MIKE O'HARA

O'Hara: Reiff gets a bang from practicing in pads

Posted Jul 30, 2012

Practice by practice, drill by drill, hit by hit, Riley Reiff is experiencing how a rookie offensive lineman progresses in his first NFL training camp with the Lions.

Next step: the first practice in full pads on Tuesday.

For an offensive lineman, putting on full pads – helmets, shoulder pads and padded pants - for the first time isn’t as big of a jump as it might be for players at other positions.

It’s the nature of the position for linemen on both sides to thump and bump in practice, even without full pads.

But it’s still another step in development, and Reiff, the Lions’ first-round draft pick from Iowa, is looking forward to it.

“It’s exciting,” Reiff said after Monday’s practice. “You put on full pads -- if you’re a football player, you love that stuff.”

Reiff has worked at left and right tackle in the first four days of camp, and he has lived up to his draft position.

Starting guard Rob Sims, beginning his third seasons with the Lions after four in Seattle, knows what rookies face in their first practice in full pads.

“The first time in pads, you’re always a little anxious to get out there and see how it really feels when it’s full go, when it’s live,” Sims said.

“I know my first day back in Seattle, it was like that – a little nervous to see what’s what.

“He (Reiff) has handled it every step of the way the right way, and he’ll do it tomorrow, too.”

Coach Jim Schwartz sets the practice schedule so the team gradually builds into the first practice in pads. Players wore shoulder pads on Sunday, the third day of camp, and were out of pads on Monday.

“For a lot of those guys, our practice yesterday (Sunday) was every bit as difficult for them. The reason we have full pads, we have a couple periods where we might go live.

“We might take running backs to the ground. We want to have the pants on them.

“The practice can be just as physical with the shoulder pads on them, particularly for a lineman. You get a lot of evaluation out of a day like yesterday.

“It’s always good to get that day under you before you take the next one.

"It was the first day since January that most of these guys had a pair of shoulder pads on. We thudded the running backs in a couple of periods.”