Lions All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was identified by the league as one of 21 “at-risk” players who have “teetered on the boundaries of the league’s new way of doing on-field business,” reports NFL.com’s Albert Breer. As a result, NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent is seeking out the 21 players to address the issue directly. “There’s been pushback, and some anger,” says Breer, but in Suh’s case, Vincent was encouraged by their in-person sit-down.
“He was very receptive, he understood, he cared about the perception, his reputation, and I told him we’re not trying to take the edge he plays with away,” Vincent said. “I said, ‘We’ve seen you adjust, we’ve seen an adjustment in your play, let’s keep that going.’ … We met for hours, talking about the example he sets, the role model he’s become, and emphasizing his adjustment. What he did was set the bar with his approach, since he was first.”
That news will probably be met with a collective eye roll from opposing players and fans who have grown tired of Suh’s lip service, but all eyes will be on him to see if he cleans up his act under a new coaching staff expected to incorporate more discipline than Jim Schwartz’s teams exhibited.
Here’s a few more Lions news and notes:
- Running back Mikel Leshoure was a second-round pick in 2012, but he’s fourth on the Lions’ depth chart as the preseason kicks off, writes Mlive.com’s Kyle Meinke. However, people around the team seem to think that’s more a reflection of the team’s depth at the position rather than Leshoure underachieving. Even though new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi comes from New Orleans, where the Saints used a stable of capable runners, it’s difficult to envision the Lions carrying Leshoure as a projected inactive or severing ties, particularly if he has trade value, as Meinke’s Mlive colleague Justin Rogers suggests. “Mikel Leshoure still looks the part of a former second-round pick,” says Rogers. “The fourth-year running back has the size, speed and strength teams covet in the backfield, but it’s increasingly clear he’ll struggle to see the field in Detroit…Leshoure has looked good during the early stages of training camp and has been rewarded with plenty of reps with the first-team offense. But no matter how much work he gets and how well he practices, it’s difficult seeing a role for Leshoure without an injury to another player.”
- “An area of concern for Detroit at this point might be Ezekiel Ansah,” says ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Ansah (shoulder) is still on the active physically unable to perform list, and while he’s been working on the side with trainers, Rothstein wonders how far behind he’s falling physically and/or mentally, especially with the team implementing a new scheme.
- Fourth-rounder Nevin Lawson isn’t expected to have a major impact this season, but he’s in an enviable position to learn and grow, according to Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji, who points out that the rookie stands to benefit from practice reps against Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate and tutelage from Rashean Mathis. With the Lions adding Drayton Florence to the mix, Lawson will likely begin the year fifth on the depth chart, as the team is willing to take a patient approach with his development.
- It looks as if veteran Kevin Ogletree is establishing himself as the No. 3 receiver, says Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez in the Detroit Free Press.