The Detroit Lions might be the most injury-riddled tam in the NFL during the 2021 season, and that’s especially true after the team’s latest loss.
Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, who went on injured reserve last week with a toe injury and figured to perhaps return in a month or so has now been lost for the season. That’s because Ragnow is having surgery on the injured toe, and will be lost for the rest of the season.
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On Tuesday morning, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network revealed that Ragnow would be undergoing surgery on the toe, and would be missing the rest of the 2021 season so that he might be ready for 2022.
Ragnow exited Week 4’s game in Chicago with the injury and missed Week 5, and Evan Brown came in as his replacement. While Brown is not Ragnow, the Lions didn’t have any trouble with snaps, and the team managed to survive the situation well all things considered. Brown will now be the guy moving forward for the Lions at center the rest of the season.
Brown Becomes Lions’ Starting Center
The good news about this injury problem? The Lions have already been able to ease in Brown, who used the preseason to prepare in a big way for this moment. Ragnow didn’t get much run at the time given the Lions wanted to rest their starters and not overwork them. Interestingly enough, Brown had the most snaps of any player in the preseason in Detroit with a whopping 154 as pointed out by Pro Football Focus.
Brown has played in 13 games in his career, so he does have NFL experience to rely on. For that reason, he’s not like other possible replacements that could come on the roster. Brown was undrafred out of SMU in 2018, but ended up cracking the New York Giants roster in 2018 before being waived in 2019. He would go on to spend parts of 2020 with the Cleveland Browns before coming to Detroit. This year, Brown showed himself as stable enough to make the team.
Thus far, Brown has a 55.3 ranking from PFF for his work which is good for 27th out of 35 centers, but with a bigger chance to show himself, it will be interesting to see if that changes. He’s simply the guy moving forward.
Ragnow’s Career Stats and Highlights
The loss of Ragnow cannot be understated to the Lions this season. He is obviously the gold standard for the team and perhaps even at center in the league. Thus far in his career, there is very positive feelings about where Ragnow’s play is heading, because he’s been a solid player for the Lions up front along their offensive line. A first-round pick in 2018 out of Arkansas, Ragnow has played guard and center for the team before switching back to his natural position in the middle of the line.
So far, that move has aided him in a big way in the last few seasons. Through the 2021 season, Ragnow has started 45 games for Detroit and has been a rock for the team’s front. He cracked the 2021 Pro Bowl as well as being named a second-team All-Pro. As a result of this, many see Ragnow’s future as a bright one in Detroit.
Here’s a look at some of his better highlights from early in his career:
It will be tough for the Lions to go without Ragnow, but the hope for the team is he can rehab the toe injury and get ready for 2022 in a big way.