Sunday was deja vu for Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland. During a red-zone drill at practice, Ragland reportedly came down with a one-handed interception and took it the length of the field for a 100-yard touchdown. While that may be a rare occurrence for most linebackers, Ragland said he only has to go back a season to remember the last time he did it.
“Last time I caught an interception and went that far was when I picked off Patrick (Mahomes) in practice last year,” Ragland said via Zoom on Sunday. “You see how that turned out. We ended up winning the Super Bowl, so hopefully the same thing can go on this year.”
While he said that with a laugh and it got a good rise out of the Lions media in the virtual room, Ragland was also meant every bit of that last sentence. He’s spent the last couple weeks as a new member of the Lions defense getting to know his guys in the locker room—an important job he welcomes as one of the most experienced veteran linebackers on the team. And he’s come away impressed with what he’s seen.
“I’m excited about this room, because we’ve got a lot of great guys, a lot of guys is talented,” Ragland said. “All they did was add me, Elijah (Lee), and Jamie (Collins) this year to solidify this group and make us a good group.”
Ragland would know what a good roster looks like. From his days at Alabama to his years in Kansas City, success seems to have followed him wherever he goes. He believes that trend can continue with his current stop in Detroit.
“Everywhere I’ve went, I’ve won, besides my first year at Buffalo when I got hurt and tore my ACL,” Ragland said. “But then I went to Kansas City, we won the Super Bowl there, we just kept inching and getting better. I see the same qualities in this team as in Kansas City. We got the pieces, we’ve just got to keep putting them together and just keep playing hard and being consistent and just keep finishing. I think we got the guys to do that.”
That’s obviously a bold statement for a team that went 3-12-1 last year, and talk is cheap in August. But there are some outside voices that believe this team is at least destined for improvement or even move into contention for an NFC North crown. Maybe Ragland is onto something.