Has the Riley Reiff era at left tackle begun for the Detroit Lions?
We all figured that last’s year’s first-round draft pick was going to start somewhere along the offensive line in 2013, we just didn’t know where.
With Thursday’s announcement that longtime starting left tackle Jeff Backus has decided to retire, it’s looking more like left tackle might be the landing spot.
At the very least, Reiff is a prime candidate to compete for either vacant tackle spot with Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard.
Reiff started at left tackle on Thanksgiving last year when Backus missed his first NFL game after 187 (including playoffs) consecutive starts.
“We’re prepared for just about anything as far as turnover on the offensive line, or turnover anywhere,” Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz told the media down at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I think that we’ve drafted on the offensive line, last year with Riley Reiff, and a couple years before that with Jason Fox. We’ve developed those guys and if we can plug them in, we’re prepared to do it. All of those guys are guys that we think a lot of and we think that they can go do the job if called upon.”
Reiff impressed enough early in his rookie year the Lions created a special jumbo package to get him on the field when he didn’t supplant Backus or Gosder Cherilus (signed with Colts in free agency) in the starting lineup.
Reiff played 329 snaps in all in 2012 and it was enough for his teammates to vote him the Mel Farr Rookie of the Year for 2012.
“Obviously we drafted Riley Reiff last year,” Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said Thursday when asked about replacing Backus. “We’ve got Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard. We’ve got some good competition there.”
But don’t count out the possibility of the Lions adding a tackle to the roster before training camp starts, possibly via the draft if Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher are available when the Lions pick at No. 5.
“As Martin (Mayhew) has said consistently, there is no finish line when it comes to player acquisition,” Lewand said. “We have a lot of opportunity going forward to look at adding to the mix on the offensive line, both outside and inside.”
Taking a player like Joeckel or Fisher at No. 5 would allow the Lions to move Reiff to the right side at either guard or tackle and fill one of those holes with a good, young player.
Tags: Riley Reiff
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 36 Comments »