Of the three new starters on the offensive line for the Lions in 2013, none are going to be scrutinized more closely than left tackle Riley Reiff.
Reiff is taking over for the retired Jeff Backus, a move that has been met with concern from those who think Reiff’s body type and playing style make him a better fit at guard than he’ll be protecting Matthew Stafford’s blind side. As part of an effort to prove those people wrong, Reiff has put on 10 pounds this offseason that he thinks will make him more able to tangle with physical edge rushers once the regular season rolls around.
After watching a heavier Reiff during offseason work, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan doubled down while expressing his belief that Reiff will be up to the task.
“Riley’s doing great,” Linehan said, via the team’s website. “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.”
The expression of confidence comes as no surprise. The Lions did explore other options this offseason, but they drafted Reiff in the first round of the 2012 draft because they thought he could play and now he’s getting the opportunity to prove them right. If he does, the Lions offense should be in good shape next season.