LIONS INSIDER

Ndamukong Suh realizing how important the mental part of the game is

Posted Aug 13, 2013

Suh's starting to understand the defense and what opposing offenses are doing to stop him so he can find more places to make play

Ndamukong Suh has been one of the league’s best defensive tackles over the last three years because he’s been stronger and quicker than almost all of the players who are paid to try and stop him.

Suh has already been to two Pro Bowls and named an All-Pro during his short career, but he’s now realized how important the mental part of the game is and how incorporating that aspect into his game could make him unstoppable.

“I think without question it’s just growing up,” Suh said. “Being in the game four years deep now and understanding that it’s not all about brut strength.

“Really, when I was coming out as a rookie it was just being physical and playing as hard and as fast as possible.

“Now it’s a combination of the two. Knowing where I can cheat a guy or beat a guy because I see him leaning or doing something different. He thinks I’m doing this because we always do this in a particular play and I can switch it up and still beat a guy.”

It’s playing the mind game within the game that’s been the next progression for Suh. He’s starting to understand the defense and what opposing offenses are doing to stop him so he can find more places to make plays.

He’s taken on the defensive line calls as part of his duties in 2013, a job handled by Kyle Vanden Bosch in the past.

“I was very prideful and happy to take the designated role of being the line caller, but anyone has the power to go out there and call it if they see something,” Suh said.

It's all part of the progression of his game. Suh has taken on a leadership role that stems all the way back to the offseason before the players were even in Allen Park.

“He texted a lot of us this offseason with leadership roles, what we can talk about as a group instead of coaches getting together to talk to us,” veteran cornerback Chris Houston said of Suh.

“I think that’s what leaders do. Don’t wait on the coach to get on us, but a person in the locker room gets up and gets on us. He’s taken Ziggy under his wing and him and Nick Fairley are real close. His taken on a big role and I really enjoy it.”

Some of that is trying to set an example like Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams did for him when he came into the league.

Maybe it’s just being more experience and “growing up” as Suh called it, but he’s come back a different player in 2013. A more well-rounded player and that should have offensive coordinators even more worried than they were before.