Ndamukong Suh Unsigned? A Plate of Perspective

>> 7.30.2010

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“You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?”

Though players are supposed to report this evening, it's still about 24 hours before the 2010 Detroit Lions open training camp for real: on the field.  We should be buzzing about Matthew Stafford’s first camp as the established starter, positional battles on the offensive line, and the new.  Instead most talk is about whether or not the Lions’ two first-round draft picks, Jahvid Best and Ndamkong Suh, will sign their contracts in time.

Let’s take a step back for a second.  We’ve been discussing Ndamukong Suh, what an unstoppable he-beast he is, and how Suh’d be a plug-in dominator since December.  After the Big XII championship game, many people on this site and elsewhere began expressing their undying love for him, crafting treatises on Ndamukong’s glory, and expounding upon how Suh’d immediately make the Lions’ defensive line both powerful and flexible.

There’s a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt that comes with a late camp entry.  “He’s way behind,” “We’ve already installed 90% of the system,” and “If he can’t get the starting job in camp, he’ll be a backup all year,” are all phrases you hear at this time of year.  But, I’m going to remind you folks of something: Calvin Johnson missed the first eight days of training camp!

Oh, there was woe.  Oh, there were lamentations.  Oh, there was gnashing of teeth.  Calvin wouldn’t learn the offense in time.  He needed to contribute in 2007, and he couldn’t if he didn’t know the offense.  There wouldn’t be time to build a rapport with Jon Kitna.  If he couldn’t be an effective starter in camp, he wouldn’t get enough reps to play well in the preseason.  If he didn’t play well in the preseason, he wouldn’t have the confidence to excel right away in the regular season.  If he didn’t excel in his rookie season, he’d be a year behind!  Oh no oh no oh no his entire career hangs in the balance!

Believe me, people, I was right there with you all!  But then . . . well, Calvin Johnson signed.  He showed up for work.  And what do you know?  He turned out to be 6’-5”, with 4.35 combine-40-yard-dash speed.  He also turned out to be just as humble, hardworking, and serious about his craft as advertised—and now, you’d never know he missed a few days of practice as July turned in to August.

I wanted the Lions to draft Suh because his body is put together in an extraordinarily rare combination of size, strength, speed and explosion—and inside that body, he’s a humble, generous, intelligent young man who understands his place in the world.  None of that is going to change between now and Saturday or Sunday or Monday.  Ndamukong wanted to get signed and get into camp—and, give or take a few days, he’ll be signed, and he’ll get into camp.  I can’t recommend a good wine for that—but I do suggest you pick up a bottle of Lion Stout, and put a hearty mug in the freezer.


4 comments:

Jimmerz,  July 30, 2010 at 1:50 PM  

Not sure how the Calvin Johnson comparison is supposed to make us feel better, since he had an unspectacular injury-riddled rookie season. But I also don't think being a few days late to camp will be the end of the world.

Suh needs to be there though, and he needs to make sure his agent(s) know that.

Ty July 30, 2010 at 4:14 PM  

Well, I don't think eight more days of training camp would have prevented the back bruise. Further, anyone expecting immediate All-Pro production from either Megatron or Suh in their rookie season was/is setting themselves up to be disappointed; both positions require development of technique.

My point was, if you didn't specifically remember that Calvin didn't sign on time, you'd never have known--and the same will be true of Suh. If he's not practicing until Monday or Tuesday, it won't make any difference for this season or next.

Peace
Ty

Matt,  July 31, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

This was just a strange season for contracts all around what with the uncapped season and the new CBA still needing to be worked out. I think everyone has been/is/was waiting to see what everyone else was going to do. We just started seeing a few of the 1st-rounders sign. Obviously, Suh had a vested interest in seeing Sam Bradford sign his record deal first (so Suh can get his "record-minus-$1" deal). I think Best is a kinda' in the same boat. He wanted to see what some of the other 20th-ish picks were getting before he puts ink to pen. I completely agree with you Ty that it changes nothing for these players. They will both be on the field soon enough and, especially since both were already heavily pencilled in starters, they will go right in with the first teamers and get a ton of reps. As a Lions fan, getting Suh & Best signed is about the least of my concerns because I know it will happen soon enough one way or the other.

n4ry4,  August 3, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

YESSSS LION STOUT!!

Love to see my favorite beer get some rec'age.

Seriously, everybody who likes beer needs to go and get a bottle of Lion Stout. It is actually pretty inexpensive compared to other beers of similar quality.

And it's not just the name. They could have called it "Viking Stout" and I would still love it.

that is all. go lions.

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