ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Ndamukong Suh has said he always wants to face the best, be it the guy blocking him or the guy he’s trying to sack.
So that Jay Cutler is questionable Sunday for the Detroit Lions’ game against the Chicago Bears is an unfortunate thing for the Lions defensive tackle, who has had a decent history against the division rival.
Suh has faced Chicago seven times. He has five sacks and 18 tackles, with four of those sacks coming in the last three games. He also forced a fumble when the Lions beat the Bears in September.
So not seeing Cutler on the field Sunday would be a disappointment for Suh, who said Wednesday he is rooting for the Bears quarterback to play.
“I love playing against Cutler,” Suh said. “He’s a tough guy.”
Tough enough that there is still a chance the two could meet at Soldier Field as Cutler tries to come back from a torn groin muscle. Chicago coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday that “we’ll know more” Thursday about whether Cutler will play this weekend.
Suh, though, downplayed any history he may have with Cutler -- Cutler is one of the quarterbacks Suh has been fined for hitting in the past -- saying he has a history with anyone who has played in the NFC North.
And he’s right.
While he has played well against Chicago, he has similar statistics against the other division rival with a top-flight quarterback, Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers. In seven games against the Packers, Suh has 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks. So not quite as strong but still productive.
Part of that is the product of familiarity -- the coaches and players in the division know each other better than most, see each other twice a year.
Suh made his name in the NFL in part because of matchups like this, games like this, where he faces the best offensive linemen and best quarterbacks in the league and has success against them. Perhaps Suh’s best game this season came against the Bears in September.
“He’s a good player. He worked hard in the week of preparation,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “He performed well on Sunday. I don’t think there’s anything else behind that. He’s a good player. We expect him to perform well.
“It’s a big game. It’s a division game and it means an awful lot to us and for him to have a good game will go a long way to helping our defense.”