At the end of Sunday's Detroit Lions game, rookie cornerback Darius Slay was benched. The decision was made following a rough start to the season for Slay, who had issues with tackling and in coverage.
The Lions opted to go with veteran Rashean Mathis in place of Slay down the stretch. With the Lions' lead not all that large, Jim Schwartz decided it was best to make "a call to the bullpen" for Mathis in order to ensure no big plays were surrendered. The decision worked, as Mathis performed well in his 20 defensive snaps and the Lions ended up shutting down the Minnesota Vikings at the end to win by a score of 34-24.
So what exactly does this mean for Slay going forward? It turns out he is still one of the starters at cornerback. Schwartz indicated during his Monday press conference that the move to put in Mathis over Slay was merely a temporary one based on the situation at hand. When the Lions take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, Slay will return to the starting lineup.
Clearly the Lions have a lot of faith in Slay's long-term potential, but he's just got to gain experience and develop as an NFL cornerback. Going with Mathis at the end of Sunday's game made sense, but as Schwartz said, it was a call to the bullpen more than anything. Mathis came in to relieve Slay, but Slay is still the Lions' starter at right cornerback going forward.