Lions want Ndamukong Suh to step up into leadership role
After the Lions parted ways with Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams this offseason, they didn’t only lose a pair of veterans who were no longer able to produce at their previously high-level. The Lions also lost two vocal leaders in their locker room. The need for leadership mostly narrows down on the defensive side of the ball, though not the entire defense. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch has warmed up to the role over the past two seasons and a healthy safety Louis Delmas also fits the bill. But the Lions are also in the sudden need of some leadership on the defensive line that features eight young players – including four rookies and two second-year pros.
Coach Jim Schwartz believes Suh could fill that void on at the front of the line and that the player is already making steps in that direction.
“That’s something he’s embraced. He’s been working very hard and he’s sort have been, I don’t want to say waiting for that opportunity,” said Schwartz, “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,” continued Schwartz, “it comes from the regular season. Yeah, it’s time for guys like that to step up into some of those roles.”
Oddly for a player who’s touted for a leadership role, Suh hasn’t been seeing a lot of his teammates as the 26-year-old missed most of the Lions’ off-season conditioning program.
But Schwartz isn’t disappointed in Suh’s decision to workout individually, way from the team before the OTAs.
“I think the important thing is when we’re on the field and doing this stuff, he’s been here now,” said Schwartz. “And he came in in great shape.”
Regardless, fans are still skeptical about fitting Suh into a leadership role since it doesn’t exactly translate to his personality. Suh isn’t an emotional “rah-rah” type of guy but chooses to let his actions do the talking. Teammate Stephen Tulloch also believed that while Suh is dominant on the defense, a leadership role isn’t exactly his cup of tea.
"No, he's a quiet guy, you know how Suh is," said Tulloch. "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."