Lions left tackle Taylor Decker has yet to play this season, but will he play in Week 7?
Since being drafted 16th overall in 2016, Taylor Decker has pretty much been what the Detroit Lions have wanted in a left tackle. Besides a shoulder injury that cost him the first half of the 2017 season, he had missed only one game in his career heading into this season. The Lions showed how much the valued him as a long-term piece with a five-year contract extension worth close to $60 million in September of 2020.
Decker practiced a bit heading into Week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he ultimately missed a sixth straight game as he works his way back from September finger surgery. Heading toward Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, the question remains regarding when he’ll make his 2021 season debut.
What’s not in doubt is Decker stepping right back in at left tackle when he’s ready, and rookie Penei Sewell shifting to right tackle.
Dan Campbell offers less than hopeful Week 7 update on Taylor Decker
Lions head coach Dan Campbell appeared on the Stoney and Jansen Show on 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday. Decker’s name naturally came up.
“Having him, he’s got game experience, he’s a talented player and I think it could help. Now, I don’t know. I don’t know where he’s going to be at,” “Until he mentally feels like it’s something he can do, something that he feels comfortable with, something that he knows he can perform and play at a high level, then it’s not worth it. You gotta know you can do it and you can function because if you can’t, it’s not worth it.”
At first blush, a finger injury feels like something Decker might be able to play with if it’s even mostly healed. A hard splint or something could protect him from a setback. But hand usage is also vital to an offensive lineman being effective, and operating with nine fully functioning fingers and one hand that isn’t restricted is not a good option.
For what it’s worth, Sewell is coming off a strong game against the Bengals after struggling the previous couple games. He is the future at left tackle for the Lions, whenever that post-Decker future comes.
While the Lions are certainly hopeful Decker will be able to play against the Rams as the new practice week dawns, it doesn’t sound like much better than a coin-flip proposition.