By Max De Leuuw – Collegiate Staff
The Detroit Lions will be playing the 2015 season without the defensive presence of one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh, who recently signed with the Miami Dolphins.
After the Lions finished the 2014 season with a defense that ranked second in the league, many fans are worried that Suh’s absence will strike a big blow for Detroit. While Suh is great at what he does, fans need to take a deep breath. The Lions will be just fine without him.
Coming from Baltimore, 31-year-old Haloti Ngata will be replacing Suh at DT. Given his age, you have to question the Lions decision when you look at the team long term.
Who knows how long Ngata will be able to contribute productively to the Lions’ defensive unit. For the time being, particularly for this season at least, Ngata should be a decent replacement. He had two forced fumbles last regular season and two interceptions. He recorded 31 combined tackles but only two sacks.
The Lions definitely took a step down from Suh who had 53 combined tackles and 8.5 sacks. That being said, Suh didn’t have any interceptions or forced fumbles. This is the first time in Ngata’s career that he will be changing uniforms, as he has been a Raven since he started his professional career in 2006. At least for the time being, Ngata can benefit the Lions with his veteran experience and decent stats.
Part of the reason why the Lions didn’t stick with Reggie Bush is because they were hoping that they could use the extra cap money to hold onto Suh. That wasn’t the only reason.
If Bush put up more points, than Detroit would have been more willing to put up more dollars to hold onto him. It turns out that the efforts to keep Suh were wasted, costing the Lions a decent running back as well.
While it would have been nice to keep Suh, it’s good that Detroit can take a big step back and actually consider what’s best for this team now that he’s gone. They tried so hard to keep him that they lost focus of everything else that could be done to make the team be the best it could be.
And what’s the result? Goodbye Bush, hello Ngata.