ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- As far back as the NFL combine in February, Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker said he preferred to be on the left side. It is what he knows best and is most familiar with.
And now, with offseason practices all but completed, it seems as if he is going to be on the left side after all. Decker has worked at left tackle throughout OTAs and mandatory minicamp, and so far no one has given much indication he’ll be moving to the right side any time soon.
“I’m just doing what the coaches tell me to do, playing where they tell me to play and just trying to get better,” Decker said. “And I think the group’s working hard and we’re all trying to get better, so I think we’re just working.”
Decker wouldn’t say whether he feels more responsibility or comfort on the left side as opposed to the right, where former left tackle Riley Reiff has been at tackle.
His biggest concern still is picking up Detroit’s offense -- with some concepts and plays new to veterans too -- almost two months after being drafted at No. 16 overall by the Lions. He said there are things he’s able to take from his time at Ohio State and apply to what the Lions are doing in Detroit, but he’s still figuring some things out.
“There are going to be play concepts that are similar,” Decker said. “A lot of teams run a lot of offenses, so there’s going to be some similarities here and there, but at the end of the day there’s obviously a lot more responsibility on the player at this level.
“So I’m trying to just digest it all and learn as much as I can.”
The next big learning time will come in August, when the Lions are able to wear pads during training camp and he can hit for the first time as a pro. At that point, Detroit will learn whether Decker is ready to be the team’s left tackle of the present as well as the potential left tackle of the future.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn said this month that Decker is going to be in contention to win the job at left tackle. And so far, all indications are that things are trending in that direction.