Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s numbers have declined across the board since his rookie year: He had more tackles, sacks, passes defensed and forced fumbles as a rookie than he has had in his second and third seasons combined. But Suh insists that a decline in his numbers doesn’t translate to a decline in his quality of play.
Asked about the box score from Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, which didn’t include Suh’s name at all, Suh bristled at any suggestion that he hadn’t had an impact.
“If it was true, it would bug me,” Suh said, via Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.com. “But the key point in your question is recorded because the film never lies, and there’s been a lot of games I’ve experienced that throughout this year. For whatever reason, I can’t tell you that. You’ll have to ask somebody else, but that’s just the way the chips fell. In the stat book, I got no tackles. What I did on the field was a different story.”
After Suh’s rookie year, people were talking about him like he was the next Mean Joe Greene, a truly game-changing defensive lineman. There were even suggestions that Suh would have a greater impact on the Lions than Barry Sanders did. No one is suggesting that anymore: Suh is still a fine player, but he’s not a dominant force, and considering how high he set the bar as a rookie, he’s now viewed by some as a disappointment.
So what does Suh think about that?
“To me, I don’t care because I’ve always had high expectations when I came out as a senior in high school to a senior in college going into being a rookie here in the NFL,” Suh said. “To me, it doesn’t really matter.”
The numbers may not matter, but Suh’s production does. And the numbers reflect that Suh isn’t producing on the same level as he was when he was a rookie.