Reggie Ragland’s rookie year in the NFL didn’t go anywhere close to what he expected.
Not only didn’t he get to play a single down, thanks to a season-ending knee injury he suffered in training camp with the Buffalo Bills, but he also never got to play for the coach who drafted him, Rex Ryan. Ryan was fired at the end of the 2016 season.
‘Coach McDermott, he just wants everybody to line up and go and with Rex it was more complex’
And when he left, so, too, did the defense for which Ragland was considered a natural fit. Now, as Ragland finally gets ready to return to the field for the start of the Bills’ training camp this week, he’s learning a new scheme that his new coach, Sean McDermott, employs.
“It’s a little bit different, because Rex Ryan is a 3-4 and Coach McDermott, he loves the 4-3,” Ragland told Alex Marvez and Phil Savage during a recent appearance on Late Hits. “But Coach McDermott, he just wants everybody to line up and go and with Rex it was more complex in some ways, but for the most part, it’s just football — learn your gap, line up and go play football.”
‘This year it was tougher because I got out there late to get to understand the plays’
Still, the fact Ragland was sidelined for most of the offseason until the final workouts of OTAs and minicamps put him behind teammates in learning McDermott’s defense.
“It’s been tough, because last year I got to go through the system and learn the plays more and run through them with Rex,” he said. “But this year it was tougher because I got out there late to get to understand the plays and see things that everybody else has been seeing for a couple months. But I’m glad I got some type of reps in before training camp.”
‘It’s been real hard, knowing last year I could help my team in so many ways’
Ragland said his knee is feeling good. He has had “a good six weeks” of training and getting used to running and cutting on his knee. He expects to be ready to go when camp opens on July 27.
“It’s been real hard, knowing last year I could help my team in so many ways,” Ragland said. “But God makes no mistakes and I know He’s going to have something special planned for me this upcoming year.”
‘The $600 a pound will kill me’
He also is working hard to make sure he reports to camp at his desired weight of 250 pounds. Ragland said that the max he is allowed to carry is 255 pounds, and he must pay a fine of $600 for every pound over that limit.
“I can’t go over that; the $600 a pound will kill me,” he said. “That’s a lot (for) a kid that didn’t grow up with much, so I’m trying to keep every penny that I can.”
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