This season, Detroit Lions fans have got what they’ve wanted for a long time: a gritty, disruptive defense that teams across the league have come to fear. The Lions defense had 15 sacks and 52 quarterback hits through the first nine games of the season, including 11 hits on Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler last week.
As the Lions prepare to take on a team which traditionally epitomizes stout defensive play, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the tide has seemingly turned heading into Sunday’s game. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ray Fittipaldo stated in a story Thursday, that Lions’ defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have earned a reputation for questionable on-field antics.
Since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2010, Suh has been fined by the NFL seven times for more than $200,000. He has been fined twice this season for $131,500, including a $100,000 fine for a low block on Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman John Sullivan on an interception return in the season opener. He also was fined for a hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Fittipaldo quoted Steelers’ players, including receiver Emmanual Sanders as saying that they won’t be bullied by the Lions’ defense. Sanders even said, “But we’re not going to get bullied. They can come in with all the intensity in the world, but we just have to match it.”
Sanders said that every player in the league knows exactly who the dirtiest player in the league is right now (Suh) and that he takes a certain pride in earning that honor. Fittipaldo didn’t stop at Suh, as he put Fairley under the “dirty player” canopy with Suh.
Suh isn’t the only Lions player with a reputation. Fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley was flagged for a late hit on Bears quarterback Josh McCown last week that aided a late scoring drive that could have resulted in a tie had the Lions not thwarted a two-point conversion attempt.
Also quoted was Pittsburgh offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, who said that the Lions’ demeanor starts with Suh and Fairley and that he wouldn’t mind having those types of players on his team.
“I’ve got to give all due respect to how they play and how hard (they play),” Haley said. “They’re like any kind of good, nasty defense. They’re going to push it to the limit.”
What do you think of Suh and Fairley’s image as dirty players? Should they take pride in teams taking extra precautions because of their impact on Sunday’s?
Let us know in the comments below.
- Suh Says He’s Not A Killer; Roethlisberger Begs To Differ (detroit.cbslocal.com)