The Detroit Lions have come a long way since Taylor Decker was a rookie back in 2016. The mainstay at left tackle has seen some highs and plenty of lows during his tenure.
Now, Decker is a veteran leader of a team that has major expectations heading into the 2023 season. He would also be one of the players charged with keeping the team grounded heading into the season, to echo head coach Dan Campbell.
Decker clearly isn't shrinking from that responsibility as a team leader.
Speaking to the NFL Network on "Inside Training Camp Live" after practice on Thursday, Decker was asked by hosts Mike Garafolo and Stacey Dales to share his thoughts on the expectations the team has heading into the season.
Rather than sharing any specific expectations, Decker said would rather see the team focusing on improving in the moment.
Taylor Decker won’t let teammates get caught up in expectations
"I'm tentative to put expectations or long-term goals out there, because I was here when we were the butt of jokes. I don't want to look too far ahead. I want to keep the professional mindset of, 'let me go clean up the tape from this scrimmage today.' Ultimately, the expectations - while they are fun and it's a cool thing to get that attention - they mean nothing until we prove it."- Taylor Decker
Proving it is the theme this year for the Lions, who haven't won division title since 1993. Detroit also doesn't have a playoff win since the 1991 season, so outside expectations of success are unique and new.
Clearly, Decker believes that the Lions will only be able to meet those expectations if they first focus on their work as individuals.
Decker seems to believe if everyone first focuses on being the best they can be, meeting the outside expectations will take care of itself. It’s an easy sentiment to get behind, and not surprising coming from a Lion who was on the franchise’s last playoff team.