Friday, February 14, 2014
Many may look at yesterday's release of Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas as puzzling moves, especially since both expressed a willingness to return at restructured salaries and their status as the team's unquestioned leaders on offense and defense.
Ironically, it was their strong leadership that forced the Lions to release them.
In order for franchise players Mathew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh to reach their full potential, this has to become their team, and that was never going to fully happen with strong leaders like Burleson and Delmas on the roster.
With no veteran presence left in the locker room to defer to after their releases, this team instantly falls under the control of Stafford on offense, and Suh on defense.
It will now be up to those two players to learn their new playbooks, lead offseason workouts, and bridge the gap between the new coaching staff and the rest of team.
If Stafford and Suh embrace those roles and their teammates respond, they'll be the face of the franchise for years to come. And if not...Well, let's try not to think about that.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
With Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh starting off the 2013 season embroiled in controversy for a personal foul against Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, there was no shortage of opinions from the wanna be talking heads in the NFL media.
Sage Rosenfels, a former backup quarterback for the Vikings, Dolphins, Texans, Giants and Redskins (although I’m not sure any of those teams would actually claim him as theirs), took to Twitter and said, “Detroit is a classic example of big bullies who think they are better than everyone else, but have low self esteem. #Posers.”
|Look! Up in the sky! It's not a bird, nor a plane! It's Sage Rosenfels...sigh.|
Bart Scott, who once took issue with the Lions play as “too dirty” when he was a linebacker for the New York Jets, used his new position as an analyst at CBS to rip the entire Lions organization as being dirty from the bottom up.
“They’re teaching them how to be fake tough guys. You’re a tough guy between the whistles. All the other stuff — pushing and shoving afterward — that’s being taught to them.”
My favorite opinion, however, was that of former Minnesota Viking and current ESPN analyst, Cris Carter.
Carter is no stranger to making uneducated comments pertaining to the Lions, having been forced to backtrack from his opinion prior to the 2011 season where he claimed that Calvin Johnson was not one of the top five wide receivers in the NFL, listing him behind DeSean Jackson and Greg Jennings, amongst others.
In regards to Suh’s hit on Sullivan Carter said, “Ndamukong Suh has been fined four times that we did know about. In those games guys, he had no sacks and only four tackles. In the Minnesota game this past weekend he played 46 snaps and did not make a tackle, but on the interception he goes after a guy’s knee…Frustration.”
Carter’s attempt to make it seem as if Suh is acting like a thug as a result of having been bottled up by Carter’s former team couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, it was Suh's fierce pressure on Vikings QB Christan Ponder that caused Ponder to recklessly throw the ball up for grabs in the first place, allowing Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy to make an easy interception (which would have been returned for a touchdown had it not been for Suh's illegal block).
Suh also blew up a Vikings double team that gave fellow defensive lineman Nick Fairley an unabated path to sacking Ponder on a stunt.
Regardless of his stat line, Suh was regarded as having one of his most dominant games as a Lion against the Vikings in week 1.
Once again, Carter’s opinion in regards to Suh’s play was a sloppy attempt to gain attention, devoid of fact, and a flat out indication that he doesn’t even watch the games that he’s being paid to comment on.
Or as Cris Carter himself would say on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, "C'mon Man!"