Frank Ragnow misses practice (groin); Detroit Lions may be down 2 OL vs. Eagles




The strength of the Detroit Lions offense has quickly turned into a question mark.

Already without starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai for at least the first month of the season, the Lions could be without Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow for Sunday's season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ragnow did not practice Thursday because of the groin injury he suffered Wednesday, leaving the Lions to patch two-fifths of an offensive line that was supposed to be one of the best in the NFL this season.

[ Part of Jared Goff was missing for a while. The Lions hope he has found that piece. ]

Detroit Lions offensive line Frank Ragnow (77) talks to quarterback Jared Goff (16) during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Detroit Lions offensive line Frank Ragnow (77) talks to quarterback Jared Goff (16) during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.  

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Wednesday the team was considering several options to replace Vaitai at right guard, including moving one of Ragnow or right tackle Penei Sewell to the position. Sewell took reps at right guard and right tackle during an individual period Thursday for the second straight day.

Backup guard Logan Stenberg also played right guard in practice Thursday and is a candidate to start at the position this weekend, after playing exclusively left guard during preseason games.

"I think you're always starting with who are our best five," Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said. "I think you always start with that, but then you also within that unit, (offensive line coach Hank) Fraley actually brought it up yesterday, we're only as strong as our weakest link.

More:Season preview: A position-by-position look at Lions offense

"So you look at all the possibilities that we could potentially unfold here on Sunday, Penei moving in is certainly one with (Matt) Nelson playing (right tackle). Could that be our best five? Absolutely, but at the end of the day, is Penei as good of a guard as he is a tackle? I don't know."

Sewell said Wednesday he is willing to play wherever coaches need him on the offensive line. As a rookie, he spent all of training camp playing right tackle, then moved to left tackle before the season opener when Taylor Decker suffered a finger injury in practice.

When Decker returned at midseason, Sewell shifted back to right tackle for the rest of the year.

"I do know this about Penei Sewell: In his second year, he's light years ahead of where he was last year at this time," Johnson said. "If he was a rookie, we wouldn't even have this conversation. He wouldn't be able to handle it, but because he is a second-year player and he's really made strides this offseason, we can consider this scenario."

Evan Brown took first-team center reps in Ragnow's absence Thursday and will start at center Sunday against the Eagles if Ragnow cannot play.

Brown started 12 games at center last season while Ragnow was out with a foot injury and played with the starting unit during the one day of practice Ragnow missed in training camp.

Johnson said Ragnow was in attendance at the Lions' morning walk-through Thursday, but declined to elaborate on his health.

"I'll let coach answer that," Johnson said. "We'll leave that up to the head guy."

Backup guard Tommy Kraemer, who played right guard with the second-team offense most of the preseason, missed practice again Thursday with a back injury, and defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike (back) remains out for the Lions.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions C Frank Ragnow misses practice (groin injury)

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