After our initial post on Detroit Lions Fever went to press Thursday, ESPN Insider K.C. Joyner published yet another optimistic look at the Lions' fortunes for the 2011 season. You'll need an Insider subscription to read the entire piece, but Joyner mostly focused on how the Lions can maximize the defensive tackle combination of Ndamukong Suh and rookie Nick Fairley.
Here is a snippet: "What makes the pairing of these two so potent is that offenses usually only attempt to double-team block one defensive tackle on running plays. [Lions defensive coordinator Gunther] Cunningham echoed this sentiment when I asked him about this. He said, 'As far as Suh and Fairley playing together in the same front, [the offense] will have to make a decision on which way to slide the center and take the two to block one of them. We will have to figure out what the offense has in mind and work with the one that gets the single block from the guard.' Cunningham also indicated he was considering rotating Suh and Fairley so that he would always have one of them at full strength on every play."
The possibility of a rotation interests me. Remember, Suh was on the field for a higher percentage of his team's plays last season than any other NFL defensive tackle. He's young and in good shape, but strategically pulling back those snaps might be best for everyone.
Joyner typically takes a contrarian approach to football analysis, but this piece is pretty conventional. He concludes that the Suh-Fairley combination, along with the scheming of Cunningham and Lions coach Jim Schwartz "could also be the beginning of a nightmarish scenario for opposing NFC North quarterbacks."
We'll add it to our growing file on Lions fever.