One of the most shocking things about Ndamukong Suh's outstanding rookie season was that he played through a shoulder injury that required surgery in the offseason. Suh didn't appear to be bothered by the injury one bit, as he made an impact throughout his rookie season and won numerous awards.
In his sophomore campaign, Suh's numbers dropped quite a bit. Suh still had a good enough season on the field to pull in some honors, such as being named to the Sporting News NFL All-Pro team, but his numbers were not nearly as impressive as they were in 2010. Why the drop-off? Warren Sapp thinks it was related to the shoulder surgery Suh had.
"The thing that affected him was he played such a power game, grabbing people and slinging them out of the way," Sapp said during an interview on Super Bowl Media Day. "He had rotator cuff surgery. I had one on each shoulder. I kind of know what that's like. You have to put yourself in a position where there was no offseason, no rehabbing and all the things he needed to do to be able to get that strength back. Now without that power, snatching and slinging people out of the way, he's never been a hip-flipper or a true pass rusher in a sense."
Sapp didn't hold back with his thoughts on Suh and blasted him for how he handled the stomp on Thanksgiving and everything that went on in the aftermath. Sapp also said that Suh needs to go into the offseason with the mindset of improving his pass rush game and "grind at the job."
Now, I don't think Suh's work ethic is the problem. Even when he was over in Europe for the Gumball 3000 workouts continued. Perhaps, however, with a full offseason with the Lions and there being no lockout, the workouts this year will work to get back whatever power Sapp believes has disappeared in the last year.