Zach Zenner, Riley Reiff Shine in Detroit Lions 2015 Debut
The Detroit Lions got off to a sold start in the 2015 pre-season with a 23-3 win over the New York Jets, and a pair of players with local ties played key roles in the week one victory.
South Dakota State grad and undrafted free agent Zach Zenner carried the ball more than any other Lions' back in the game, 13 carries for 55 yards, 14 of those yards coming on one play.
Afterwards, Zenner told reporters he's got plenty of things to work on after his first professional game:
I’d like to be more physical in the passing game and pass protection and keep my feet a little better after cuts.
I just go when they tell me to go. Obviously I see who I’m with in the huddle, but at the same time I’m focusing on my job.
Zenner will continue to get reps with the second string offense Thursday night against the Redskins. He should get plenty of carries as running back Joique Bell continues to miss time recovering from knee and Achilles tendon surgeries.
Former Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah was Detroit's top rusher against the Jets, racking up 67 yards on seven carries with the first team offense.
One of the players opening those holes for Abdullah was Riley Reiff (# 71 in the video above). The Parkston native and University of Iowa grad is entering his third season as the Lions starting left tackle. Coming into the season there had been some talk that Reiff might be moved to right tackle, but head coach Jim Caldwell told MLive.com that based on the way Reiff has performed in training camp so far, he's not going anywhere:
He's performed well.
He's done a nice job in his pass protection, nice job of run blocking and he's playing like you would anticipate him to play. He doesn't make many mistakes.
Reiff has also been impressive this summer going head-to-head with up-and-coming defensive end Ezekiel Ansah during one-one one drills, standing his ground against a player who has 15.5 sacks to his credit.
One thing Reiff isn't doing in training camp is talking. The soft spoken South Dakotan has yet to grant an interview to the Detroit media this summer.