Could Foster start at right tackle?
George Foster started at right tackle for the third straight game Saturday and it's not out of the question he stays there when the Lions open the season Sept. 7 at Atlanta. It's a scenario I'm going to examine in tomorrow's paper, but here's a preview:
Though most remember him for his false-start penalties last year, Foster has been "solid" Rod Marinelli's word throughout the preseason. He's had one penalty, a false start in the exhibition opener against the Giants, and hasn't allowed a sack in what amounts to four quarters of work. He appears more comfortable in the Lions' new zone-blocking offense, though there still are holes.
"I think he's much more calm," offensive coordinator Jim Colletto said. "We're doing the things he's been used to doing from all his years in Denver so he has less questions. He kind of knows what we're asking him to do."
There's a lot of money and expectations tied up in rookie first-round pick Gosder Cherilus, who's played pretty well this preseason, too. I'd fully expect Cherilus to start at some point this year, but Colletto said last week Cherilus still needs to refine several areas of his game.
"Goz has to learn to play with a little better bent knee, not play so high, learn to control his hands a little bit in pass protection because he hits everybody in the facemask all the time, and little better sets in his pass protection," Colletto said. "As far as his skill and his toughness and his abilities, there's no question. So it's just a matter of him getting comfortable, learning those skills a little bit better."
Cherilus played one series late in the first half Saturday next to starting right guard Stephen Peterman and has taken intermittent reps with the first team all camp. He still could win the right-tackle job, but Colletto said it's not out of the question Cherilus begins his NFL career as a backup.
"Goz is going to be a hell of a player," Colletto said. "I'm not sure he's going to be ready Day 1. He'll end up being the starting tackle at this place eventually. When that'll be or where, I don't know. But I don't know if he's right now ready to carry the load and George has been doing real well."