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Decker happy to be at camp after missing last year's

Tackle Taylor Decker didn't even want to think back to the feelings he had at this time last year, when he was forced to sit out the start of training camp because of an injured shoulder he suffered in OTAs that required surgery.

"I'm just happy to be out here now," Decker said after Friday's opening training camp practice. "I'm happy to be out here with my teammates playing football and doing what I love to do."

Decker ended up missing the first half of last season with that shoulder injury, and was still working through some rust when he returned mid-November. It wasn't until December and the final few weeks last season that Decker started to look more like the player we saw as a rookie in 2016, when he played every snap at left tackle and was named to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie Team.

"He's done everything that we've asked of him," offensive line coach Jeff Davidson said of Decker's offseason thus far. "He's a guy that each day has been very open to the coaching. He's kind of taken that pride in being able to go out there and show what he's capable of doing, but certainly open still to different ways to do things."

Decker wasn't all that interested Friday in thinking back to last year or talking about comparisons to other seasons. He's healthy, and he's focused on the here and now.

"I'm the player I am today and that's what I'm focused on," he said. "Building off of today."

Decker is one of the anchors along the Lions offensive front, and having him back in the fold is a huge plus for an offense that struggled to fill the void of his absence last season.

Health was a major issue for the offensive line in general last season, not just for Decker. The Lions started 10 different combinations upfront, and could never build any real consistency because of all the injuries.

All 15 offensive linemen currently on the roster are healthy to begin camp, including the current starting five of Decker, rookie Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner. The health of those five gentleman in particular will have a big impact on Detroit's upcoming season.

More than any position on the football field, is it so important for those five offensive linemen to get as many reps in practice together as possible. The offensive line truly is five guys playing as one unit. The lines that typically rank among the top in the league at the end of the year are those that stayed the healthiest.

"It gives us the ability to go out and evaluate," Davidson said of starting camp healthy upfront.

"It's very difficult for us to evaluate guys when they aren't on the practice field. It seems like a simple answer, but it's very important."

Decker believes he had a great offseason, and is ready to build on that each and every day through training camp.

"Right now we have a good o-line room," he said. "We have 15 guys in there that are all contributing in practice every day and we're just try to grow together as a group and get better together as a group and stack one day on top of another."

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