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4 Areas Taylor Decker Can Improve Upon in 2022

Read more on the four areas Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker can improve in headed into the 2022 NFL season.

Lions starting left tackle Taylor Decker returned to the field in 2021, after missing the first eight games of the season. 

He missed those games after undergoing finger surgery, prior to the beginning of the season.

It does not seem that long ago that Decker signed a monstrous four-year, $60 million contract extension.

The following spring, in the 2021 NFL Draft, Detroit selected offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the first round.

Sewell started at left tackle in Decker’s absence. But, upon Decker’s return, Sewell shifted over to the right tackle spot.

This is the way it appears the lineup will stand as we head into the 2022 season.

Decker is getting paid like he is an upper-echelon tackle, and while he does enough to get by, Decker’s performance last season was underwhelming, to say the least.

A franchise offensive tackle needs to show a lot better foot work in pass protection, and there needs to be more dominance in the run-blocking department.

Going back and looking at Decker against PIT (11/14), CLE (11/21) and DEN (12/2), there are four things Decker can do to improve and step up his game moving forward.

1.) Do a better job protecting the back-door of the pocket in pass protection

Decker has this tendency to stop sliding his feet when engaged with pass rushers at the back-door (back edge) of the pocket. In all three of the aforementioned games, Decker got turned, and began losing the blocks - - or lost them altogether.

Decker has got to get in the habit of laterally continuing to slide his feet, maintaining leverage and controlling pass rushers at the back-door of the pocket.

2.) Do a better job protecting the inside “B gap.”

This was a huge problem in the Cleveland game, when Decker gave up several pressures inside and through the "B gap" (which is the inside gap between Decker and the left guard).

Once again, in these situations, Decker got turned, lost leverage and opened the "inside gate," as scouts would say.

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Decker needs to slide his feet inside, and keep his body flush to the defender. He can not afford to get turned to the side.


3.) He needs to sink his hips and anchor down better against bull rushes

This is a real problem that consistently showed up in this three-game film study. Decker looked like a lightweight when it came to his ability to drop anchor and hunker down when he was bull-rushed.

Decker got noticeably moved backwards. He got “put on skates,” as the saying goes. 

Pass rushers were able to either collapse the pocket from the edge or come off his block and get right into the quarterback’s face.

It almost cost Detroit a safety in the Pittsburgh game.

Decker needs to develop better technique and get himself lower to withstand the brute power that pass rushers bring off the edge.

4.) Finish run blocks

Decker is a finesse run blocker, and he gets by doing that (but not all the time). There are times where his shove here and push there is just not enough, and his assigned defender gets in and makes the tackle.

Decker looks moderately disinterested in run blocking. Sure, there are plays where he looks impressive. However, there were too many times where he released his block before he should have, and it proved costly.

A lot of his run-blocking efforts looked lazy. At times, Decker has shown he is clearly capable of doing better, and he will need to if the Lions hope to field a winning team this year.

His run blocking looked like a 3-13-1-worthy effort on game film.