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Matt Shepard

Shep's Take: Suh-rly Attitude

 
Shep's Take: Suh-rly Attitude

[PODCAST] Ndamukong Suh’s Low Hit
Shep talks about Ndamukong Suh's low hit on Viking center John Sullivan, the possibility of the NFL suspending him and why he's drawing comparisons to the Pistons' Bad Boys and Red Wings' Bruise Brothers.

While it's easy for fans and members of the media to reprimand Ndamukong Suh for his illegal hit on Vikings center John Sullivan Sunday, I don't think it makes him dirty and I don't think it necessarily means he should be suspended. 

I expect Suh to get hit with a fine ($50,000 or so), but I don't think he will, or should, receive a suspension.  I don't think his penalty was any worse than a chop block or what I've seen some defensive backs do to receivers/running backs who break free into the secondary. It's tough to change the missile mid-flight.

The bottom line is Suh carries a label with him and we are quicker to judge his actions than, let's say, Geno Atkins.  I felt the play was illegal and selfish.  Sullivan was seven yards from DeAndre Levy when the penalty was committed.  A 300-pound center isn't going to catch a linebacker.  BUT that's easy for me to say. 

Players are taught to play to the whistle and who am I to suggest Suh "give up" on a play.  We can't expect players to set aside their instincts that have made them so good at their craft. No one can expect him to look at the No. 65 and immediately process Sullivan's 40-yard dash time, and deduct whether or not he can catch Levy.  But I CAN expect Suh to play a smarter brand of football while still keeping the "edge" that seperates him from others at his position.

Suh plays fierce and physical on the side of the football that requires such traits.  In Detroit, we embraced the Bad Boys of Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer and the Bruise Brothers of Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, and yet Suh is perceived as a guy "you don't want." Why?  He is one of the best in the game at his position and he plays with the same attitude of a Dick Butkus, Joe Greene or Ronnie Lott.

I want him to be smarter and more disciplined, but I also understand he has different instincts as a player at a very violent position.  I'm not making excuses for his play Sunday and, honestly, I might feel differently had that play cost the Lions a win, but I know this team can't afford to lose it's best players. 

Suh is this team's best defensive player and one of its top three players overall.  I want him on my team, with the understanding that there will be consequences if he doesn't play a smarter brand of ball.

Photo: Getty Images

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