Riley Reiff has added weight in anticipation of starting at left tackle

Posted Jun 23, 2013

Reiff's extra 10 pounds should help him anchor vs. the bull rush and hold up against some of the more physical defensive ends in the league

There seems to be something a little different about the way Riley Reiff has conducted himself this offseaon vs. last.

Riley ReiffT Riley Reiff and G Rob Sims

Maybe it's the comfort level that comes with being a second-year player.

Maybe it's the fact that he knows exactly where he'll be at in 2013 -- left tackle -- and there's a sense of confidence that comes with that.

It could also be the 10 pounds of muscle Reiff put on since last season to better prepare himself to be the Lions' starting left tackle. Reiff played last season at 305 pounds, but told me he was up to 315 at the end of mini-camp.

Reiff handled himself well in that H-back role for the Lions last season and he held his own in his only start of the season vs. Houston, when he filled in for the injured Jeff Backus.

The website graded Reiff as the team's best run blocker in 2012.

"Riley's doing great," said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan when asked about Reiff during mini-camp.

"When we drafted him that was a role we envisioned for him. He's done a great job there and he's making progress every day.

"I hope he keeps making those steps every day of practice come training camp. We feel really, really confident in his ability to do a great job for us."

Reiff will be one of three new starters along the offensive line this season, but his job as protector of quarterback Matthew Stafford's blindside is the probably the most important.

The extra 10 pounds should help him anchor vs. the bull rush and hold up against some of the more physical defensive ends in the league.

Backus, who was a part-time coaching intern for the Lions during the offseason, spent a lot of time with Reiff, the same way he did after practices last year when Reiff was a rookie.

"The reason we drafted him is we thought he was a long term left tackle," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said.

"Whether he can hold that position, whether he can be productive for us there, that will be determined (in) training camp and preseason games and things like that. That's where he's going to settle in."

Reiff has been settling in at left tackle nicely this offseason and now looks comfortable.

We'll see what a full offseason of development and 10 extra pounds have done for him when the pads come on in August and Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah and Co. are coming after him for real.