ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- While controversy has surrounded whether or not Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would actually play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, his teammates are glad to have him back on the field.
And with him back, those players can now go back to their usual preparation for one of the biggest games of the past two decades in team history.
“It’s good,” defensive end Darryl Tapp said. “It means our rotation’s the same, go ahead business as usual.”
Business as usual meant including Suh -- the team’s best defensive player -- in all game plans for Sunday against the Cowboys. Tapp said some of Detroit’s defensive linemen prepared mentally for what it might be like without Suh during the 24 hours he was suspended, but because Tuesday was an off day for the players, it didn’t change much of how they actually planned on trying to stop DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and the rest of the Dallas offense.
Murray is the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns. Romo is a legitimate MVP candidate after throwing for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns and nine interceptions. And the Cowboys offensive line is widely considered one of the toughest in the NFL.
On Monday, Lions coach Jim Caldwell called this Dallas offense one of the most complete he’s seen this season.
Stopping that is much easier with a player like Suh, who commands consistent double teams from opposing offensive lines and has allowed the Detroit defense to be .9 yards per game better per rush with Suh on the field this season than the Lions have been when he's off it.
“He’s a key part of our defense, the center, kind of heart of it, so to speak,” safety James Ihedigbo said. “The heart of our D-line as well so having him back, you know, is vital. We’re just glad everything is taken care of and we can move on and focus about preparing for the Cowboys.”