Just as Pride Rock serves as the foundation for the Lions’ kingdom, Frank Ragnow serves as the anchor for the Detroit Lions’ offensive line, providing stability and strength for the team’s success.
Ragnow had one of the toughest AND most rewarding years of his career in 2022. After his 2021 season was cut short due to foot surgery, Ragnow suffered a similar injury in the first week of the 2022 season. He battled through pain and discomfort all season, yet he still managed to earn his second Pro Bowl nod.
“The Hardest Year of My Career”
Despite the injury, Ragnow played at a high level all season, allowing just one sack in the past three seasons and earning the sixth-highest PFF run blocking grade among all NFL centers (82.1). He admits that he’s not playing at the level he should be, but he’s grateful for the support of his teammates who have been there for him throughout the shuffling and changes required to accommodate his injury.
“It’s been probably the hardest year of my career, besides the year my dad passed,” Ragnow said. “It’s a lot to go through, not just the pain but also the confidence, doubt, and focus that come with it. To be recognized and to pursue through all that is pretty cool and rewarding.”
Frank Ragnow has the Support of His Teammates
Ragnow credits his teammates for their support and for not batting an eye at the changes required to accommodate his injury. He said that there have been times after wins where he’s just relieved to have made it through the game and thankful for his wife who has been there for him a lot.
Pro Bowl Nod A Dream Come True
Ragnow said that being selected to the Pro Bowl is a dream come true. Most notably, it’s one of the few ways offensive linemen get recognized in the league. He admitted that he almost started crying alone in the hot tub after finding out, but he kept it together.
Impacting Jared Goff’s Level of Play
Former NFL executive Scott Pioli, who is a regular guest on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” said that Ragnow is making the difference for the Detroit Lions and their offensive line. Pioli believes that Ragnow’s intelligence, ability to identify the defense, and point things out have helped quarterback Jared Goff become a better player and more comfortable.
The team at #GMFB wanted to know if there was a member of the @Lions that deserves a moment in the spotlight. My guess is this guy doesn't want the spotlight, but embodies everything HC Dan Campbell & GM Brad Holmes want their culture to be about. Your thoughts #OnePride ? #NFLpic.twitter.com/hpQyH8S3VD
“The guy that is making the difference for the Detroit Lions…is center Frank Ragnow,” Pioli said. “When you watch him in games, he’s the guy who is ID’ing the defense. I really believe that his intelligence and his ability to see things and point things out has helped Jared Goff become a better player and become more comfortable.”
Investment in the Offensive Line
The Detroit Lions have invested heavily in their offensive line, with three of their 2022 starters being first-round picks. Center Frank Ragnow, tackles Taylor Decker, and Penei Sewell anchor the unit. Additionally, left guard Jonah Jackson was a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The unit lived up to its billing, fueling a prominent run game and keeping quarterback Jared Goff upright.
Frank Ragnow is a Warrior in the Trenches
Left guard Jonah Jackson had nothing but praise for Ragnow. Jackson called him “the anchor to our offense” and “everything we embody as an organization.” Ragnow’s resilience set the tone for the rest of the offensive line, which faced numerous injuries throughout the season. Despite this, the unit managed to excel and rank among the best in the league in key metrics such as sacks allowed, sack rate, and rushing yards per game.
The Lions’ offensive line allowed just 23 sacks and a sack rate of 3.92%, both ranking third in the league. They paved the way for 128.2 rushing yards per game, a franchise high since 1997, and helped end a 1,000-yard rushing drought that had lasted eight seasons. Defenses only sacked quarterback Jared Goff 23 times, just one shy of his career low.
A Talent-Stacked Unit led by Frank Ragnow
The Lions’ offensive line is a testament to the talent that the team has stockpiled at the position. Credit also deserves to head the way of the excellent coaching of Hank Fraley. Despite playing zero snaps with their starting five on the field, the unit continued to dominate and set records. The entire starting five remains under contract for next season. Four of the five remain under contract for 2024, as well. This talented and resilient unit positions the Lions’ offense to continue its success and make history.
A Big Reason for Detroit’s Historic Season
The Lions threw for 4,000 yards and rushed for more than 2,000 yards for the first time in franchise history. Undoubtedly, the offensive line played a big role in this historic feat. The unit helped the Lions pile up the third-most points and the fifth-most yards in the league overall. With Frank Ragnow leading the way, the Lions’ OL is a force, and a big reason for the team’s success.
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