Jonah Jackson: ‘Goal’s the Same’ for Dinged up Lions’ Offensive Line

Jonah Jackson

Getty Jonah Jackson blocks off Eddie Goldman of the Bears in 2021.

The Detroit Lions figured to have one of the best offensive lines in football entering into the 2021 season, but before things even started, injuries convened to prevent the starting group from taking a snap together.

Taylor Decker was lost to an unfortunate hand injury, and forced Penei Sewell to move to left tackle, which pressed Matt Nelson into duty at right tackle. Now, after Week 4, Frank Ragnow will be sidelined which means Evan Brown will be forced to step in at center.

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While Detroit’s line has done a nice job to stay above water all things considered, reality says at a certain point, injuries may start to take their toll on the roster. That kind of excuse isn’t acceptable to Jonah Jackson, who has all of a sudden become one of the leaders up front thanks to everyone who has departed around him.

Speaking with the media on Monday, October 4 in an interview posted to, Jackson was asked about what the Lions have had to battle through so far, and if the goals should be altered or changed for the Lions. The answer, according to the lineman, was a resounding no.

“I definitely still think the goal’s the same and still think we are capable of doing that, it’s a matter of executing,” Jackson said. “Like I said before, Hank (Fraley) and everyone has us ready to roll. No matter who it is, no matter what we do, we just gotta be able to execute. The group that came in, Evan (Brown) came in, Penei (Sewell) came in. We were able to drive up and down the field easily, but it’s a matter of finishing.”

Finishing has been a big topic for the Lions and their offense, and it’s clear that the team’s leadership like Jackson believes it doesn’t much matter who is up front seeing as everyone can play. With that in mind, the expectations will remain lofty for the team’s front in 2021.

Jackson Shares Faith in Evan Brown

The Lions will have a new player coming in for Week 5 in the form of center Evan Brown. While Brown might not be a household name to many Lions fans right now, Jackson has faith in the lineman finding a way to impact the game positively considering his best traits on the field have been obvious to his teammates for a long time.

“Evan’s a very very very very smart guy. He’s a highly intelligent dude,” Jackson told the media. “He knows ball, he knows what’s going on and he’s able to identify everything and process stuff fast. When it comes to that aspect of the game, not much of a drop off at all.”

What Jackson said about Brown seemed to be the case on the field as the center didn’t look overmatched in his first game. The fact that the team and players have confidence in him is great news for the Lions as they try to replace one of the better centers in football in Ragnow.

Lions Offensive Line Improved for 2021

To say what the Lions are doing on offense up front all things considered given who has been shuffled in and out is impressive might be an understatement. The Lions have famously struggled to run the football, and this season, they are averaging a decent 105.7 yards per-game early on. Even in spite of the Taylor Decker injury, Detroit’s group is doing well with Penei Sewell, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Vaitai and Matt Nelson leading the way up front. It’s a far cry from some of the Detroit lines of the past, which have struggled to get off to good starts on the field.

So far, it’s good to see the Detroit front matching the lofty expectations that were thrown their way ahead of a new season even as injuries have caused problems. As Jackson seems to think, the expectations don’t have to change much for the team even in spite of their possible limitations.

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