Monday afternoon, Jim Caldwell didn’t want to answer the question everyone and his brother around the Motor City wanted to know about.
Is Ndamukong Suh prepared to leave the Detroit Lions and head to New York in free agency?
“Next question,” Caldwell quickly but calmly snapped at the query, later crediting reporters, who attempted to ask again, for their persistence on the matter.
Prior to Sunday’s game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter released a story that Suh was looking to expand his brand over the offseason, and was planning to do so by heading to play in New York, either for the Jets or the Giants, hence all the questioning even after a victory.
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Remarkably, the pre-game distraction didn’t impact the competition on the field, as the Lions’ defense, led by Suh, dominated the Jets from the start and won 24-17.
That game, and Suh as well as the Lions’ quiet and defiant response in the aftermath should be an excellent blueprint for the fans the rest of the season. Regardless of what may happen to Suh in free agency later, now isn’t the time to worry about those details. Credit Caldwell for establishing that tone quickly at the top.
The Lions, after all, have one of the best defenses in football through the first four games of the season. They have impressed up front, at linebacker and even in the defensive backfield, a spot where numerous breakdowns usually occur historically. The meaning? What Suh plans to do in the offseason isn’t a discussion for today, nor does it need to be.
Plenty of people have gotten frustrated with the Lions for their handling of the situation, whether it be for breaking off negotiations on an extension prior to the year or refusing to discuss the ins and outs of what they plan to do. When it was tabled, it was with the understanding that there was a season to be played, first and foremost. Both Suh and the Lions have made that clear.
For the time being, put aside the worries about what could happen in the offseason and focus on what could happen in the regular season. These Lions, due to their new look attitude, don’t appear to be a nosedive in the making through early or even midseason. It might be hard to get used to, but there should be relevant football in Detroit through the fall and perhaps the early stages of winter to consider first, making the offseason a current afterthought.
It might be hard to get used to, but there should be relevant football in Detroit through the fall and perhaps the early stages of winter to consider first, making the offseason a current afterthought.
At the end of the year, Suh will either leave or stay. The Lions will either have to prepare a plan to deal with his exit, or be navigating a road map towards building the defense around him for the future. Until either outcome happens, though, it’s not a larger than life issue for the team to worry about in October.
Regular season results are, however, which is where everyone’s focus should remain.