Lions expect to work Riley Reiff at both tackle and guard in training camp

Posted Jul 26, 2012

Lions first-round pick Riley Reiff said Monday that he played exclusively right and left tackle spots this offseason. The Lions have left open the possibility of Reiff playing some guard for them ever since they drafted him 23rd overall in April’s NFL Draft. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz reiterated that position during a press conference today.

“He’s mainly going to play left and right tackle, but you’ll definitely see him at guard like a lot of our other players,” he said of Reiff.

“There's a difference between a plan and a result. The result is going to depend on how well he does in all those things. We’re not starting that race with any end preconceived. He’s going to have opportunities like every other player.

We’re going to play our best players. Our best players are going to make our team. How that shakes out is going to depend on how they do in practices. How well they do in preseason games. How they develop.”

Ideally, the Lions would like to keep Reiff at tackle and have him compete with incumbent starters Jeff Backus at left tackle, and more likely Gosder Cherilus on the right side. But Schwartz made it clear that the Lions are going to play their best five lineman and if that means Riley joins that group as a guard, the team isn’t afraid to move him there.

The Lions covet versatile lineman and they want Reiff prepared for all possibilities.

“Usually you typically take seven active lineman into a game,” Schwartz said. “So a couple guys better be able to play a lot of different positions. When you move guys around a little bit, their understanding of the big picture has a tendency to sort of develop a little more.

It’s not just their position. It’s how they work with the guard and all of that applies. Giving them that kind of perspective is never a bad thing.”

Schwartz said he’s been happy with Reiff’s development thus far but is as excited as everyone else to get a true evaluation when the pads come on this weekend.

“We’re very excited about him,” Schwartz said. “He’s a good player and he showed it in OTAs. It’s hard to really get a good evaluation of players in OTAs, particularly lineman, so this is a very important part of his development and evaluation.”