Taylor Decker’s Return Was Helpful In 2017, But 2018 Needs To Be Different.
The offensive line was a revolving door during the 2017 season for the Detroit Lions. With many players dropping left and right with injuries, the newest additions of right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Rick Wagner were only able to play with the other three starters as a unit twice last season, something that needs to change for 2018.
Left tackle Taylor Decker was the first offensive lineman to get injured last season. In the first week of June last year, Decker tore his labrum, forcing him to miss the first the first half the season.
Decker would return during the second half of the season and while he would be better than the previous left tackles for the first half of the season, he still wasn’t the Decker of his impressive rookie year in 2016. Decker showed signs of rust, along with injury and wasn’t 100 percent, but still gave his best efforts. In the eight games Decker played in, he allowed four sacks and got called for three penalties. To compare with his form of 2016, he allowed four and a half sacks and got six penalties in 16 games. So while he was himself with the penalties, he did significantly worse when it came to protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Taylor Decker Has To Rebound From Last Season
The biggest complaint about the offense last year was the issue of injuries on the offensive line and the multiple players that had to play due to those injuries. This, in turn, forced the running game to suffer and turned Stafford into a human pinball, getting sacked 47 times – second in the league behind Jacoby Brissett who got sacked 52 times.
Decker has to regain his old form and with an off-season to focus on regaining his strength and being able to train to get ready for the season should do wonders for the former first-round pick. He still has two years left on his contract, and with the team most likely to pick up his fifth-year option, this is the year to prove that it will be the smart choice.
It should help Decker with rookie offensive lineman Frank Ragnow coming in to play either center or left guard and with guard/center Graham Glasgow being the only starting offensive lineman to not miss a game last season, they will provide help along with veterans Wagner and Lang. 2018 is a big year for the offensive line and it starts with Decker coming back better than ever.