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Detroit Lions team reporter Dannie Rogers shares insight on upcoming Lions-Rams Wildcard Game

DETROIT— Third-year Detroit Lions team reporter Dannie Rogers joined 9&10 Sport’s Kennedy Broadwell to discuss the Lions-Rams game set to kickoff Sunday night at 8 pm. Watch the full interview above!

9&10′s Kennedy Broadwell: So you were there when Detroit was a three-win team… and Dan Campbell was a first-year head coach… walk me through covering that season and where you’ve seen the most growth in the team.

Detroit Lions’ Dannie Rogers: I get that question a lot. How was coach back when this team was only winning three games? Or how was he last year when they really started picking up steam in the later part of the season? And I’ll tell you, coach Campbell has not changed a single bit. He has always been Dan Campbell. Everyone views them as so intense and says maybe some crazy things sometimes. But we get him every week in the studio for his interview he is so even keeled so consistent. You never know if we’re winning three games or winning 12 games about to head to the playoffs. So the growth has been the players on the team they’ve grown with Dan Campbell, you’ve you’ve seen a good dose of coach Campbell and what he really wanted this team to embody the first season well, now they fully embodied it here in year three, the aggression of being so committed and endearing to your teammates and leaving it all out on the field. So I think that’s the biggest growth this team has. Finally, in year three, every ounce of their head coach is now in these players.


KB: Jared Goff, who was new during your arrival as well- everyone’s thought process was that he was the fill-in until we drafted someone we liked or plucked a QB from elsewhere. What do you see now, with JG, and how the city and the offense rallies around him?

DR: I don’t think you’re going out on a ledge by saying oh, he was the bridge quarterback because he was. Yeah, Goff was new to this completely new system with Ben Johnson, Dan Campbell. They weren’t even, you know, completely solidified into what they wanted to run in year one. They really did some change ups going into year two. That’s when Ben Johnson, the offensive coordinator and Goff sat in a room in the summer for three days straight. And just went over all of it and came out with his offense that you’re seeing is in one of the top one of the top offenses in the league. So you’re seeing a very comfortable, Jared Goff who just like his head coach stays pretty even keeled very consistent. And he has his Super Bowl experience playoff experience that I don’t think you could want that from anyone else more than your QB1. So that’s what Detroit has and Jared Goff right now, I know the storyline is out. Rams trade him to Detroit, Stafford to LA, it’s gonna go head to head but that story is not being played up in the building. It won’t be played up at Ford Field. It is a playoff game with everything on the line, regardless of who is on the other team. Even if it’s Matthew Stafford who we talked about Kennedy, he was our quarterback growing up for 12 years. That story won’t be played up. The Detroit Lions just want to win. And they have a very, very accurate, even keeled quarterback in Goff who is going to do everything in his power to bring his best shot against his former team.

KB: With that- obviously the Lions are hosting their first playoff game at home since 1993 against none other than the LA Rams and former Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. Dannie. The ticket prices for this game compared to the rest of the Wildcard games… over a $300 difference. For you, what’s your favorite storyline heading into this one that makes it so special?

DR: Oh gosh, I don’t even I don’t even look at ticket prices. I’ve got mine locked in and I’m like praise the Lord. Our ticket prices are set. Maybe the biggest storyline. I mean, Detroit could be without tight end Sam LaPorta, who is venturing on the All Pro list. He’s a pro bowler. He went down and week 18 against the Vikings with a knee injury. He’s not been solidified whether or not he’ll go or if he’ll have to sit this one out. So that’s a big piece of the offense. But this Detroit Lions offense is used to running with 12 different offensive playmakers every single game like they always have at least eight to nine receivers getting involved. Of course, you got Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery in the run game. So you’re not missing the entire offense with LaPorta being out. So I don’t want everyone to, you know, wave the white flag at this point. But you know, they’re going to face some adversity, going up against one of the greatest ever. Aaron Donald on the defensive side for the Rams. But the Rams are really, really young. I think we’ve talked about this Detroit Lions rookie class the entire season, with Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, Jack Campbell, but like so many of these younger players, the Rams have just as many Puka [Nacua], the receiver he’s a rookie, you have Kobie Turner, up there with Aaron Donald. He’s a rookie, Kyren Williams is in his second year leading that team in the rush game. So they’re kind of similar teams. Although Detroit has been you know, winning for longer this season. LA has really come in hot towards the end of all of this. So big storyline is yeah, Detroit is facing a little bit of adversity. But like you mentioned first playoff game in three decades. I think the city of Detroit, especially the the crowd in the stands, is going to help pull these Lions through.


