Detroit Lions Midseason Grades: Defensive Tackle Report Card

2 of 5

Ndamukong Suh

Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) makes off balance throw that was hurried by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) during 1st half of a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports


Detractors of the most controversial defender in football will point out that he has only three sacks this season, which puts him on pace for only a pedestrian six sacks in 2013. Sacks, of course, are an esoteric and misleading stat. Flushing a quarterback out of the pocket and forcing him to throw a pass away is a huge defensive play, and is a result of the same circumstances as a sack. Suh may only have three sacks, but Pro Football Focus credits him with 31 QB hurries and an overall grade of +18.3 on the season. He’s basically in the backfield on every play, and has even improved his play against the run.

Grade: B+


Suh’s impact doesn’t show in the stat sheet as much as it should. To say that he affects every play is an understatement. It’s more like teams plan their offense around his presence, which is why quarterbacks facing the Lions are so quick to flush out and get rid of the ball. It’s just unfortunate that his reputation for dirty play supercedes the fact that he’s a dominant player.

Grade: A+

Vs. Expectations

To those for whom sack production is the ultimate value of a pass rusher, Suh is not living up to expectations. But to those who actually understand the game of football, he’s having an All-Pro-caliber year. It will be interesting to see if the lemming-like “Dirty Suh” narrative causes him to miss out on the recognition he deserves.

Grade: B+


Suh learned against Cincinnati that he can’t even hit someone legally without someone in the league office getting a fine-carrying FedEx package ready. He really doesn’t want the “dirty player” label, but you can tell he’s tired of fighting it in press conferences, especially considering how personal fouls haven’t been a serious issue for him since 2011. Regardless, he keeps going out there and doing his job better than almost anyone else ever could.

Grade: A