A year ago, Jim Schwartz had real questions about the future of Gosder Cherilus.
The Detroit Lions right tackle was coming off a rocky season and was scheduled for arthroscopic knee surgery. The coach didn’t know what to make of Cherilus moving forward and that’s how the former first-round draft pick wound up having to compete with over-the-hill veteran Jon Jansen for a starting job.
Fast forward a year and now Cherilus is on the mend again, this time recovering from microfracture knee surgery. This time, Schwartz doesn’t seem to have as many questions and suggests it may be a question of Cherilus being able to move forward in his career dealing with chronic knee pain.
“The biggest key is how well he can deal with the knee injuries and whether he can put them in his past, or if they're going to be a constant,” Schwartz said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
“There's plenty of players that deal with injuries that are constantly around. We're not talking about that with Matt, but maybe with Gos that's going to be something he'll have to deal with. Having to deal with it doesn't mean that you can't do the job with it.
“I'll just say this about Gos, Gos had a lot of questions last year at this time. He had some injuries, he had off-season knee surgery last year, and he hadn't been a very consistent player that year. When training camp came, Gosder won the job by being consistent and showing the consistency that he needed to as a player, and I think that continued through the year.
“He's still a developing player. He's still a young player. He's had some setbacks with injuries and how far he goes in the future is going to depend a little bit on each of those. But I feel — I think we all feel — a lot better about where he was this year as a player than the year before.”
So it sounds positive but it also sounds like the Lions may want to work to cover themselves at the position. They have an aging left tackle in Jeff Backus and the position is strong in the first round of the draft. Could the Lions consider an offensive tackle if the defensive back they need isn’t there in the first round? Don’t laugh at the idea. And, yes, we know how much help they need in the secondary.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune