Teez Tabor Not Buying His Strong Start In Year Three: "I Have No Business Talking"

He's the first to acknowledge his struggles over his first two seasons. 

Will Burchfield
June 05, 2019 - 5:34 pm

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The story of Teez Tabor has been a grim one so far for the Lions. At the danger of reading too far into the latest twist, the third-year cornerback has played pretty darn well through OTAs and minicamp. 

That's been clear to just about anyone watching, including Matt Patricia, who spoke highly of Tabor on Tuesday. As for Tabor himself? 

"I ain’t doing too good right now," he said Wednesday after the second practice of minicamp -- which, to be fair, wasn't his best. "There’s a lot of things that I need to work on still."

But Tabor has made a number of notable plays, albeit in non-contact practices against a mostly nameless receiving core. He's closed well on the ball and knocked down or intercepted a handful of passes. So where does he need to improve? 

"I just need to improve every day on my fundamentals and technique. They get lax sometimes, and that’s unacceptable," Tabor said.

He might not admit it, but Tabor has to know this is a crucial season in his career. The second-round pick in 2017 hasn't exactly cemented himself in Detroit's defense, and the team invested in a trio of new cornerbacks this offseason in free agents Justin Thomas and Rashaan Melvin and fourth-round draft pick Amani Oruwariye. Tabor's pedigree can only buy him so much time. 

It sounds like he's aware of the stakes. Patricia said Tabor has been more engaged in meetings since the end of last season, speaking up and asking questions when he's confused by a certain call or technique. 

"That shows just a lot of growth from the mental side of it," said Patricia. 

If he's been louder in meeting rooms, Tabor has been typically quiet everywhere else -- including on the field. Nah, he said, he isn't trying to be more vocal entering his third season. The way he sees it, he hasn't earned the right.

"I really just want to stay low, because I haven’t done anything yet," he said. "I really don’t have no business talking about anything right now. I really don’t know nothing. I haven’t made no plays, so I don’t need to be talking." 

It's a glimpse into the 23-year-old's mind. He has no illusions about his performance through the first two seasons of his career. And he understands that a few plays in the spring mean nothing if he doesn't back them up in the summer and the fall. 

The big picture is murky at the moment for Tabor, so he's trying to bring it clarity one day at a time. 

"If I do that," he said, "everything will fall in place." 

As for fellow cornerback Darius Slay, who's sitting out minicamp in pursuit of a new deal, Tabor said he's in his teammate's corner. 

"We love Slay. That’s been a big brother to me ever since I walked in the door. Nothing but the utmost respect for big bro. Not having him out here, we miss his presence, but we still have to come out here and work and do what we do. That don’t stop just because Slay’s not here," said Tabor. 

He added, "I’m pretty sure that he has his reasons for what he’s doing right now. ... I know if he has something going on that he needs to handle, then that’s what he’s gotta handle."