The Lions have ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every major defensive stat since day one of the 2020 season.
Yet, one Detroit player -- Reggie Ragland -- still thinks the team possesses "a hell of a defense."
The fourth-year linebacker expressed the sentiment during a video conference with local reporters Wednesday.
"In my eyes, we played good at times ... we showed what type of group we could be. We just weren't consistently doing it," Ragland said.
The team's defensive deficiencies have reared their ugly head in recent weeks, too.
Ragland and his defensive counterparts have allowed 45-plus points in back-to-back weeks -- 46 to the Tennessee Titans in Week 15 and 47 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16.
He continued, "In my head, I always thought of us as a high-level team. We've got a lot of good players. We just never could put it together and be consistent about it."
The Lions have allowed less than 30 points six times in 2020, but have also permitted more than 40 points five times.
Certainly, that stat is indicative of a defense that has been highly inconsistent.
But, it's also a clear-cut sign of a defense that has been more bad than good.
"We just ain't put it all together, like we supposed to. Being inconsistent. But, I still think we're a hell of a defense. We just didn't show up," he added.
Speaking of not showing up, through 15 games, Detroit has allowed a league-worst 32.1 points per game, as well as the 30th-most passing yards (4,175) and the 29th-most rushing yards (2,033).
Ragland and his teammates have also permitted a league-high 25 rushing touchdowns and a league-worst 35 passing TDs.
It's been a season full of defensive woes, which Ragland believes can be attributed largely to the players rather than the coaches.
"Everybody has to do their job. Everybody's paid for a reason, to do their job. At the end of the day, the players play the game, and we've got to do a better job, because coaches can only do so much," Ragland explained. "But, at the end of the day, we've got to take control, and say, 'Hey, man, we've got to do our job and do this.' But, man, we just didn't do it at times."
Future with Lions
With a new regime set to take over in the new year, there's a possibility that Ragland, who signed a one-year, $962.5K deal with the Lions this past offseason, could be playing his last game in Honolulu Blue Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
He addressed the possibility that he could be employed elsewhere in 2021 during his media session Wednesday.
"I'd like to see somebody give me a chance to keep playing the game, no matter where it's at. So, if I'm here, I'm here. If not, I just want the opportunity to showcase my skills, because I love playing this game. And I love having fun, because there's not a job like this in the world," Ragland said.
And, he feels "blessed" to have a chance at playing a fifth season in the NFL.
"So, in year No. 5 (which Ragland will be in next year), I've already gotten past ... the expectancy for a football player is what a year or two years. And, I made it past that to year five. Man, I'm just a blessed individual. So, I just want to be somewhere to get the opportunity to play my game and keep playing hard. Just keep having fun. So, that's where I see myself. Somewhere having fun and playing. And doing what I do best. That's hitting people, getting sacks and covering," Ragland expressed.
Wherever he is a season from now, the 27-year-old will attempt to build upon a campaign which has seen him produce 48 total tackles, four tackles for loss, three QB hits, a sack and a forced fumble.
While he won't be a highly coveted free agent this upcoming offseason, he certainly could add some nice depth to a team's linebackers room.
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