As the Cardinals are set to host the Detroit Lions, I had a few questions for our Lions blog Pride Of Detroit. A couple of the responses I already featured regarding Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. But the game features two 4-9 teams that had so much more expected of them to start the season.
Here is what I asked:
At 4-9, the season has been a train wreck for us. What is the feeling in Detroit?
Train wreck would be a good way to describe the Lions' season as well. Actually, the entire year has been a train wreck ever since the Lions were knocked out of the playoffs back in January. The offseason was marred by arrests, the season has been marred by issues with Titus Young and in general the team has not played to its full potential. They have been in position to win much more than four games, but as Jim Schwartz likes to say, your record is your record. The Lions just haven't been consistent enough this season, and it has cost them several games. As a result, the Lions have reverted back to their old ways, and now fans are busy talking about the draft and whether or not coaching changes should be made in the offseason.
Ndamukong Suh...what do the Lions fans say about him? He is intense, but from our vantage point he is just on that side of dirty. Case in point -- the crotch shot on Matt Schaub. If it were truly an accident, he would have felt sorry because all men can sympathize (see Bomani Jones argument on this). Is he worth the headache still, and will he reach the point where the headache is too much?
Ndamukong Suh gets a bad rap, but he brings it on himself. What I mean by that is that Suh receives criticism for a lot of hits that don't even raise an eyebrow when somebody else does something similar. That's where he gets a bad rap. The reason he gets a bad rap is because of a couple unnecessary personal fouls on quarterbacks early in his career and the infamous Thanksgiving stomp. The whole dirty player label is overblown to me (Suh only has one personal foul all season), but Suh certainly hasn't done his reputation on the field any favors. The same goes for his reputation off the field with his sketchy driving record and how he handles the response to questions about his play on the field.
Given how well he's been playing as of late, the headache seems to be worth it. However, I don't know if he is necessarily worth his contract. Like Stafford, his deal came in under the old CBA, and it has put the Lions in a tough spot as far as the salary cap goes. For that reason alone, he may someday no longer be worth the cap hit, but that's an entirely different story.
We know about Stafford, Johnson, Suh, etc...who is a player or who are some players that Cardinals fans will be surprised at and who have been a bit under the radar?
On offense, running back Joique Bell has really emerged as a solid contributor this season. He was signed off the Saints practice squad at the end of 2011, and he has played well enough to work his way into the rotation at running back with Mikel Leshoure. He's a good runner and a solid pass-catcher. Leshoure gets most of the attention, but Bell has done a very good job in 2012.
Defensively, I think people have overlooked what Nick Fairley has done this season a bit. Fairley has been outstanding, but Suh often overshadows him. Also, Chris Houston has been very solid at cornerback for the Lions. The secondary isn't very good, but Houston is definitely a bright spot.
My responses found on Pride of Detroit are here
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