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Rookie offensive linemen showing steady improvement

When it comes to young players, and especially rookies, coaches want to see steady improvement this time of year, rep-to-rep, day-to-day and week-to-week.

Detroit Lions rookie Frank Ragnow's week in Oakland is a perfect example of what coaches want to see.

In his first joint practice against the Raiders last Tuesday, Ragnow admitted he was a bit nervous and he looked tentative, especially in one-on-one drills. He had his most inconsistent practice of the entire training camp.

He was much better Wednesday in those joint practices, however, settling in nicely and having a very good day.

Ragnow's first game action came in Friday night's preseason opener in Oakland. He played 26 snaps, and didn't allow a single pressure. He also plowed the way for some nice runs by LeGarrette Blount and Ameer Abdullah, including a one-yard touchdown.

"Well, I think with Frank Ragnow, it was good to see him from the earlier parts of the week to the later part of the week show some improvement," head coach Matt Patricia said.

"It was kind of his first – like everybody – but kind of his first opportunity there to go against somebody else. I think that was good coming out of (Friday night) to see some of that improvement there."

Fellow rookie tackle Tyrell Crosby has also shown steady improvement throughout camp.

The Lions didn't have a huge need at tackle during the fifth round of this year's draft, but general manager Bob Quinn said at the time that Crosby was far and away the best prospect on their board at the time. Crosby was expected to be a Day 2 pick, but fell all the way to the fifth round.

He's been running with the second team, mostly at left tackle, and like Ragnow, is settling in well. He played more snaps Friday night than any other player on offense (49), and did some good things. There's also some things he needs to clean up.

He was flagged for holding on Kerryon Johnson's 57-yard run, and was also credited by Pro Football Focus with giving up a sack.

He also teamed up with Ragnow to clear the path on Abdullah's touchdown run, and had a couple other nice blocks in the contest.

"I think in (Tyrell) Crosby's case, again, a lot of different looks on the edges for him," Patricia said. "Much different kind of scheme and sort of things like that, that I thought he handled pretty well.

"Still some things that we are trying to clean up from that standpoint, but I think (he and Ragnow) went out and competed. I think they tried to do what we asked them to do, but the details on some of the things we have to get done need to improve."

For young linemen like Ragnow and Crosby, it's all about improving. Both players will get another opportunity this week to compete in joint practices, this time in Allen Park against the New York Giants, ahead of their second preseason game Friday night.

"There's always room for improvement," Ragnow said after the Oakland game. "We just have to keep improving. I thought we played hard and we just have to learn from the tape."

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