Lions want Ndamukong Suh to be more of a leader


In the wake of the Lions’ 4-12 finish last season, there was a lot of talk about the need for more accountability and leadership from the team’s younger players.

The leadership need is even more acute now that the Lions have said goodbye to veterans like Jeff Backus, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams this offseason. One player that the Lions are looking at to fill that void is defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and coach Jim Schwartz thinks that Suh is making steps in that direction.

“That’s something he’s embraced,” Schwartz said, via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. “He’s been working very hard and he’s sort have been, I don’t want to say waiting for that opportunity, but when he came in as a rookie, he came in to a group that had a lot of veteran players, guys that had a lot of experience in the league and he did a good job learning behind those guys. But now that he’s a young veteran, it’s time for him and a lot of other guys to start showing that leadership and that comes from this time of year, comes from training camp, it comes from the regular season. Yeah, it’s time for guys like that to step up into some of those roles.”

McCosky includes the quote from Schwartz in a column urging the Lions to let Suh focus on playing with the hope that he turns into a player whose play makes him a leader “by deed” instead of words. McCosky references Calvin Johnson as another player who does that for the Lions and thinks Suh can have a similar impact on the defense. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch agrees with that assessment of the style that best suits Suh.

“No, he’s a quiet guy, you know how Suh is,” Tulloch said. “But I will say this, he’s very dominant. I can’t get mad at him. He can be as quiet as he wants. He’s probably the most dominant defensive tackle I’ve ever been around.”

If Suh can be as dominant as Tulloch says, it would make little difference whether or not he’s a rah-rah guy in team meetings or a Ray Lewis-type emotional leader in the huddle. The Lions should prioritize getting Suh to play at that level while letting the naturally vocal leaders on the team find their voices.

29 responses to “Lions want Ndamukong Suh to be more of a leader

  1. I hope all those arm-stomping, nut-kicking antics from the last two years were just youthful immaturity, then.

  2. I don’t see it…And apparently Tulloch hasn’t been around all that many DTs.

  3. “Here, rookies .. I volunteered to show you the proper way to get ejected from an NFL game or to get a phone call from the Commissioner. And tomorrow, I’m going to give you some driving tips.”

  4. The most undisciplined player in the league leading an undisciplined team….fitting.

  5. The Lions have as much hope of Suh being a leader as I do of hoping that my gas will start smelling more like roses.

  6. A lot of people have started off as idiots but eventually grown up. Some don’t grow up. I just hope, as a Lions fan, he falls into the first category

  7. Suh is the man. Funny how everyone talks crap about Suh but would love if he was on their team. Keep talkin crap

    No actually after last season im happy with Gerald McCoy instead and he is a leader on the field and in the community

  8. Everyone criticizing would love to have him on their team. And, seriously, this is the most be have talked about a Defensive Tackle since Warren Sapp retired…which may explain part of Sapp’s fascination with constantly critiquing the young Mr. Suh.

    He may not always do things the way fans or writers want, but, he’s a load and there is not single NFL team that he wouldn’t be starting for tomorrow as a DT.

  9. I love how all the experts, guys who live and breathe football for a living, think Suh is a top 5 DT. Yet all the ignorant fans think hes not good.

    I would kind of think hes pretty darn good, and I dont miss a single snap of a Lions game.

    Also funny how the Bears GM admitted they drafted Kyle Long because of Suh. I think this all adds up to Suh being good. Any other stupid reasons why you think Suh is not good? Lets hear em’

  10. This is why the Detroit lions should do HBO’s “hard knocks”.

    Their and Suh’s Reputations Made it to be repaired. What better place to showcase who they truly are other than “Hard Knocks”.

  11. You either are a leader of men or your not. If you have to “hope” someone will be more of a leader it probably does not bode well.

  12. Don’t want to get too philosophical here, but leadership is earned, not bestowed. I don’t think he really wants it.

  13. Heh. Sounds like more BS to ask him so they don’t feel bad about letting him hit the free agent market next year.

    Seriously, what kind of leader would Suh be? “Here’s how you stomp on someone’s leg, rookie.” “Here’s how to get yourself ejected from a game and suspended for a week…”

    …just get the guy to be a professional on the field instead of an angry idiot. Start there. Take baby steps to the leadership thing.

  14. Ray Lewis and leader in the same sentence has rang hollow to me ever since he and his cronies ended a couple lives. Suh might not have flawless character but emulating Ray Lewis leadership ability is not a positive thing.

  15. 1st off: I wouldn’t want Suh on my team.

    IMO, if this guy leads by example on the field, the Lions coaches are messed up in their request for such a controversial player to be more responsible.
    Expect a holdout for more $ if he “foots” this new role.

  16. @lionsdraftguy:

    I admit, I don’t like Suh…His play has declined since his rookie year, and he has made more than his share of plays that many observers (including me) consider unsportsmanlike.

    And no, I would not want him on the Bears…Our clubhouse has plenty of real leaders, and our defense is Top-5 in the league…Suh wouldn’t make it any better, and would be a penalty-risk with his penchant for dirty hits. Distraction not needed, thanks.

    Now, if y’all want to give us CJ to play opposite Marshall, that’s another story…(-;

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