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Detroit Lions, Bob Quinn counting on Teez Tabor to improve in Year 3

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Confidence in Tabor doesn’t seem to have been shaken despite a rough first two years.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Two seasons into his NFL career, Teez Tabor doesn’t have much to show for it. Despite being a second-round pick, Tabor has just started in five total games. Typically, Tabor has been spending gamedays watching from the sideline, only making impacts on very occasional defensive packages and special teams.

When he has made it onto the field, it hasn’t been pretty. He notoriously gave up a perfect passer rating in 2018 and he doesn’t have an official pass defended to his name.

Despite all of that, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn still has a lot of faith in the Florida cornerback he drafted two years ago, and it starts with how Tabor finished the year last season.

“The last couple weeks of the season, we saw a little bit of an uptick with Teez,” Quinn said. “Kind of played with a little more confidence, played in the slot, played at nickel against Green Bay and did a good job going against some of those guys.”

While it’s true that Tabor did perform well in that season finale, it’s important to put that in proper context. That day the Packers were without Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Geronimo Allison.

Still, despite that and the fact that Tabor infamously finished the 2018 season allowing a perfect passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, Quinn still very much believes in Tabor’s development, and he wasn’t shy about sharing that with media at the NFL Combine.

“I still have faith in him,” Quinn said. “Obviously he hasn’t played as much as I would have hoped, but we’re not giving up on him. I actually had a conversation with him a couple days ago. He’s a guy we’re counting on to get better.”

Many believe that cornerback is one of the positions that take longer for players to develop, with the common expression that you can’t judge a corner until Year 3. However, that line of belief is becoming harder to sell when players like Marshon Lattimore and Jalen Ramsey have made immediate impacts across the league in their first couple seasons. Meanwhile, Tabor has barely even made it on the field despite Detroit’s persistent cornerback issues over the past two years.

Still, Quinn is hopeful that Tabor is ready to make that jump.

“Teez was pretty young when we drafted him, so some guys take a huge step between Year 1 and Year 2, I’m hoping Teez takes a big step from Year 2 to Year 3,” Quinn said.

That’s a pretty big leap of faith in a guy that hasn’t given the team many reasons to be optimistic. Of course, what else is a general manager going to to say about a guy that is still under contract? Quinn’s true feelings will be measured by his offseason actions, not his words. If the Lions go out and pursue multiple cornerbacks through free agency and the draft—as the team is expected to do—it will say everything we really need to know about Quinn’s feelings on Tabor.