| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions’ Matt Patricia explains move to demote Amani Oruwariye
Lions coach Matt Patricia explains decision to demote Amani Oruwariye to bench with Jeff Okudah and Desmond Trufant starting outside, Nov. 11, 2020.
Few impact plays. Fewer leads held. And even fewer throats stepped on.
Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland was clearly fed up with all of it Wednesday when he underscored the need for the defense to show urgency and close out games as the team tries to climb out of a 3-5 hole in the second half of the season.
Ragland was noticeably bothered during a Zoom conference call with reporters.
“If you’re up and you’ve got a chance to win it at the end, you’ve got to win it,” he said. “You’ve got to take over. You’ve got to quit waiting. So we’ve got to quit waiting. We’ve just got to go take them over. Because all the games we done played in the beginning — probably except for one, and that was Green Bay — other than that we’ve done been in the games.
“In some way or some form we just let them have it. So we’ve just got to take control, take over, stop (BS-ing).”
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Lions’ misfortunes this season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has turned over the ball four times in the past two games. And the defense has been caught with 10 players on the field three times in the past two games. But Ragland knows his unit has been disappointing.
The linebacker corps is the backbone of the Lions’ versatile defense, but it has stood out for its lack of playmaking. Ragland and Jamie Collins are the only linebackers with a sack, with one apiece. Collins is the only linebacker with an interception. And Jarrad Davis, a part-time player now, is the only linebacker with a forced fumble or fumble recovery.
“As a linebacker, I feel like I’ve always got to make plays and always be impactful on the defense because we’ve got to do some of everything,” Ragland said. “We’ve got to play run, we’ve got to play coverage. In some ways, D-line has got to play run and pass rush, but we’ve got to a little bit of everything.
“So we’ve always got to be impactful in the game at all times. We have to do a better job as a whole of making plays and then just ‘un-messing’ up everything. If something’s messed up, we’ve got to do a good job of fixing it out there. So we’ve got to keep getting better as a whole.”
The Lions return to Ford Field this week, where they haven’t won in more than a year. They’ve lost three games at home this year and they’re on a seven-game losing streak. They haven’t won at Ford Field since they beat the New York Giants, 31-26, on Oct. 27, 2019.
Ragland didn’t want to make excuses about the lack of homefield advantage or stadium energy with hardly any fans in attendance because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Man, it’s a pandemic but we’ve still got to win games,” he said. “All the games we lost a home, shoot, we were up and we let them come back. So a lot of them, we’ve just got to go out there and win the game and stop waiting.
“We know we’ve got to put our foot on their throats and then we’ve got to finish it out. So that’s been on us as whole. So we’ve got to do better at that and to win in this league you’ve got to win at home. So we’ve got to do a better job at that.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.