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It didn’t last for long and it wasn’t in full pads, but there was a glorious sight at Detroit Lions minicamp on Thursday afternoon. The entire projected starting offensive line did reps together in the team drill portion of the practice.
It was the first time the line of five starters had appeared together since last preseason when left tackle Taylor Decker suffered a hand injury. By the time Decker returned to the lineup in November, center Frank Ragnow was lost for the year with a toe injury.
But there they were on a sunny Thursday afternoon, aligned together when the first-team offense took the field late in practice. From left to right: Decker, Jonah Jackson, Ragnow, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Penei Sewell.
After practice, the Pro Bowl center talked about how important the chemistry and familiarity will be for the Lions line.
“It’s really beneficial for us, even just to spend time together because the chemistry with the o-line is huge,” Ragnow told reporters. “Even if the tempo is different, it’s just huge for us to understand how we all think and how we all flow.”
It’s important because the Lions are asking a lot from the line under new coordinator Ben Johnson. Ragnow explained,
“There’s a lot of unique looks, especially on third down, where some things have to happen without you even saying anything. The more reps and the more time you spend together, you understand how I might handle that look and how we may pass off that — or what I might be thinking to make the call, so they understand.”
Again, the reps were not in pads, so it’s important to not read too much into the actual action. But Ragnow looked unencumbered by the foot throughout the week. He acknowledged that “last year was very frustrating” but “I don’t even think about it” anymore, and it shows in his movement.