ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Nick Fairley "played better" in Friday's exhibition loss to the Oakland Raiders, but it is clear the defensive tackle has to do more to get back in the good graces of the coaching staff.
Fairley, a first-round pick in 2011, continued to practice with the second-team defense in practice Saturday, a demotion that began last Monday and led to C.J. Mosley starting in his place in a 27-26 loss Friday at the O.co Coliseum.
"The reason why is because of the fact that we thought C.J. was playing better," Caldwell said after the game. "So we put C.J. in his place, and we'll see how Nick played, make another comparison, and we'll see where we are next week."
The Lions practiced Saturday afternoon after returning from the west coast in the morning, but the initial review did not put Fairley back with the starters.
Mosley made three tackles against the Raiders during his 20 snaps. Fairley had only one tackle during his 15 snaps, and it came on a 3-yard run by Darren McFadden in which Fairley was pushed off the line.
"He played better," Caldwell said. "He worked at it and we'll see how it goes this week. We continue to evaluate and it's not just a one-time evaluation.
"It's got to be a habit for all of our guys. Everybody operates at a standard that we think is a championship-level standard, and that's what we're looking for in every phase."
Caldwell has been more proactive with Fairley since taking over in January for Jim Schwartz. Last year Fairley played at a weight in excess of 320 pounds, but was down to 295 in May after sleep apnea surgery.
However, after reporting to training camp at 305 pounds, Fairley appears to have already added much of that weight back.
Fairley said the front office declining the fifth-year option on his rookie contract this offseason was motivation to improve in 2014. Fairley started 15 games last season, the most in his three seasons in Detroit, and although he had some stellar moments, he was inconsistent throughout the year.
Fairley has declined interviews since the demotion last week.
A nine-year veteran, Mosley signed a two-year deal with the Lions last year. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 21st-best tackle in the NFL last year, ranking 10 spots ahead of Fairley.
Caldwell has put an emphasis on holding all players to the same standard, and Fairley is the highest-profile player to be punished publicly so far. Fairley will play a significant role this year, whether or not he starts, so making sure he is giving 100 percent effort on and off the field during the preseason makes sense.
The question is when -- or if -- Fairley will come out of the doghouse.