When this NFL season began, no one thought the Detroit Lions would be able to do anything of note, with the possible exception of the Lions themselves.
But after starting 1-6, the team has seemingly started to find its soul, as it has won six of its last seven games and even defeated playoff-caliber squads such as the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
Many will point to the improved play of quarterback Jared Goff or the success of running back Jamaal Williams, who already has 14 touchdowns this year, as the biggest reasons why the Lions are suddenly in contention for a playoff spot in the NFC.
But former NFL executive Scott Pioli – a man who won three Super Bowls as Vice President of Player Personnel with the New England Patriots – gave lots of credit to someone else entirely.
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 ? #NFL pic.twitter.com/hpQyH8S3VD
— Scott Pioli (@scottpioli51) December 20, 2022
Pioli singled out center Frank Ragnow, a Pro Bowl selection during the 2020 season, as a big reason why Detroit has turned things around.
Ragnow’s Contributions Should Be Complimented
The former front office man praised Ragnow’s intelligence and ability to hold opposing pass rushers at bay, which he feels has enabled Goff to play more effectively.
Indeed, after throwing six interceptions in the Lions’ first seven games, Goff has thrown just one pick during their current spurt, and he has zero interceptions in their last six contests.
Offensive linemen are the unsung heroes of the NFL, as many of them go unnoticed, especially by more casual fans, but Pioli pointed out the fact that Detroit made Ragnow the highest-paid center in the league this past offseason.
Between men like Ragnow and rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, perhaps the Lions have the very beginning of a winning nucleus they can build around.