Taylor Decker and the Detroit Lions are stepping into unfamiliar territory as favorites this offseason, following a strong finish last season that left fans and pundits alike buzzing.
Despite winning eight of their final ten games, the players understand that past performance doesn’t guarantee future success. Quarterback Jared Goff remains grounded, emphasizing the need for continuous improvement and acknowledging the hard work that lies ahead. Goff said about the buzz surrounding the team, “Of course you have a sense of it… but that doesn’t mean anything for us now. It really doesn’t.”
Rising Expectations in Motown
As the Lions begin organized team activities, players are eager to build on their foundation, focusing on strength training and conditioning. Players like defensive tackle Alim McNeill are taking it one day at a time, ensuring they make progress before considering playoffs or Super Bowl prospects. McNeill mentioned in a recent press conference, “We can’t just put ourselves in the playoffs or the Super Bowl. We got to still get there, still make it there.”
Cautious Optimism within the Roster
Long-tenured offensive tackle Taylor Decker sees the positive energy surrounding the team as a welcome change. While the foundation for a strong team is in place, Decker is wary of resting on past accomplishments. He’s determined not to return to the days when the Lions were seen as a joke, reminding his teammates that they must continue to prove themselves on the field. Decker stated, “I don’t care what you did last year. I don’t care what you did two years ago. But I do think we have the foundation for a good football team.”
Decker reflected on the shifting expectations for the Lions:
I remember when we got s— on, because we won three games and people thought we were a joke… but we haven’t done it yet. It’s great in theory. But we got to do it still.
Front Office Aggressiveness Fuels Confidence
Bold Moves and Building Momentum
The Lions’ front office is making moves to address weaknesses and improve the team, sparking excitement and confidence among players. Goff acknowledges the sense of optimism and excitement that pervades the team, and with the draft fast approaching, the anticipation grows. Goff noted:
There’s a vibe, there’s a feeling that you have… But there is an overwhelming feeling of optimism and excitement for what we think we can do, for sure.
The aggressive actions by the front office have a cascading effect on the team, as players are inspired by the determination to build a competitive roster. The organization’s approach signals a commitment to change and success, raising the bar for everyone involved. Goff continued:
In a couple weeks the draft will come and there will be more of that there, but the aggressiveness of taking our shot and knowing that we have a team that can compete with anybody.
The revitalized roster and front office moves signal a new era in Detroit, one that fans and players alike hope will bring long-awaited success to the franchise. The Lions are determined to shake off their underdog status and prove themselves as contenders in the NFC North.
Glasgow’s Return Boosts Offensive Line
Reunited with Decker
Taylor Decker is ecstatic to welcome Graham Glasgow back to Detroit after Glasgow spent three seasons with the Denver Broncos. The two have been friends since they entered the league together in 2016, and Decker shared his excitement about Glasgow’s return, saying:
He’s one of my best friends and at my wedding, Jonah (Jackson) came up to me after talking to Graham, cause Graham, he’s got an interesting sense of humor… And fast forward, here we are. He’s coming to Detroit, and he’s going to fit in great. It’s going to be great.
Glasgow is expected to compete with Halapoulivaati Vaitai for the starting job at right guard and serve as the Lions’ versatile interior backup.
Vaitai’s Comeback and Impact
Vaitai, who missed all of last season with a back injury, took a pay cut to remain in Detroit this offseason. Decker is impressed with Vaitai’s recovery, commenting, “I don’t even know if I’m supposed to say this, I’m impressed with where he is at moving, lifting, running… I mean, having a back surgery, he looks good. I guess that’s all I’ll say on that.”
Decker also emphasized the importance of Vaitai’s presence in the locker room. He described Vaitai as a light-hearted personality who helps to ease tension during the season. Decker affectionately compared Vaitai to a “big golden retriever” and expressed his excitement to have him back on the team.
Strengthening the Offensive Line
Glasgow and Vaitai’s Return Boosts Depth
The return of Graham Glasgow and Halapoulivaati Vaitai provides a much-needed boost to the Lions’ offensive line. Both players bring experience, skill, and versatility to the group. This sets the stage for a fierce competition for the starting right guard position. Their presence will undoubtedly elevate the overall performance of the offensive line, providing support and protection for quarterback Jared Goff.
A Solid Foundation for Success
With a revitalized offensive line, the Detroit Lions can focus on building a winning culture and capitalizing on their newfound optimism. Players like Taylor Decker, Glasgow, and Vaitai will play crucial roles in establishing a solid foundation for success. Their dedication is invaluable for the Lions to erase their underdog status and make a splash in the NFC North.
For more from the author Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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