We're Black and Blue All Over:
Former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp piled on Tuesday to the season-long criticism of Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh during a media session at the site of Super Bowl XLVI, wondering "what universe" Suh is living in after minimizing his culpability in various interviews. (Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com has more.)
But what I found far more interesting was Sapp's analysis of Suh's performance on the field, which dipped significantly in 2011 from a statistical standpoint. As Chris McCosky of the Detroit News points out, Sapp wonders if the offseason surgery Suh had last season on his shoulder sapped some strength and exposed his lack of technique in the pass rush.
"He plays such a power game," Sapp said, "just grabbing people and slinging them out of the way. He had rotator cuff surgery. I had one on each shoulder and I know what that's like."
Sapp added: "From his first year to his second year, he hasn't worked on anything. We're looking at the same guy rushing in the same fashion as he did when he first got into the league. You can get away with that at first because they haven't seen you. But that second year, you've got to come show me something, son. He came with that same bull rush."
As we've said many times, the best way for Suh to overcome criticism of his style is to be an elite producer on the field. Sapp's insight on that issue is not to be ignored.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Lions defensive end Cliff Avril during a radio interview, via the Detroit Free Press: "[I] would love to be a Lion, I'd love to be in Detroit. I've been here four years, I see how good the team can be, and I'd like to be a part of it. But it's also a business. Like I said, I think it will play itself out and hopefully I'm here."
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reiterated on his ESPN 540 radio show that he hopes quarterbacks coach Tom Clements stays with the team in some capacity in 2012. Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com explains.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette checks in with former Packers offensive lineman Nick McDonald, who caught on this season with the New England Patriots.
New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks remains "baffled" by how the Packers defended him on a Hail Mary touchdown pass two weeks ago at Lambeau Field, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com grades the Minnesota Vikings' offense.
Minnesota leaders are confident that the legalization of electronic pulltabs in bars could generate $72 million annually, more than enough to fund the state's share of a new Vikings stadium, according to the Star Tribune.
The Vikings signed linebacker Solomon Elimimian, who was named the hardest hitter of last season in the CFL, notes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
Former Chicago Bears defensive end Mark Anderson has thrived in the Patriots' 3-4 defense, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
New Bears general manager Phil Emery will bring a different philosophy of scouting to the franchise, notes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on why he turned down a similar job with the Bears in 2010, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times: "I love Lovie Smith and enjoyed my time in Chicago. [but] I knew that was Coach Smith's defense. He is an excellent defensive coach and I just thought that at the time, I probably needed to step out on my own and run my own defense. It was always going to be coach Smith's defense and if I was going to make my mark in coaching I had to do it Perry Fewell's way, and that was one of the main reasons I came to New York."