Late last week, the Los Angeles Rams introduced Ndamukong Suh as their latest free agent acquisition. It was one of the biggest moves in the offseason, and one that immediate drew the attention of the entire NFL community.
It was of specific interest to Detroit Lions fans, because the pairing of Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald was something that could have very easily happened in 2014 had the Lions drafted Donald 10th overall instead of Eric Ebron.
Speaking of that 2014 team, Suh had a few comments about that team in regards to how it affected his decision.
Suh spoke to the importance of having a solid corps of players around him, and having Donald beside him reminded him of that Lions team.
“I always go back to my 2014 season, being blessed to be in Detroit and playing with some of the great guys there,” Suh said. “I understand this game is the ultimate team game. You’ve got to have guys next to you, behind you, and in front of you that you have to work with in practice and, at the same time, in games. You’ve got to have these guys that can help you be successful.”
Some of those guys that helped him be successful in 2014 chimed in about just how talented that team was.
That D was definitely squad was stupid.— Tahir Whitehead (@Big_Tah47) April 8, 2018
As former Lions linebacker Ashlee Palmer notes, that 2014 season ended on a sour note, with a controversial flag pickup that was part of the reason the Lions blew a lead against the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.
But that 2014 team also accomplished quite a bit. That team won 11 regular season games, the second-most in franchise history. That defense, too, was historic. It was just the ninth team in NFL history to allow less than 70 rushing yards per game. They were third in DVOA that year, and third in points allowed.
Still, it’s interesting to hear Suh point to that team specifically as one of the more talented teams he’s played with. Granted, the Miami Dolphins went 6-10, 10-6 and 6-10 in the three years Suh played with them, but he was alongside some very talented players there, too, especially along the defensive line. Suh had Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, and Mario Williams.
That goes to show you just how talented and impressive that 2014 Lions team actually was. It all came together defensive that year. Unfortunately, as fast as it came together in one year, it all disappeared just as quickly. The next year, DeAndre Levy’s injuries essentially ended his career, Suh left for Miami and Nick Fairley signed with the Rams. Since then, the Lions’ defense hasn’t finished in the top 10 in scoring or top 15 in DVOA.
Now Matt Patricia’s job will be to take that defense back to that season, but he’s going to have to do it without the likes of an Ndamukong Suh.