Lions’ problems are ‘from the neck up,’ LB Reggie Ragland says

Detroit News

Reggie Ragland knows a thing or two about winning. You could argue, it’s all he knows. Outside of his first NFL season in Buffalo, where he was sidelined the entire year with an injury, the Detroit Lions linebacker has won, and won big, at every level.

How many guys can say they’ve won a state championship in high school, a national championship in college and a Super Bowl? Probably not too many. So in training camp, when Ragland said he saw the same qualities in this Detroit team as he did with last year’s Kansas City squad, it raised some eyebrows. 

Or maybe those were eye rolls. It can be tough to tell on a Zoom call. But after an 0-2 start to the season, and coming off an embarrassing 42-21 loss in Green Bay where the Packers chewed up a tough-to-stomach 258 yards on the ground, Ragland wasn’t ready to back down on his claim this Lions team has what it takes to turn things around. 

“Man, nothing is missing,” Ragland said Monday. “We just gotta go out there and just playing (freaking) ball, man. That’s all it is. We just got to stay together and we can’t unravel when things are not going our way. We got all the daggone pieces.”

To Ragland, the Lions’ issues are far more mental than physical. 

“Man, from the neck up,” Ragland said when asked what separates NFL teams. “Everybody is physically (gifted), but it’s the mental side of the game, man. We just got to keep getting better at that, knowing what to do.”

More: Patricia shoots down report Lions had draft-day division with Jeff Okudah selection

Related to the team’s mental status in games, coach Matt Patricia’s message coming out of Green Bay has been getting his team to play more even-keeled. Center Frank Ragnow echoed that message on Monday. 

“Obviously it’s a good thing we’re getting off to hot starts,” Ragnow said. “I think one thing that we have to realize is we have to keep going. We can’t ride the wave of the game, especially this year without fans, and really that environment, you kind of have to control your own energy and create your own energy and maintain your own energy, and keep your foot on the pedal. That’s one thing we really need to pick up as an offense. It’s good that we’re starting fast, and we’re doing good things, but we have to maintain that consistently throughout all 60 minutes.”  

The window to turn things around is closing quickly. The Lions will look to figure out their issues next Sunday when they travel to Arizona to play the undefeated Cardinals. 

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