The key to the whole operation for the Detroit Lions in 2013 will be the play of their two lines.
On offense, the quarterback is in place and the weapons are assembled on the outside. The only thing left to question is how three new faces upfront will allow the offensive line to click.
"That's kind of where everything starts," he said. "If you miss one block the play doesn't go."
On the other side of the football, everything the Lions do on defense starts with the four guys upfront.
"The other day, Tully (LB
"We had a run-play-action drill, I said 'Tully what's wrong,' he said 'I can't get my reads, Nick (Fairley) and (Ndamukong) Suh are screwing up every play that they run. I couldn't get any reads, they're knocking the crap out of everybody.' I was laughing because I saw it from the sideline."
Combined, the Lions defensive linemen recorded 62.5 negative defensive plays at the line of scrimmage (sacks and tackles for losses on rushing plays) in 2012, third in the NFL among defensive line units last year.
The line also generated 31 sacks, which was seventh in the NFL among defensive lines.
The linebackers play off the defensive line in this scheme. How good the secondary can be will go hand-in-hand with how quickly those players can get to the quarterback.
"I think as our team goes, those two lines go," Suh said. "I just think that's the way it is. I think we understand it. Both groups understand it. I know Dom (Raiola) preaches that. I understand that and preach the same thing. So we need to push each other in camp and through these practices.
"Beat your friend up, pick him up and push him ahead and let's start it all over again."
Maybe that's why pass rushing drills and padded practices have been so spirited through camp between the two groups. Both lines know what they mean in the grand scheme of things.