(Until training camp starts at the end of July, Lions Lowdown will post five times a week using the list format.)
Riley Reiff, a first-round pick in 2012, was never expected to play a major role last season. He was drafted to fill in for Jeff Backus when he retired. Now the left tackle position is Reiff’s. Here are five reasons he will have an impact this season.
1. Even though he started just once (the one game Backus missed in 12 seasons), Reiff did line up as a tight end throughout the season allowing him to get comfortable with the speed of the game.
2. Reiff spent all last season learning from Backus who was a willing teacher. Might as well learn from the best.
3. Reiff will still be able to pick Backus’ brain this year because the retiree has returned as a part-time coaching intern. He’s been on the field assisting the coaches, giving pointers to guys one-on-one.
4. Reiff will line up next to veteran left guard Rob Sims which will help.
5. Overall, Reiff has to be more comfortable with the whole situation. He’s a guy who, like Backus, as born to play football. This year he will be set loose.