Lions offensive line begins working with new parts

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Lions had to make changes after going 4-12 last season. They wasted no time in doing so.

The shuffle on offense began immediately after free agency began, and the process to remake the offensive line continued throughout the offseason. Gone are Jeff Backus, Stephen Peterman, and Gosder Cherilus, and now, opportunity is there for Riley Reiff and others to step up.

With Organized Team Activities beginning in Allen Park this week, the big men up front are getting their first chance to work together - and with the rest of the high-powered offensive parts.

"I'm familiar with all these guys," Matthew Stafford said.

"Whether they were starting and playing for us last year or not, they've been around and I know them. They've come together well and that's what this process is for."

Reiff is expected to fill the hole at left tackle filled by longtime stalwart Backus, Jim Schwartz made that very clear. The head coach said talk of Reiff playing right guard weren't authored by him.

"That talk came from people other than our organization...We're probably gonna let him settle at one position," he said, coming after a rookie year that saw the first-rounder play left and right tackle.

"The reason we drafted him was because we thought he was a long-term left tackle."

Dylan Gandy and rookie Larry Warford are set to compete for the spot at guard left by Peterman. Wednesday, Gandy got the snaps with the first team, alongside Jason Fox at right tackle.

The turnover may seem alarming to some, but Stafford said having younger players would seem to help with the athleticism to go with the pass-heavy offense.

"I don't expect any kind of a drop-off. I think we're extremely talented up front," he explained.

The new group is hitting the field together for the first time, and will dictate much of the team's success, or failures this season.

"That kind of stuff will start figuring itself out, and we'll be ready to go," Stafford said.

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli .

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