Cherilus Hasn't Secured Right Tackle Job

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was non-committal while discussing mammoth offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus during Thursday's post-practice press briefing. And that doesn't bode too well for the third-year player, and former top draft choice ...

If nothing else, Lions coach Jim Schwartz didn't seem sold on Gosder Cherilus.

The coach was non-committal while discussing the team's mammoth offensive lineman during Thursday's post-practice press briefing. That doesn't bode well for a player who, despite the organization's heavy investment, has yet to deliver the quality and continuity the team expected when they made him a top pick in 2008.

The Boston College product, noted for his collegiate protection of the Falcons' Matt Ryan, Cherilus has never solidified the right tackle position that he was expected to dominate, and thus far in 2010, still hasn't made it his own.

Although Cherilus has taken most of the first-team reps in the off-season training activities, he continues to give major reps away to aging veteran Jon Jansen. The team is also throwing other, relatively unknown names into the mix, including fourth-round pick Jason Fox, Corey Hilliard, and Ohio State product Kirk Barton.

According to Schwartz, Cherilus' first-round status means very little.

"Once you get here it doesn't matter if you're a first round pick or free-agent," said Schwartz. "Performance has to earn you the job and has to keep you in the job, and Gosder's no different from anybody else."

The Lions seem settled on several positions, including center (Dominic Raiola), left tackle (Jeff Backus), and even right guard (Stephen Peterman). They're also happy with the progress of the left guard position, in particular veteran Rob Sims, although the position doesn't have a determined starter.

When asked directly if the right tackle position was up-in-the-air, Schwartz responded, "Yeah."

Schwartz said those spots were a "little bit more settled than some other positions," while discussing the concern at right tackle. And although the Lions would love to have an better idea of who will start opposite Backus, Schwartz didn't seem overly concerned.

"We talked about wanting to have continuity up front, and that will develop in training camp and develop in pre-season games, but there's nothing set in stone on the offensive line (other than) center, left tackle, and left guard."

Said Schwartz, "We're getting a lot of guys reps and letting it iron itself out."


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