One of the big stories from Week One could resonate deep into the season, and possibly beyond.
During Sunday’s pregame show on FOX, Jay Glazer reported that Lions teammates have concerns about defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s ability to play within the rules.
“Even in practice, Ndamukong gives guys the business,” Glazer said. “He’ll slam a guy’s head against the ground. He’ll stomp on a guy. He’ll take little shots at guys. And guys are concerned if he can’t control himself even in practice with us, how can he control himself against someone else’s jersey?”
While the officials and the NFL control the games, the Lions control practice. And if Suh is engaged in overly aggressive tactics against teammates in practice, the Lions need to do something about it.
That’s the dilemma for the coaching staff. Coach Jim Schwartz learned the craft in Tennessee under Jeff Fisher, where defensive players who dance on the line, and periodically throw a punch over it, were embraced.
It’s a tough balance to strike. One executive with a team known for avoiding problem players recently mused to PFT about the wisdom of having some renegades on defense.
It’s one thing to have a few chippy players. It’s another to have a guy — who’s now a captain — who wreaks havoc in practice and in games and makes himself a focal point for the wrong reasons.
In the not-too-distant future, the Lions will have to decide whether they want to keep Suh around for the long term. If they choose to give him a huge-money extension, it’ll be the ultimate endorsement of Suh’s tactics in practice and in games.