Lions are getting a glimpse of just how dominating Suh and Fairley can be together

Posted Dec 6, 2012

The rise in Fairley’s play, and the ability for he and Suh to play off one another, has obviously made the middle of that defensive line even more dangerous.

The Lions spent consecutive first-round picks on Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the 2010 and 2011 drafts, respectively.

Suh came first as the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 and Fairley followed the next year at No. 13.

The thought in selecting Fairley was that the Lions could bolster an already terrific defensive front and potentially form a dynamic duo to anchor the middle of their front four line, causing havoc for the future.

Detroit saw first-hand the mayhem Kevin Williams and Pat Williams caused as the “Williams Wall” in the middle of the Vikings' defense in the mid 2000s. Both Williams’ made the Pro Bowl from 2006-08.

“I’ve faced some pretty good (duos) in all my years,” said Lions center Dominic Raiola, who considers the Williams’ among the list. “Kevin is an athletic pass rusher. He’s big strong fast. He’s the total package. Pat was big and powerful.”

Raiola said Suh and Fairley have the potential to be just as dominant.

They still have a ways to go as a tandem before they reach that status, but the potential certainly seems to be there and the last month has given Lions fans a glimpse into the future.

Over the past month in which Fairley has been starting for the injured Corey Williams – who’s also played well when healthy this year – Suh and Fairley have a combined for 32 tackles, 17 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss and five sacks.

“They play very well together,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said in a conference call this week. “I think the scheme is definitely very complimentary to their skills. Nick is really having a heck of a year."

Suh has had a consistently strong all season, but his impact has spiked the last month playing alongside Fairley.

"(I) love playing fast,” Suh said. “That's the way we're taught to play. That is the scheme that we have. Get up the field, disrupt and cause havoc.

“So it's exciting to be able to have a guy that does that as well as myself. The other guys do it as well, they just have a different style and a different kind ... it's a different way that he plays that I guess may or may not work a little bit better with me.”

The Lions can run four deep at defensive tackle and have confidence in all four. It’s probably the deepest defensive tackle unit in the league. Williams has played well when healthy and Hill has been steady all year.

“Definitely having Corey (Williams) back now too and Sammie Hill, I mean that’s an excellent rotation they have in there,” McCarthy said. “It’s impressive to watch. Very active and there’s really nothing that really fits what they do.”

But the rise in Fairley’s play, and the ability for he and Suh to play off one another, has obviously made the middle of that defensive line even more dangerous.

“Nick has emerged and has played well and I think that’s a good sign not just for Ndamukong, but it’s a good sign for our defensive line, it’s a good sign for our defense,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said.