One of the big takeaways from Friday night's 30-17 preseason loss to the Giants was the inconsistent play from Detroit's first-team offensive line.
Taylor Decker, Rick Wagner, Graham Glasgow and Kenny Wiggins all had some tough moments in the game. Of the five players earning the worst grades in the game from Pro Football Focus, three were starters along the offensive line (Decker, Glasgow and Wiggins).
Decker allowed three hurries and a sack, and had another sack wiped off the board by an iffy Giants illegal use of helmet penalty away from the play. It was the kind of performance we haven't seen from Decker a whole lot in his first two years in the league. Only once so far in his career has Decker allowed more than one sack in a game. He not only had a tough time with veteran pass rusher Olivier Vernon, but rookie Lorenzo Carter got the better of him a couple times as well.
"I think moving forward, I'll be a lot better," Decker said Monday. "I'm comfortable with saying that. Overall, I'll be OK."
The Lions allowed four sacks, six quarterback hits and nine hurries against the Giants, most of that coming in the first half from the first-unit guys. That's now eight sacks and 14 quarterback hits for Lions opponents the last two weeks of the preseason, which is way too much pressure on Lions passers.
These first two preseason performances have been a bit unsettling from that standpoint, especially given the emphasis this offseason on being tougher and more consistent in the trenches. At least it's the preseason, and there's still time to correct some things before the games start counting.
The Lions are treating this week like a regular season week from a schedule and preparation standpoint, so it's a good time to see some better consistency from the starters upfront.
It should be noted that starting right guard T.J. Lang has yet to play in the preseason.
"All we can focus on is getting better," Decker said. "Focusing on Tampa Bay moving forward now. And that's kind of what we're going to do all season. Week to week you can always try to improve upon little things and I think that'll be our focus.
"I think we're going to be a good unit and we'll be just fine."
Monday is Wednesday. At least it is in Allen Park to head coach Matt Patricia and the players. The Lions are into the third week of the preseason, and that's typically the regular-season tune-up for teams.
The Lions are treating this work week like a regular season week in terms of their practice schedule and preparation. They are focusing on an opponent for the first time (Tampa Bay) and not just themselves. There will be some limited scheming elements to Friday night's game against the Bucs.
"It feels more like your normal getting into a routine," veteran safety Glover Quin said. "You're still kind of in training camp but you're kind of not in training camp. You're kind of looking at it like a regular season game as far as preparation.
"For me, it's kind of one of those games where you want to be sharp and study and be able to take game plan and take certain keys into the game and just trying to get used to doing that again."
Quin has always been very good throughout his career at picking little things up on film that's helped him make plays in the game on Sunday. Quin says he likes this week because he's allowed to get back into that mode again.
Don't be surprised if the veteran spots something he likes on film and makes a play Friday night in Tampa Bay.
Veteran safety Tavon Wilson is starting to fit into his role in the multiple defense brought over to Detroit by Patricia.
"It's going to be different," Wilson said Monday. "I'll be asked to do different things throughout the course of the week, so, I'm just trying to embrace it and do the best I can."
Wilson had five tackles in Friday's preseason game vs. the Giants. He lined up all over the field. It was a good look into the many hats he could wear this season. He played the deep part of the field, lined up in the slot, and came up in the box to play the run in his 23 snaps. He was good supporting the run, and also pretty good in coverage, which was good to see after he missed the end of last year due to injury.
"It's a fun scheme to play in," Wilson said. "Our coach uses us in a lot of different ways, you have to be multiple. I think when you can move around in different spots it just puts more pressure on the offense."
Patricia built a defense in New England that got terrific play from the safety position. He's said during camp he likes what Wilson, Quin and some of the other players back there have brought to the table so far.
The Lions placed linebacker Steven Longa on IR Monday after he tore his ACL in a non-contact play vs. the Giants last Friday.
Longa was getting good reps with the second-team defense. The Lions will particularly miss him on special teams, where he was very good last season. Longa led the team with 11 special teams tackles last season, which ranked in the Top 20 in the league.
"As a special teams player, I'd say he's very tough, he's smart, very instinctual," Patricia said of Longa Saturday in a conference call. "And those are some of the things that have been carrying over this year on defense also, which has been a positive that we've seen from him."
The Lions took part in a padded practice Monday to begin their work week. Not taking part in the portion of practice open to the media were: Lang, wide receiver Andy Jones (PUP), defensive tackle Toby Johnson and wide receiver Jace Billingsley.