Gosder Cherilus not ready to give up any playing time

Posted Aug 7, 2012

We’ve heard nothing but good things from Lions coaches and front office personnel when talking about first-round draft pick Riley Reiff. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said earlier this offseason that Reiff, the 23rd overall pick in the draft, is on track to play a lot of football really early in his career.

The one potential hiccup to Reiff seeing the field early this season is that incumbents Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus don’t seem too eager to give up their starting spots.

Cherilus, in particular, has looked good over the course of the first 11 days at training camp.

“The goal is to show up every day and be better today than you were yesterday regardless of what’s behind you or in front of you,” Cherilus said. “I know if I show up and do exactly what Gosder Cherilus can do, the sky is the limit.”

Cherilus, a former first round pick of the Lions himself (2008), had a rocky start to last season. He was benched for the team’s Week 2 home opener against the Chiefs because of an unnecessary roughness penalty he picked up at the end of Detroit’s victory over Tampa a week prior.

Cherilus took his medicine and accepted the punishment and then assumed his starting position Week 3 and started the remainder of the season at right tackle.

“I thought Goz had his best year last year: No. 1 from a player standpoint, No. 2 from a play-time standpoint of being on the field,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s a tough guy; he’s worked through a lot of things. He’s benefited from being in the same system for going on his fourth straight year and like I said, I thought he had a very good year last year. I thought it was for sure his best year. He’s a solid pro.”

Cherilus underwent microfracture surgery in December of 2010 and battled through knee soreness for most of last year but never missed a start because of it. Cherilus looks and feels much healthier heading into this season.

It's a good thing, too, because the Lions are probably deeper at tackle than they’ve been in years with the addition of Reiff and other young tackles like Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox looking good this summer.

“If you’re not doing it right, the next guy is going to step up and do it just as good,” Cherilus said of the talent behind him. “In the long run, it’s good for us.”

In the short-term though, it’s keeping Cherilus on his toes and playing good football in training camp.