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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
Keep track of which quarterbacks Suh has faced and which ones he has taken down.

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Lions Coaches Just Don't Learn From Mistakes

Week in and week out it is the same thing we see from the Detroit Lions. They do the same thing and almost the same game plan every Sunday. The coaches do not seem capable of changing up from week to week much less at half times.

The Detroit Lions have one of the best defensive lines, if not the best defensive line, in the NFL. The problem is, these guys play hard every snap. They do not take plays off and they play hard from snap to whistle. This is a great thing for the first half and sometimes even the third quarter, but late in the game, these guys are tired. Not the usual football tired, but absolutely gassed. This can be fixed if the coaches would simply use some intelligence. For one, part of the blame falls on Scott Linehan for not being able to keep the defense off the field most of the game, but that is a subject I will hit in a moment. Gunther Cunningham could help them out a lot by using the blitz, but he simply refuses to do so.

With only a few minutes into the third quarter, the Lions had blitzed only five times on pass plays. After that, for almost the entire third quarter and the fourth as well, the Lions blitzed on a pass play only once. One time! When the Linemen are at their most exhausted state and cannot get to the quarterback, rather than blitz and help his guys out, Gunther decides to allow Tom Brady, one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, to have all day to throw. So rather than blitzing, and forcing Brady to get rid of the ball inside of two or three seconds, the defensive line (that is already exhausted) has to fight for three to six seconds each play.

It is a simple thing to realize in the NFL. If given time, even decent receivers will get open against the best defensive backs. If given time, even average quarterbacks will find open receivers and hit their targets. So why would you choose to give Tom Brady extra time rather than blitz and hurry him up?

In the first half of the game, the Lions put a lot of pressure on Brady and he had a lot of trouble moving the ball. It was not until our defensive line grew too tired to put that pressure on him that he became lights out. In fact, Brady completed his last ten attempts in a row and had three touchdowns in that time. So ask yourself what is better. To give a great quarterback extra time to throw and use more coverage to defend the pass, or to blitz and force him to get rid of the ball early?

The real problem here is that Gunther does this nearly every game. It is becoming too familiar of a sight to watch the Lions defensive line grow too tired to get to the quarterback and rather than help them out, Gunther plays the pass rather than blitzing and allows opposing quarterbacks extra time to find open receivers. By the way... In case he has not noticed, the Lions cornerbacks are decent, but not great. They are not players you want covering for five seconds on a play.

As for Linehan, he has been redundant for far too long. Every game I complain about him opening the playbook and scoring then becoming conservative and allowing opponents to stay in the game. In the first quarter against the Patriots, Hill had three pass attempts that went for over ten yards. One of them was for more than 20 yards. In the second quarter, he had only one attempt for more than ten yards and none for twenty plus. That one attempt for more than ten yards came with only 9 seconds left in the half. In the third quarter, Hill had three attempts for 10+ yards. One of those was on a 3rd and 8, so he was forced to throw ten yards. But in the fourth when playing from behind, they threw five passes for 10+ yards.

The Lions simply have too much talent on offense to not sustain more drives and keep the defense off the field. They have too much talent to allow opposing teams to stay close every game. They have the talent to be an explosive offensive unit, but Linehan uses them like a powerhouse team that runs the ball first and dinks and dunks on short yardage plays.

A couple other notes.....

Ndamukong Suh's sack on Tom Brady in the first quarter came on a blitz that helped free him up.

Only twice in the six total blitzes did Brady connect for a completion. One was the touchdown in the fourth quarter, but that was a delayed blitz and he was throwing the ball before the blitzer was within four yards of him.

Not once did Shaun Hill attempt a pass for more than 25 yards down field. (I believe this allows a defense to feel comfortable that they will not be beat deep.)

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