Where critics whiff on Suh

Lions tackle remains among league's elite interior linemen

Updated: December 1, 2012, 1:49 PM ET
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider
SuhAP Photo/Carlos OsorioBehavior aside, Ndamukong Suh remains a rare player in the NFL.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has drawn attention to himself with his dirty play on the field, which followed an offseason of questionable behavior off of it. The chorus of Suh enthusiasts has shrunk since his rookie campaign, in which he was a dominant force, earning All-Pro recognition and totaling 66 tackles to go along with 10 sacks.

And although it has become impossible to debate his track record of misbehavior, some also have posited that Suh no longer plays the game at an elite level. From a simple statistical gauge, his numbers have been curtailed since his rookie season in 2010. He has managed just 20 tackles and 4.5 sacks through 11 games this season, and the Lions' defense has not resembled the aggressive, opportunistic group it was in 2011.

But a careful examination of his film suggests a much different story.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.