NOAH TRISTER,AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Forget that two-game suspension last year for his Thanksgiving stomp.
Even when he was able to play, Ndamukong Suh wasn’t too thrilled with his performance.
“I didn’t like my approach, now that I look back on that particular season — especially compared to my rookie season,” Suh said. “There’s really some foundational things in my game I need to focus on.”
Suh took the NFL a bit by storm as a rookie in 2010, finishing the season with 10 sacks and anchoring a Detroit defensive line that looked like it had the potential to be among the league’s best. Last year, he had only four sacks, and although he was still a handful for opposing blockers, he made as much news for his style of play as for his production.
Suh requested a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his play after he’d drawn several penalties and fines. Then on Thanksgiving, he stomped at Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith and was suspended for two games.
Now Suh is talking about a renewed focus. The 25-year-old defensive tackle is still one of the game’s most recognizable young stars, and he’s eager to bounce back with a big season.
“Accountability is making sure you’re prepared and whatever you have to do to make sure you’re a contributing factor to this team. Everybody’s a professional or else you wouldn’t be on this team, and you need to do whatever’s extra to get you to that same level,” Suh said. “My attention to detail has increased, and I think that will be an added factor to help me be the player that I want to be.”
Suh didn’t give too many details on what, specifically, he’s done to prepare for this season. He stayed out of the spotlight for much of the offseason, and that may have been a good thing. Several teammates had run-ins with law enforcement.
Suh is being sued for just more than $1 million by a woman who claims she was injured in a December car crash in Oregon involving the defensive lineman. But he says he’s excited to be at training camp and ready to turn his attention to football.
“Is ‘good’ good enough? No, not at all,” he said. “I would hope to be great.”
Detroit’s defense fell apart at the end of last season, allowing 550 yards to Green Bay in the regular-season finale and 626 to New Orleans in a playoff loss to the Saints. The secondary remains an issue, but the Lions can use more from their men up front, and Suh wants to be a game changer.
“Suh is Suh,” linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. “Suh is going to be there. You know what to expect out of Suh. He’s going to give his all every day, come to work. He might not say much, but when he’s out there on the field he definitely gets it done.”
Coach Jim Schwartz didn’t talk much about Suh specifically Sunday, but he indicated the beginning of the season can be a fresh start for any player.
“He’s always been a hard worker and he’s done that in camp now. Everybody, whether last year was good or bad or mediocre — doesn’t matter this year,” Schwartz said. “Everybody’s out to compete, to work, to do a good job this year.”
To be fair, Suh was still a force at times last season. It’s just that he wasn’t disrupting the opposing offense as consistently as he did when he was a rookie. He’s hoping to be more effective in the months to come.
“I don’t think I was somebody that was getting rolled up and pushed 50 yards out of bounds. … But I hold myself to a higher standard,” Suh said. “I expect more from myself.”
NOTES: Schwartz said injuries to OL Jeff Backus (thumb) and RB Mikel Leshoure (hamstring) should not be long-term problems. … WR Ryan Broyles and OL Jonathan Scott were able to practice Sunday after being on the non-football injury list.
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