Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was out the final month of the season due to a neck injury. He suffered the injury on Thanksgiving and had surgery in December, leading to his season ending on the injured reserve.
While Vanden Bosch was gone, Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson filled in for him and played very well. They were two of the guys that played the best football of anyone during the Lions' four-game winning streak, as they made sure there was no drop-off from Vanden Bosch's play.
Although McBride and Jackson did an excellent job of filling in for Vanden Bosch, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is excited for his fellow former Nebraska Cornhusker to be back on the D-line with him next season.
"It's very important," Suh said last week in Dallas after receiving the Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award. "I think he brings that great edge to us, brings another fire. Not saying the other guys who filled in for him in the year (don't), because obviously he wasn't in at the end of the year when we had a four-game winning streak. But I think that addition to keep having him there is huge for us."
Having Vanden Bosch back for his leadership is just as important as getting him back for his playing abilities. From the minute training camp got started, a lot of players credited him with bringing it every second he was out on the field. That in turn helped motivate other guys, and there's no doubt that that carried over to the football field during the season, especially with other defensive linemen.