Detroit Lions cornerback Chris Houston had a rough 2013, to say the very least. Houston dealt with various injuries throughout the season and missed four games as a result, and he was actually benched at one point because of his inconsistent play at cornerback. He was viewed as the Lions' top cornerback when he re-signed last offseason, but he played more like a rookie than a veteran in 2013.
Despite his struggles, Houston is projected to again be the Lions' top cornerback in 2014, at least for right now. Perhaps that says more about the Lions' situation at cornerback than Houston's play, but general manager Martin Mayhew said on Friday at the NFL Combine that he still has confidence in Houston's ability. Via NFLDraftScout.com:
"I’m very confident in Chris, he’s a veteran player, he knows how to play the game. As you know he had some off-field issues last season. We’re confident in Chris’s game."
I'm assuming Mayhew was referring to Houston's dad being accused of being involved in the Sam Hurd drug trafficking case. Perhaps that did have an effect on Houston's play in 2013, but injuries seem like an even more likely source of his struggles. Houston was on the injury report for half of the Lions' games, and he dealt with toe, foot, hamstring and hand injuries over the course of the season.
Houston actually got off to a pretty strong start to the 2013 season with a +2.3 grade through the first two weeks on Pro Football Focus. Outside of a +2.5 against the Dallas Cowboys and a +0.9 coming out of the Lions' bye, it was really downhill starting in Week 3 for Houston.
In 2014, the hope for the Lions is that with injuries behind him, a healthy Houston will bounce back to his 2012 form. He had actually been quite good for the Lions before last season, and I can't imagine he suddenly forgot how to play football, so hopefully he will see a resurgence next season and once again become the Lions' top cornerback.