<
>

Ndamukong Suh has Patriots' attention

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels consistently use one word to describe Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: “disruptive.”

The Patriots’ offense is preparing for battle with the Lions’ top-tier defense, led by Suh.

"He’s an extremely disruptive player in any alignment that they put him in,” McDaniels said. “He’s a great football player. He plays the run well, creates a lot of problems in pass protection. He penetrates. He can handle double-teams and beat single blocks and moves with the other defensive linemen very well.”

What makes Suh tough to block beyond his strength is his versatility of attack points along the line of scrimmage.

“They don’t play him in the exact same spot the entire game,” McDaniels said. “So it’s not like you always know where he is going to be. We have an idea, but he moves enough and is versatile enough to play outside even though he plays inside most of the time.

“You can’t necessarily set your watch to where he is going to be, and he plays with incredible effort, strength, power, leverage, speed, quickness. Every superlative you can put on him that’s what this guy brings to the defense.”

One player of Suh’s caliber can be a difference-maker, but the extra attention he draws helps to create opportunities for his teammates. Belichick is fully aware of avoiding too much of a focus on Suh, which would allow for a player such as defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to have an impact.

“[Suh] definitely creates some opportunities for some other guys in there,” Belichick said. “But that’s a good defense with guys like Ansah and [Jason] Jones, and [C.J.] Mosley has done a good job for [Nick] Fairley. All those guys are hard to handle -- [George] Johnson -- they roll them all through there.

“They do a good job with their pressure defenses, bringing linebackers and secondary guys. They do enough to keep you off balance and there’s enough movement up front that you can’t really count on everybody being right where they are when the ball will snap. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they’re not.

“As much as you try to double somebody -- say, Suh -- sometimes you can’t because the guy you would have doubling him has to block the blitzer and pass-rusher. They create difficult matchups like that.”

The Lions rank fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (221.5), first in rushing yards allowed (68.8) and are 10th in sacks (26). Limiting the impact of the Lions’ defensive front is priority number one for the Patriots and the offensive line.

“Obviously [Suh] deserves a lot of attention, but at the same time they have a really good front around him,” McDaniels said. “They have fast linebackers that are very disruptive, a lot of tackles for loss and a lot of that is because people spend so much time trying to neutralize [Suh].

“You have to try to strike a balance by doing what you do best and trying to minimize his impact on the game because when he has a big impact it’s usually a real negative play.”