Detroit fans, as biased onlookers, have been quick to defend Suh for his aggressive style of play in the past two seasons because his kind of intensity is something that team had been lacking for so many years. There’s nothing that be defended about the play against Evan Dietrich-Smith. There has been some comparison to Albert Haynesworth’s personal foul on Dallas Cowboys‘ center Andre Gurode in 2006, which got him a five game suspension. In my opinion, they’re two very similar plays, although Haynesworth targeted Gurode’s head area, while Suh stomped on the arm/torso area. Given Suh’s poor reputation among NFL players and the fact that he has received multiple fines, I think he’s lucky if he only has to sit for two games.
Haynesworth has never looked the same since his incident. He lost respect and eventually gave up on playing football, leaving the Titans on bad terms, getting traded from the Redskins, and most recently, cut by the Patriots. Like Haynesworth, Suh is a dominant force in the middle, and no one wants to see him go down the same road.
What might be worse is that Suh has shown little remorse for his actions and is almost oblivious to the fact that he’s done something wrong. This is about as apologetic as it’s been for Suh when he released this from his Facebook page:
“My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable. I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand — by winning.”
Now, I don’t think Suh is nearly as bad as Haynesworth. Like many Detroit fans, I feel that Suh’s true character as a stand-up, respectably guy is not known beyond the Lions’ fanbase. But when Suh doesn’t make a legitmate apology to the public and acts like nothing happened, something’s wrong. He has to fix this now, and when he comes back from suspension, needs to gain some respect back by playing hard and clean.
In the meantime, Detroit needs to fill the void in the middle. Thankfully depth hasn’t been an issue for the Lions on the defensive line, but if there’s ever been a time for Nick Fairley to show he was worth 13th overall pick in last summer’s draft, it’s right now. Expect to see more action and elevated play from Sammie Hill, who has quietly put together a pretty solid season so far as a backup tackle.