May 22, 2013; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) during organized team activities at Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Ndamukong Suh Poised for a Breakout Year

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Maybe he hired someone to drive him around town now, because we haven’t heard much from Ndamukong Suh this offseason. That’s about to change big time. It seems like Suh is ready to shed “The most over-rated goon in the NFL” label for the more fitting “One of the best tackles in the game.” Since Suh’s rookie year when he had ten sacks, he’s has been more famous for his feet landing in the wrong places than for his game. He’s been voted the “Dirtiest Player” in the league two years in a row.

Ndamukong Suh was one of the many players that took last season’s 4-12 record personally, and like Matthew Stafford and Nick Fairley, has made a personal vow to himself to do everything he can to improve himself and not let that happen again. He showed his dedication when Jim Schwartz said he made “a mockery” of the fitness test to open training camp over the weekend.

He also stayed out of the headlines, except to participate in the reality show Splash and save Louie Anderson from drowning.

For a quiet guy, he sure attracts a lot of attention. Analyst Warren Sapp is constantly hammering at Suh’s style even though Suh has made the pro bowl. Suh knows he has room to improve – everybody does – and has welcomed the addition of defensive line coach Jim Washburn. “One of my biggest improvements, and I’m very lucky to have him, is coach Washburn” said Suh. Washburn has probably been working with Suh on how to counter the “Wham” plays that teams use to run the ball right at him. Who knows how good Suh could be once he corrects that flaw in his game.

It feels like he’s been around forever, but Suh is only entering his fourth season and is still labeled a youngster. His three previous years are like separate entities. There’s first year Suh who wowed the league with ten sacks and looked like a future Hall of Famer. Then there’s second year Suh who was coasting after reading his press clippings. He also invented the Turkey Stomp that year. Third year Suh was more like first year Suh, but not quite there.

I can see Suh stepping up his game to keep pace with the improving Nick Fairley. The loud-n-proud persona of Fairley is the perfect compliment to Suh’s simmering intensity. With Washburn adding that needed seasoning to the mix, Suh looks to explode this year and make fourth-year Suh the best one yet.

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