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Reiff's versatility leaves position in flux for next season

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — As was the case last year, the Lions will likely enter this offseason unsure what position Riley Reiff will play next season.

Coaches this week praised Reiff's performance at left tackle this year, but they also think he's capable of playing other positions.

"I think he's shown that he can play left tackle because he's done it," coach Jim Caldwell said. "And if you can play left tackle, you can play anywhere."

The Lions invested in their interior offensive line with a draft pick in the first three rounds each of the last three years, but since taking Reiff in the first round in 2012, the only tackle they've drafted is Corey Robinson in the seventh round this year.

Presumably, if the Lions found an upgrade at left tackle in free agency or the draft, they could move Reiff to right tackle to improve two spots.

"I think that's worth considering," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said of moving Reiff.

But, Cooter also said he could see Reiff continuing to hold the left tackle job beyond this season.

"I think he's athletic enough and smart enough to handle whatever we would need, but I see him locking down our left tackle spot as we go forward," Cooter said.

Although Reiff hasn't been a premier player at the position, he's been a durable and solid option the past three years, missing just one game. He played well enough for the Lions to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, too.

Reiff, like the rest of the offensive line, struggled a bit to start the year, but after giving up five sacks in the first 10 games, he's only allowed one in the past five, according to Pro Football Focus.

"He handles the toughest rushers there are in our league," Caldwell said. "Some of those guys, he's not going to pitch a shutout; it doesn't happen. But I can tell you this, he'll win his fair share."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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