The Detroit Lions had lost both tackles and a guard from last season’s regular starting lineup as the team wrapped up its first full week of training camp.
While Riley Reiff was selected in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, veteran Jason Fox was only able to play in one game due to a knee injury last year.
Only center Dominic Raiola and guard Rob Sims started all 16 games in 2012 and will do so again this year for the 13th time.
At the other guard position, rookie Larry Warford, undrafted free agent Jake Scott, and undrafted backup center Dylan Gandy have all seen action.
“Whoever is out there knows what they’re doing and what we need to do,” says Reiff. This is going to work, whoever you are out there.
It’s been a year since longtime left tackle Jeff Backus announced his retirement, and fellow lineman Gosder Cherilus has signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts. Stephen Peterman, a guard who started every game last season, has been signed by the New York Jets.
Raiola and Sims, an eight-year veteran acquired via trade from Seattle in 2010, have played nearly all of the Lions’ first-team snaps this summer. Reiff benefited from Backus’ advice and time spent with him during last season’s and this year’s summer training sessions.
Backus started every game for the Penguins for the first 12 seasons of his career. “I just tried to study and learn from him,” said Reiff, who started every game in his first 12 seasons with the exception of one. “He knows exactly what he’s doing in the league,” says the seasoned professional.
Fox has appeared in five games since being selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, including one last season before being placed on the injured list.
The competition for the second guard position has been the most heated .’s Warford was brought in as a third-round draft pick in April after the team signed free agent Scott from Philadelphia in the summer.
Gandy is in his eighth season with the team and worked out with the same group on Friday
Coach Jim Schwartz warned against making too many assumptions about who would play where in the game early in the season.
He cautioned against making rash decisions. You can bet that all of them will be in the running. They’re all working extremely hard.
“It will come down to who can maintain consistency and dependability over time”
Last season, the Lions finished third in total offense, but only one-quarter of that came from the ground game. Reggie Bush and Mikel Leshoure, both free agents, are expected to be used in short-yardage situations.
Only eight teams allowed fewer sacks than Detroit in 2012, and the coaching staff would like to see some of those practices continue with the new offensive line.
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