By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In the wake of Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh announcing he wants people to stop thinking of him as dirty, head coach Jim Schwartz said he feels the reputation of Suh and the Lions is in large part a construction of the media.
“There were some incidents that happened on the field [Thursday] that I think if it would have been our team, they would have been portrayed in a much different light,” Schwartz said. “I was proud of our team for keeping their composure and doing those things. That doesn’t get reported with the same emphasis than it does if something happens – if we get a flag, we’re undisciplined. If somebody else gets a flag, it’s reported a different way.”
Schwartz declined to name any specific instances from the Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers.
“You guys saw the game,” Schwartz said. “It’s just things that go on in the game.”
Suh routinely gets attacked by fans, opposing players and articles calling him a dirty player, and most recently Josh Sitton of the Packers blasted not just Suh but the entire defense plus Schwartz, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Sitton labeled the whole group “scumbags.”
Subsequent to those comments, of course, was the Lions’ resounding 40-10 defeat of the Packers.
“People can say what they want,” Schwartz said. “They say a lot of stuff about us as a team. They say a lot of stuff about Ndamukong Suh. They say a lot of stuff about me personally. You can’t let that affect the way that you go about your business. Everybody wants to be portrayed in a good light.”
For the Lions, that rarely happens, but the team has learned to let go of it.
“We really can’t do anything about that,” Schwartz said. “Our job is to go out and play the very best we can. Ndamukong had a great game. I think that speaks much, much louder than what people perceive him to be or anything else. I think it’s human nature. Everybody wants to be respected. Everybody wants people to say fair things and good things about them. I don’t think Ndamukong’s any different when it comes to that.”
As would be expected, Schwartz does not sound particularly concerned about the Lions’ reputation as long as they win games. Recognition for the defensive line for being nasty is in itself not much of a meaningful endorsement.
“Nasty doesn’t do a whole lot of good if you’re not stopping the run, if you’re not rushing the passer,” Schwartz said. “What you want to be known for is being tough and physical and that goes along with playing the run well. I think we have. That goes along with putting pressure on the quarterback. I think you saw Thursday sort of what we can be when it comes to that, getting turnovers, those kind of things. You want to be a physical team. You want to be a team that’s respected for that.
“Anybody else can spin it any other way they want,” Schwartz continued. “We can’t worry about that. We’ve just got to go out and play.”