It certainly sounds like Taylor Decker will make his 2021 NFL debut this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Friday morning, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell told the media that there’s a greater than 50 percent chance of Decker playing despite returning to practice for the first time since the Lions activated him from injured reserve.
“Yeah, I think he’s done pretty well. I think he looks pretty good,” Campbell said. “We’ll see how he looks today and make a decision from there.”
Campbell was pressed and asked what percentage chance Decker plays on Sunday, and he gave an optimistic answer.
“I would say high. High percentage,” Campbell said. “Higher than 50.”
While he appears on track to play, it’s worth mentioning that on Thursday, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn mentioned that getting Decker for a full game may be a bit too optimistic.
“I think that he can go in and maybe play all four quarters, (that) may be a little aggressive,” Lynn said.
However, Campbell noted that Decker has been working behind the scenes and if anyone could come in and play an entire game with just a week of practice to prepare, it’s Decker.
“The good news is Taylor, he’s been working his tail off while he’s been getting this thing back, rehabbing,” Campbell said. “So he’s in very good shape. Now, we all know football is different, and so I think we’ll just see how it goes, but I think if anyone can do it, it’d be him.”
If Decker can go, it has already been established that he will start at left tackle. That move would push rookie Penei Sewell to the right side for a matchup against Steeler elite pass rusher T.J. Watt. Lynn admitted they may give him some help on that side but also showed confidence in the rookie linemen.
“We try to help our tackles the best we can, but I think Sewell has come a long way,” Lynn said.
We’ll know more about the status of Decker and the Lions' other injured players when the team announces designations for the Pittsburgh game around 4 p.m. ET.