After years and years of mediocrity, the Detroit Lions finally committed to a rebuild this past offseason.
They traded away longtime franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for draft picks and Jared Goff. They also completely redid their leadership structure, hiring a new head coach and general manager.
With so many new faces in the building, there was a bit of a quiet hope the Lions could exceed expectations this season, especially after Goff’s promising first performance. However, the latest injury news out of Detroit confirms such an experience will not be occurring this season.
The Detroit Lions lost Romeo Okwara for the season
The Lions suffered two devastating injuries, the first occurring to standout pass-rusher Romeo Okwara. The 26-year-old defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid ruptured his Achillies during the Lions’ Week 4 loss and will miss the remainder of the season.
Okwara will focus all efforts on rehabbing and getting physically prepared for the 2022 season.
This is a huge loss for Detroit, to put it bluntly. Okwara had a massive 10.5-sack breakout season last year and was well on his way to establishing himself as a key piece to the Lions’ rebuilding process. Okwara signed a three-year extension following his impressive 2020 season this past offseason, proving the Detroit front office’s faith in him.
Replacing him will be no easy task.
The Detroit Lions also lost center Frank Ragnow
When it rains, it pours, and it’s definitely pouring in Detroit at the moment. Following the crushing news that Okwara will be out for the remainder of the season, the Lions announced they would also be placing starting center Frank Ragnow on injured reserve.
Ragnow’s season isn’t over. However, he’ll have to miss a minimum of three games due to the NFL’s IR policy. It’s a sizable loss for a team desperate for veteran leadership, especially across the offensive line. Goff and the Lions rely on Ragnow to be a “rock” in the middle of the field.
He joins starting left tackle Taylor Decker on the list of starting offensive linemen currently out for Detroit.
This spells major trouble for Jared Goff
No one really expected the Lions to be good this season. However, all these injuries stacking up at once spells major trouble for the team’s starting quarterback in particular.
2021 is very much an evaluation year for Goff. Presumably, the Lions want to draft their own version of a franchise QB in the coming years. However, Goff is still getting an opportunity to win the job. Finding a QB in the NFL is hard. Goff at least has a track record proving he can win in the playoffs when surrounded by the right pieces.
Following an 0-4 start and back-to-back massive injuries on the offensive and defensive line, the odds of Goff righting the ship enough to convince the Lions to stick it out with him appear incredibly slim.
It may not happen until 2023, but the Lions replacing Goff with a shiny, new rookie quarterback feels like a foregone conclusion at this point.