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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
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Detroit Lions in Review - Defensive Line

The Detroit Lions greatest point of concern in the off-season should be at the defensive line. It was far too seldom they were able to place any pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. It was far too often they were man handled in both rushing and passing plays. If Jim Schwartz slapped a bunch of pink tutus on the lot of them, they should not be any more embarrassed than what she should have been already.

The fact is, the trenches are truly where the game is won and lost. If you go back to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's worst games of their careers, you will find that they threw interceptions and incompletions because they were hit a lot. Other than Barry Sanders, who always had to find his own way through the defenses, there has probably never been a running back who can play well if the offensive line does not block well. In other words, if a defensive line does its job, the opposing offense will suffer. Close up holes and the running backs cant run anywhere. Pressure the quarterbacks and the cornerbacks don't need to cover nearly as long. The Lions do not live b this analogy. There are often too many holes in the line of scrimmage for the Linebackers to fill. Cornerbacks and safeties are far too often having to cover for five, six or seven seconds. Way too often the opposing quarterbacks only throw the ball because they find a receiver who finally found an opening rather than because he needed to get rid of the ball.

Defensive End - Jason Hunter had 5 sacks and Cliff Avril had 5.5 in 2009. Not really good numbers but not shabby either. If the Lions can get a true pass rusher at Defensive End, it would be a big boost but considering the Lions do not have a defensive tackle who takes up a double team, Hunter and Avril did fairly well.
Grade = ( C+ )

Defensive Tackle - There is talk that Sammie Lee Hill will be a good defensive tackle. Personally I will reserve my judgment on that until I actually see it. He had a couple of games in the 2009 season where he had five tackles, but other than those two games he never had more than two tackles in a game. Hill did not have a sack and since I seriously cannot remember the Lions defensive line putting any pressure on a quarterback, I cannot say I felt Hill did that either. Maybe Schwartz is right and he will be good. I don't know! But until I see it, I will not grade him with a good grade. I can only look at these facts. The opposing quarterbacks had virtually all day to read the defense, find an open receiver and throw the ball. Running backs far too often ran through the line like it was non existent. The Detroit Lions absolutely need a defensive tackle who will draw a double team or create some chaos in the middle. Right now they do not have that or anything close to it.
Grade = ( F )

Overall Grade = ( D )

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