Asked where he might line up on Sunday, Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions' star defensive lineman, said he lines up everywhere. "You may see me over the tight ends, over the tackle, the left tackle," he said. "You may see me standing up. You never know."
Last year, it may have seemed as if Suh indeed was everywhere, but the then rookie mainly wreaked havoc from Lions' left defensive tackle spot, putting him opposite the offense's right guard. This year, however, offenses have been game-planning against Suh like never before. The strategy hasn't neutralized Suh, but it has had an impact on his statistics.
He's averaging roughly half the tackles he had per game last season. As a rookie, he finished with 10 sacks. He has two through five games and admitted that's not a number he's happy with.
But he also noted that by focusing on him, offenses are allowing his teammates to make more plays for the 5-0 Lions. "At some point, they're going to have to pay attention to those guys because they're making plays, and it will free me up as well," he said.
The Lions also have reacted by moving Suh around the field more. Still, he promises mainly to line in his familiar defensive tackle spot, which will put him opposite the 49ers' right guard. Left guard Mike Iupati did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury, and if that injury persists, it would cause the interior of the 49ers line to be shuffled.
Adam Snyder, who's been playing right guard for the last 2 ½ games, spoke on Wednesday as if he would be Suh's main opponent, which likely is a clue that Iupati will play. Snyder, who is down to 295 pounds this season, said Suh was similar to the defensive tackle he went up against on Sunday, Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy. Suh was taken with the 2nd pick in the 2010 draft; McCoy went third. "They're both real quick, big guys. Real active with their hands," Snyder said. "He's good."
Said Suh on his matchup this week: "I know they had a little bit of trouble at right guard and made a switch in the last two weeks with Snyder. That'll be interesting. I've watched both guys. I'm assuming Snyder will be the main one I see."
-- Matt Barrows