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Lions weighing options for beat-up O-line

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By The Sports Xchange

The Detroit Lions are down to one fully healthy offensive tackle, but coach Jim Schwartz said it was still too early to tell if they would have to sign another.

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“Potentially, we may have to look for some help,” he said on Monday. “We just have to see this week how it goes and see where all the guys are.”

Here’s the rundown:

  • Starting left tackle Riley Reiff, a Parkston native, injured his hamstring in the first half Sunday but returned early in the fourth quarter after Hilliard went down.

“Reiff was limited when he did return,” Schwartz said. “I kept a close eye on him from the sideline to make sure it wasn’t a situation where he was going to hurt himself or the team.

“He was doing his job out there, so that was a little bit encouraging.”

The only other tackle on the roster and practice squad is rookie LaAdrian Waddle, who played first left tackle and then right tackle on Sunday.

“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Schwartz said. “He didn’t just sneak onto the 53-man roster. I think he started off better than he finished (Sunday). But he did his job. He was prepared and he did some good things. Like any player, there’s things he can do better.”

Had Reiff not been able to return Sunday, interior offensive lineman Dylan Gandy would have played tackle. That’s how thin they are at tackle.

“We could be forced to make some kind of move, but it’s too soon to tell,” Schwartz said.

The best case scenario would be that Reiff and Fox would be ready to play this week and that Hilliard won’t have to miss more than a week or two. But there are other options available.

  • Starting right tackle Jason Fox has played in just two games, out first with a groin injury and now with a knee injury. Schwartz said he was improving, though he didn’t say whether he’d be able to return to practice this week.
  • Right tackle Corey Hilliard, who has replaced Fox at right tackle, injured his knee Sunday. He was scheduled to have an MRI Monday, but Schwartz did not share the results.

“I don’t know if that is a day-to-day thing, but it’s not a long-term thing,” he said.

The Lions cut a pair of tackles at the end of training camp — Kevin Haslam and Austin Holtz. Both know the offense and, if healthy, could offer short-term help. There are also some veteran free agent tackles still on the market - Jammal Brown, Jared Gaither, Max Starks, Frank Omiyale and Wayne Hunter, to name a few.

Also, the NFL trade deadline is Oct. 29.

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