Most of the time in life, an arrogant attitude isn’t something that will take a person far, but most folks also aren’t trying to play offensive line in the NFL, where big defenders constantly try to find new ways to humiliate an offense.
Detroit Lions guard Jonah Jackson did a good job to survive his rookie season in the league and avoid those moments for the most part. As a result, he could be feeling like he’s on the right track for his career. All of that has impressed veteran center Frank Ragnow, who admitted he sees a bit of a new edge about Jackson heading into his second season in the league.
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Speaking with the media on Wednesday, September 8 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Ragnow discussed what he’s seen in Jackson thus far this offseason, and made the admission he’s seen a little bit of a cocky, arrogant edge about the guard when he’s around his teammates.
“Just some arrogant statements amongst the guys every once in a while, walking around like knowing you can do it, and that’s huge for offensive line play,” Ragnow said with a smile.
So why is that arrogance good news and not bad news in this sense? For starters, it shows that Jackson has confidence as well as the “it factor” which can be important for a lineman within his development. Certainly, Ragnow would know given the fast start he’s enjoyed to his own career.
“He kind of last year naturally was really football smart, had those instincts, which was impressive as a rookie. This year I think one thing I can really speak about is his confidence, I think that’s huge for offensive line play,” Ragnow told the media. “An offensive lineman that lacks confidence isn’t going to be a good one. You’re not really going to see it. This year he’s confident, so it’s awesome to see him walking around with that swagger. I think that will help him.”
Jackson started every game as a rookie in 2020, and was nearly invincible on the field, which is all a young lineman can ask to be. For him to be gaining in confidence is huge, and could mean he transitions from being invincible to elite, perhaps even at Ragnow’s level where he starts to get recognized for his play.
The Lions hope that Jackson can make that transition in 2021 and beyond. If so, they may have solved another problem up front.
Dan Campbell Praised Jonah Jackson’s Work Ethic
It isn’t just teammates that see a change in Jackson, but the coaching staff as well. Most everyone knows the team’s offensive line is going to be a significant strength in 2021, and many people believe the team will be set thanks to some of the veteran studs they have in the mix like Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. Few are calling out other names like Jonah Jackson, but the young lineman has a big fan in his head coach Dan Campbell.
During his August 2 press conference, Campbell talked unfiltered about Jackson, 24, and what he’s meant to the team already. As Campbell said, Jackson has been hard at work all offseason, which is a good way to get things started for a new season.
“Jonah’s one of a handful of guys who’s been here since basically I got this job, been in this building, working like everyday,” Campbell told reporters. “I’ve seen him since February. I already know what he’s all about and I know the work he’s put in and I know what his body is able to put out because we’ve had our eyes on him and he’s a workaholic, he’s hungry, he’s smart, and I tell you what, this kid’s a leader now. He’s cut from the right cloth.”
Confident with a side of leader is something which could be a big deal for the development of Detroit’s line in 2021 and beyond.
Jackson’s Career Stats and Highlights
While he may not have been an All-Pro, Pro Bowler or earned any type of accolades for his play thus far, that doesn’t change the fact that Jackson has been a strong player for the Lions since he joined the team last season. Perhaps most significantly, Jackson started 16 games as a rookie and was a load up front for the Lions considering his ability to play solid football. It’s not often that the Lions have a young lineman capable of playing a starting role right off the bat while not looking out of place in the league, but that’s just what Jackson brought to the mix for the team as a rookie in 2020.
Here’s some tape of Jackson from college:
While he was a first-year man out of college, Jackson showed the kind of toughness and grit that could make him a fixture in the NFL. That’s something which his teammates see, and if he has a cocky, confident edge, it could show how ready he is to dominate.