Lions Notebook: Return of Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh (Andrew Weber, US Presswire)

We will have to wait until Wednesday to hear what Ndamukong Suh has to say about moving on from his two-game suspension. The Lions were just glad to see him back in the building on Monday.

We will have to wait until Wednesday to hear what Ndamukong Suh has to say about moving on from his two-game suspension. The Lions were just glad to see him back in the building on Monday.

"He's obviously healthy," said coach Jim Schwartz, who gave the team Monday and Tuesday off. "He looked good. He's excited to be back."

Schwartz didn't divulge any details of his meeting with Suh, only to say he's optimistic that the appropriate lessons have been learned.

"I'd be very surprised if it showed up on his radar again," Schwartz said. "He's a very prideful person and he wants to do anything he can to help the team. So, yeah, I would be surprised if something like that happened again."

Schwartz reiterated what he's been saying the last couple of weeks -- there is no place for pre-snap and post-whistle malfeasance. But almost in the same breath, he added that nobody was trying to temper Suh's aggression during a play or asking him to hold back.

"It's a fairly easy line to draw," he said, meaning the whistle. "We need to play as hard as we can and we need to let the chips fall when we're playing that way. If there's one that's borderline, hey, it's football. Guys are going to try to be tough and physical. There's going to be a holding call or an illegal contact once in a while.

"We certainly don't want to coach guys to play scared or play to avoid penalties. Just play hard. Play as physical as you can but be smart before the snap and be smart after the whistle. Those are the things we expect from Ndamukong."

After Suh was suspended for stomping on Packers lineman Even Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day and the Lions took three more post-whistle fouls at New Orleans that earned them $40,000 in fines, they played a mostly clean game last Sunday against the Vikings.

There was one personal foul, a debatable roughing call against Stephen Tulloch. Tulloch pancaked quarterback Christian Ponder after he'd thrown his third interception of the game.

"Look, the after the whistle and before the snap penalties have been on our radar all year," Schwartz said. "We didn't put any extra emphasis or different emphasis on it this week. We had done a fairly good job all year until we got to the last two weeks. But those highly-publicized plays took away from our playoff drive and put it on our resume that, hey, we're a team that maybe can be goaded into those kinds of penalties.

"We don't want to be that team."

Detroit Lions Notebook:

  • Coach Jim Schwartz admitted that the Lions got away with a facemask infraction on the final play of the game Sunday. With the Vikings trying to score a tying touchdown from the 1, outside linebacker DeAndre Levy did grab quarterback Joe Webb's facemask as he was knocking the ball loose. "We grabbed facemask there, but there were three or four other plays where guys got held and there were no calls made," Schwartz said. "There were a couple of fourth down plays (in the final drive) where I thought we were getting held and they were able to convert. On every play in the NFL there's something the officials are going to miss. That's one of the reasons I don't sit up here and talk about officiating. I just say it's their job to officiate and our job to play. We know it's a fast game. You can't officiate in slow motion. I would say on 90 percent of the plays in the NFL, there's something going on that somebody either gets away with or gets called unjustly so."
  • It's going to take a couple of days to sort out all of the Lions' injury concerns. To recap: CB Chris Houston (knee), S Louis Delmas (knee), DT Nick Fairley (foot), DE Lawrence Jackson (thigh) and RB Kevin Smith (ankle) were all inactive Sunday. In addition, CBs Aaron Berry (shoulder) and Eric Wright (hamstring), OLB Justin Durant (hamstring) and RB Maurice Morris (chest) were injured during the game. "I think a lot of guys will be close this week, including guys that didn't play," coach Jim Schwartz said. "It's too early to tell on a Monday, but there is optimism that we will get a significant portion of those guys back."
  • CB Aaron Berry seemed to dislocate his shoulder making a tackle in the second quarter Sunday. Coach Jim Schwartz said Monday that they still weren't sure of the severity of the injury. Berry's rookie season was ended in Week 1 last year with a shoulder injury. If Berry is out long-term, the Lions could re-sign CB Brandon McDonald, whom they released last week.
  • DE Keyunta Dawson, who was signed to the roster exemption created by Ndamukong Suh's suspension, could be released to facilitate Suh's return. Or, the Lions may release DT Jovan Haye, who they signed Friday. Haye actually played a couple of snaps Sunday, though he only had one practice.
  • WR Rashied Davis, for the second time this season, was pressed into duty in the secondary. He played safety for several snaps in the fourth quarter.
  • KR-PR Stefan Logan had his best day of the season. His 28-yard punt return in the first quarter set up a touchdown and he ran back five kicks for an average of 23.8 yards, including a 42-yarder. He had another 40-yard return nullified by a penalty.
  • TE Brandon Pettigrew loves playing against the Vikings' defense. In two games this year, he has 17 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown.
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