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Lions coordinator: Blame coverage breakdown, not Suh, for Colts’ TD

Gunther Cunningham AP

Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has taken some criticism for his play on the Colts’ game winning touchdown in Detroit on Sunday, but Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says he doesn’t know where that criticism is coming from.

Asked about a story in which an anonymous Lions coach is quoted as saying that Suh got out of position on the play and allowed Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to step up in the pocket and complete his pass, Cunningham said that is not correct. Instead, Cunningham said, it was a coverage breakdown allowing Colts receiver Donnie Avery to get open in the middle of the field that deserves to be blamed.

“One guy fell down and the nickel did a poor job and never saw it,” Cunningham said. “It was a good coverage and we misplayed it, and what a time to misplay something.”

Cunningham’s claim that “it was a good coverage” may be self serving, but from my own look at the tape, I don’t think blaming Suh makes sense. Suh did his best to fight through the double team on the play, while none of his three fellow defensive linemen won their one-on-one battles, and the seven Lions who dropped into coverage left Avery open. (Cunningham wouldn’t name the nickel who did a poor job, but he must have been referring to Jacob Lacey.)

Cunningham also said he wasn’t crazy about hearing anonymous quotes.

“Boy, anonymous gets around, doesn’t he?” Cunningham said. “All I care about is Ndamukong and our football team and everybody’s good. The thing about it is this time of the year, all kinds of things are said and done and we’re trying to win a game and I know where his head is and mine and defensive players. We’ve got a job to do and that’s what we’re going to do.”

A lot of Lions haven’t done their jobs this season. But Suh’s performance against the Colts on Sunday was the least of the Lions’ problems.

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16 Responses to “Lions coordinator: Blame coverage breakdown, not Suh, for Colts’ TD”
  1. hedleykow says: Dec 7, 2012 5:55 PM

    Cunningham is walking back his anonymous Lions coach comment that it was Suh’s fault after rewatching the film of Matt Schaub getting kicked square in the balls by Suh.

  2. gg206 says: Dec 7, 2012 6:00 PM

    I respect Gunther as a defensive mind and I thought he got a raw deal as coach of the chiefs for only 2 seasons and was a OK head coach.. But with that said , D Coordinators should not be heard of THIS much in one year.. Someone please get him a muzzle

  3. lionsdraftguy says: Dec 7, 2012 6:12 PM

    Here comes the trash talk against Suh and the Lions from retarded fans.

  4. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 7, 2012 6:42 PM

    If Gunther truly cared, then he’d seek out other people to help him get his defense under control so that it can play well because it is not a good defense and it hasn’t been good all season long. That’s his job and his responsibility to make it good and I don’t see enough progress (granted in addition to our personnel decisions being mind boggling). He has a lousy scheme and his players are regularly making mistakes and being exposed to vulnerabilities, and it’s his fault as it’s his plan that doesn’t work with a high consistency rate, nor does it make a lot of big plays or create turnovers! What is he talking about?

    It’s time for a new GM to come in here and not tolerate these shortcomings. We’ve had an opportunity to win ALL 12 of these games! This is unacceptable!

  5. thefiesty1 says: Dec 7, 2012 6:43 PM

    It’s just the Lions. Get over it. It just doesn’t matter with them. They are just like the Browns and Bengals. It’s ownership, stupid!

  6. ar1888 says: Dec 7, 2012 7:02 PM

    That last play was the best play Jacob Lacey ever had for the Colts.

  7. ryanw411 says: Dec 7, 2012 7:37 PM

    I was not a fan of hiring Cunningham and he can be on the vanilla side of play calling but the guy has done a good job for us overall. If you look at what he has done in fielding a respectable unit despite the talent on the back end of that defense you have to have some respect for him as a coach. If the offense was playing to half of its potential defense would be the last of the worries in Detroit, it has overachieved really while what is supposed to be our strength is just now starting to show some signs of life consistently.

  8. zeeman911 says: Dec 7, 2012 7:51 PM

    Lions have lost every game by 1 score or less, except 1 game by 10pts. We have been in every game and I expect a good turn around next year.

  9. tokyosandblaster says: Dec 7, 2012 9:15 PM

    Trash talking about the lions makes one retarded?

    They’re 4-8, right? Wouldn’t DEFENDING them be considered more retarded?

    Just curious.

    Also, retarded is a rude word, I’m just using it because it’s the word some Detroit gang banger used.

  10. ososrule says: Dec 7, 2012 9:33 PM

    Suh getting blamed for something…..hmmm, that’s unusual…..

  11. jeff91121 says: Dec 7, 2012 9:36 PM

    All I know is that Cunningham’s defense has sucked out loud for his entire tenure in Detroit.

  12. hatesycophants says: Dec 7, 2012 10:44 PM

    Cunningham is full of crap. This was another bs, wide9 play call. They thought he was going to be contained in the pocket and throw to the back of the endzone. He didn’t. Goodbye, Coach Gunny.

  13. ryanw411 says: Dec 7, 2012 11:54 PM

    Lions have lost every game by 1 score or less, except 1 game by 10pts. We have been in every game and I expect a good turn around next year.
    ***********************

    That is exactly it, this team has played good teams tight all year despite playing ugly and just has not been able to get over the hump. I think Linehan needs to go for a lot of reasons (not least of all he has obviously lost Stafford’s respect and trust) but there is no need for a knee-jerk reaction. Teams have down years and the Lions were a young team with a lot of expectations and some glaring holes, it is how they bounce back next year that should determine whether we consider cleaning house majorly.

    Get a good OC that can get the most from Stafford and CJ, have a strong draft/free agency on defense particularly in the secondary, and that alone makes this team a legit contender and potentially scary. Schwartz has made some mistakes in-game but he is a smart guy and deserves a chance to learn from them, he has put together a good team talent wise and should be given the chance to play things out properly.

  14. headonaswivel says: Dec 8, 2012 9:27 AM

    I watched the game and to me, Schwartz really blew the game on the Lions final drive. They played it safe and were content to punt it back to the Colts with a bit over a minute left in the game. They ran it twice and had 3rd and 4 or 5 and ran again, got stuffed and punted. Schwartz played is safe and it bit him in the end.

  15. easyeddie says: Dec 8, 2012 9:47 AM

    tokyosandblaster says: Dec 7, 2012 9:15 PM

    Trash talking about the lions makes one retarded?

    They’re 4-8, right? Wouldn’t DEFENDING them be considered more retarded?

    Just curious.

    Also, retarded is a rude word, I’m just using it because it’s the word some Detroit gang banger used.
    ————————————————————
    Trash talking in general makes one look idiotic. Is that better?

  16. jamezz23 says: Dec 8, 2012 9:48 AM

    The lions aren’t as bad as everyone is playing them out to be. I don’t have numbers but there aren’t many teams whose had a tougher schedule than them and they have lost all their games but one by one possession. The core of players is there, no doubt. If we had press corners that didn’t allow opposing qb’s to get rid of the ball so fast we would have a lot more sacks and create more havoc. I’m my eyes the only way you fire Schwartz is of you can guarantee you can land Tony Dungy, and only him. Other than that I think overall Jim has done a good job with the team. Scott linehan has shown the ability to adjust the last 3 or so weeks, not evident at the beginning of the year and Cunningham has done all right for what he has to work with in the back end of the defence. Their jobs aren’t 100% safe but don’t get rid of them and bring some joke in to just get a chnage and ruin what ever chemistry they have together. I fully expect Detroit to be very good next year, can’t wait.

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