Buffalo Bills linebacker Reggie Ragland is still struggling to get back to his old ways. His ability to rehab and recover from his knee injury in 2016 has been one of the main talking points throughout training camp and preseason. Expectations seemed to be high for Ragland coming into 2017 but he hasn’t been able to take a major step forward from the injury.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was asked about the linebacker competition with Preston Brown, Gerald Hodges and Ragland this week.
“Reggie has made some progress,” said Frazier. “He’s getting more time at the linebacker spot. You can see more of a burst, but still not quite where we need him to be to make it a point where Preston would be in jeopardy of losing his job. It’s not at that point yet. Preston’s doing a good job for us. He’s had a good preseason, a good offseason in general. Reggie’s making progress, but we still need to see more and we’ll see what happens this week as he progresses even more.”
The spot has always been Browns spot to lose. If and when Ragland gets back to 100% with his injury will be the time where he fights for that starting middle linebacker spot. Gerald Hodges will most likely stay put with the second unit, as well.
Frazier was then asked if the only thing holding Ragland back was his knee rather than knowing the playbook and his assignments.
“No doubt,” said Frazier. “He’s smart enough, he’s athletic enough, everybody recovers from this injury a little bit different. Some guys, it takes a year and a half. Some guys, they can come back even sooner but as he works through some of the things that go along with rehab and getting accustomed to playing live football again, we have to be patient and let him just continue to improve. That’s the good thing, we’re seeing improvement. That encourages us and it’s just a matter of time before he can get that burst back that we like to see.”
The story hasn’t changed much this offseason. Ragland is still having a hard time getting his legs back under him and being comfortable with his knee. Once he does the story will change and he will have the opportunity to play a lot of snaps in this defense and be effective.
Frazier added that he will sit down and look at how much time Ragland will get in the team’s third preseason game since the first and second units will play the majority of the game.
Ragland was spoke with the media shortly after Frazier and was asked his opinion on how he thought he was in the process of getting over the injury.
“He’s right, sometimes my knee feels good, sometimes it’s sore,” admitted Ragland. “I just know I have to keep getting better. I know I’m young and I still have time, so I’m not pressed about some of the things, but I know I still have to keep getting better. Coach McDermott, and all of the coaches tell me this all of the time, so I’m just going to keep getting better.”
Ragland added that he is starting to feel better with the defensive reads and game speed in the NFL.