to say, and that doesn’t mean they’re going to roll with it, but they want to hear what you have to say as a player. I know there’s a lot of guys who want to take ownership in this organization, and they’ve come in and owned it,” Decker said.
Building equity with the players has been a big goal of the staff, and thus far, it looks as if the team has managed to see that play out. That’s a big step toward re-shaping the culture in the Motor City for the future.
Decker’s Stats and Highlights
Former general manager Bob Quinn’s first draft pick from 2016 has run hot and cold in Detroit. While Decker has been a decent piece, he hasn’t been the transformational lineman the Lions probably hoped for when they selected him early on. Decker has been the unquestioned starter at left tackle from day one, and has had his share of ups and downs in spite of playing in 70 games with 70 starts and catching a receiving touchdown. There’s been a ton of change in Detroit up front the last few years, and it will be interesting to see if Decker can continue to step up as he did in 2020, where he played a solid role for the team. Decker didn’t crack a Pro Bowl or become an All-Pro, but he was invisible most of the year and durable, which is huge for a lineman coming off a massive extension.
Here’s a look at Decker’s best play in the league, the surprise touchdown catch he made against Los Angeles in 2018:
It feels like Decker has been in Detroit forever, but it’s clear that he’s merely an old-feeling 28. Listening to him speak, though, it’s clear he is growing into a vocal leader for a team that needs to lean on his brand of wisdom at this point in time.