KB: Yeah, you mentioned the matchup- Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams, Aaron Donald, the list goes on. What do you think the Lions need to do to survive and advance? And where do you see the biggest head to heads on the field being come Sunday?

DR: Great question. Head to head... it’s tough... I think I am gonna go with Aaron Donald and Kobe Turner up front going against this Detroit Lions offensive line and coach Campbell has, he has been so convicted in saying all year that he will take his offensive line against any of these defenders in the league. And he should. Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell, they have only allowed one sack each through at least 500 snaps this season. They are so dang impressive. That doesn’t even include Taylor Decker, or Graham Glasgow or Jonah Jackson. That’s a very expensive offensive line, when we get to this offseason and how that all shakes out. So that’s the battle in the trenches is really what I’m going to look for, especially with the Rams offense being so explosive in the run game. This is one of the top rushed defenses in the league in the Detroit Lions. So seeing if they can really pull their own and do what they’ve done all season. And then you got to look at the the secondary with with Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp. Secondary has gone through some rotations. They’ve gone through a lot of injuries this past season. That’s been the most beat up unit to date for these Detroit Lions, but they’ve always bounced back and it hasn’t been you know, the weakest point every time in games. Yeah, you’re gonna have players like Cooper Kupp who make plays or the Justin Jeffersons or CeeDee Lambs there. They’re just going to make plays. But the secondary hasn’t been the weakest link. When you look at it all based on the adversity. So, I’m still going to have my eye on the pass game with the Rams and going against the secondary Cam Sutton leads that group CJ Garner-Johnson is back in that rotation. Ifeatu Melifonwu has been on fire as of late.

KB: You mentioned it a little bit, the way the city is rallying. Talk to me about the current gameday experience. Because in 2021, Ford Field was practically empty during some of those games. And now, we’re watching opposing team’s defenses really struggle in Detroit due to crowd noise.

DR: It is going to be electric. They introduced pyrotechnics inside during week 18. They had fireworks going off. You had streamers. It has been electric I talked to Coach Campbell about this this week. I was like, Hey, we got a good dose of what this Ford Field crowd is like in week 18 for the playoffs. He assured me nothing will ever compare to this playoff game coming up on Sunday Night Football. I think that was his battle cry to the city of Detroit like Hey, wake up, it’s time to go. And I think they’re going to hear that loud and clear. So I don’t think there’s actually anything we can possibly compare the atmosphere to come Sunday, based on what we’ve seen and what we have seen is is pretty frightening from Detroit Lions fans.


KB: Last question and I’ll let you go. The Lions just recently changed their twitter hashtag from #OnePride to #AllGrit… we all know the story about Amon-Ra St. Brown and keep tabs on the guys ahead of him in the NFL draft, we know about the kneecap biting and the up-downs… but is there a story you can share about one player, or a unit’s grittiness that maybe we don’t hear as much about?

DR: Oh, gosh, I’m always going to... if you’re going to ask about a unit that is gritty, I’m always going to go with the offensive line. Those players played through adversity like no other. I mentioned how the secondary has gone through some pretty bad injuries. You had Emmanuel Moesley, torn ACL season ended, CJ Gardner-Johnson torn pectoral injury, week two comes back by week 17. Like, those players were actually down and out. The offensive line, you would never know that they’re injured most of the time. They are the toughest guys out there. They go up against some of the best edge rushers week to week, back to back weeks against Dallas and Minnesota and they still show up every single time. So they’re the reason this run game is able to be so successful, which helps the pass game and what everything goes off of. So I’ll always say that offensive line is the grittiest. They’re also the most unique characters in the locker room. They’re very funny. So that’s what I like to go with. I like that you mentioned almond Amon-Ra St. Brown too, coach Campbell said another thing today about Amon-Ra needing no more motivation after being snubbed from the Pro Bowl, which we all agree he was snubbed. Because St. Brown is terrifying to think that there could be more motivation left in the tank for him. He’s just the ultimate competitor. So I’m gonna go with the O-line but I like that you mentioned Amon-Ra St. Brown, and I think Aiden Hutchinson, if we’re gonna go defensive, is pretty gritty too, what he’s been able to do. And he crushed his rookie record for sacks this past week. He’s up to 11 and a half so yeah, those are those are my top ones for the all-grit I’m glad we changed the hashtag I think it’s very fitting for the playoffs.

The Lions-Rams game will be on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

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