By: Eric Thomas
It’s not going to happen, but the crowd at Ford Field must cease and desist shouting “Suuuuuh” whenever Ndamukong Suh does something. Granted, the crowd is shackled a bit already because of his total lack of production this season and last, but they should at least make the effort to give him the cold shoulder. His ‘star’ status in the NFL is not deserved anymore.
Suh went to the Pro Bowl his first year, and since then he’s looked average. Supporters remind the media that he’s been double-teamed, but he was double-teamed in his rookie season from the first game. He has gone entire games without a tackle, and his numbers last year were just as anemic. The sophomore slump that we all thought was going to end turned out to be the beginning of a trend. His rookie season now looks like a fluke.
These are tough words but they are honest and necessary. Suh has played more bad games than good. This is a fact. He is in the third year of a four year deal and for the last year and a half he has been not worth the money or hassle. The Lions could get several defensive linemen for half the money they are paying the former second overall draft pick.
It emerged in the past year and a half, that Suh is not what we made him out to be. In his rookie year, we stared with saucer round eyes. He was fast and talented. He even had an interception. He was everything we had ever hoped for and he went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season. It looked like only the first in a career careening toward Canton. But after the bizarre excuses for the stomp to his churlish media stiff-arms, Suh looks like a prima donna. He seems like the common overpaid athlete with an entitled chip on his shoulder. He demands respect, he does not earn it. In the past 18 months it is clear that he is unworthy of the blue collar cloth we swaddled him in.
He’s in the third year of a four year deal. Has he really been worth it? Even if he has a monster 2013, isn’t that just 50/50?
It’s a long way from what we expected. He wasn’t supposed to be an entitled superstar last year and he wasn’t supposed to haggle with the league office over stats this year. The Polaroid is starting to develop and the word “BUST” is starting to emerge. The word hasn’t come all the way in, but it’s getting there. There is a “B-U-” already on the page. Can Suh erase his emerging status? Sure, but he can’t remove the label by complaining that it exists. He must play to the level of his ability and he hasn’t done that since 2010. Suh will continue to slump until he figures out that the people who are criticizing him aren’t the problem.
Suh doesn’t seem to recognize the kid gloves he’s been treated with. Lions fans have been more than patient and understanding. Does he really think that another fan base will be more accommodating? Seriously? Does he not understand that an East Coast fan base will eat him alive for this nonsense? See: Haynesworth, Albert. The fans at Ford Field will cheer him on Sunday, even though he’s done nothing to deserve it recently. But still, he will blame critics and not his own lack of production. That, more than anything, is the most frustrating thing about his career in Detroit. He doesn’t understand that it’s his fault.
Like I said, he can turn it around. He fought through double teams in 2010, and wound up in the Pro Bowl with historic numbers. He has the ability. But Suh has to understand that the problem isn’t the people writing columns or blogs or calling into radio stations.
The problem is staring at him in the mirror.