Lions’ Rob Sims stated the obvious today when he was talking about the left tackle position in 2012. Here is what he had to say on who would start in this this article by the Detroit Free Press.
Right now, I believe it’s Jeff Backus, and that’s the way we go.
There likely won’t be any sort of a competition before the season starts at the position. Even though Backus is coming off a surgery, he signed a 2-year deal in March. As you know, Backus has started 177 consecutive games for the Detroit Lions. Backus has his moments (Jared Allen comes to mind), but he still a reliable player.
Riley Reiff may be the franchise’s future left tackle. However, he needs to watch and learn from Backus before taking over one of the most important positions in the NFL. I’m not even sure if we see Reiff play a down at left tackle unless of injury in 2012.
So where does Reiff fit in for 2012?
On the other side, the job of Gosder Cherilus shouldn’t be secured. I expect Cherilus and Reiff to be battling for the job during the summer. Ultimately, Cherilus likely will start the first Sunday against the Rams.
Even with Reiff second on the depth chart, I think there is a good chance he finds his way into the starting lineup later in the year. Any signs of struggle by Cherilus and I won’t be surprised to see Jim Schwartz pull the trigger on the rookie.
Also, I wouldn’t count out Reiff ending up with Stephen Peterman’s job at right guard later in the season.
In the end, there is a good chance (I’m putting it at 50-50) that sometime next year, Riley Reiff will start his first NFL game.