Confidence has been en-vogue this offseason where the Detroit Lions are concerned, and one of the most notable displays of that came from Nick Fairley, who said that he and Ndamukong Suh combined to form the most dominant defensive tackle duo in the NFL.
Suh, for his part, corrected the third year defensive tackle. He wants to see on-field results despite Fairley's premature boasts. As he told the NFL Network, the motivation of Fairley's comments helps to push him, but action will be what gets the job done for Detroit this fall.
"You're doing something positive if you're having a target on your back and you're a main focus of offensive coaches and their staff. And they really have to focus on you guys and take the pressure off the rest of your teammates, allow them to make plays. If me and Nick can do that, that will be a great thing and something I welcome and I know Nick welcomes. Let's just make the most of it and instead of talking about it, let's be about it."
That's an excellent, mature approach for Suh to be taking. Fairley is filled with confidence after playing well toward the end of last season and refocusing his life, but Suh must reign him with the reminder that talk is always cheapest, especially where the NFL is concerned. The saying goes, you can't be successful unless you talk about it openly, but there's been an excess of talk from the Lions lately.
It's good to have someone on the roster to reign in the big expectations. From the other side of the ball, Reggie Bush has been talking Super Bowl and an unstoppable offense. Nobody has told him to settle down, even though he's putting the cart way before the horse. At least Suh helped to remind Fairley that there's plenty of hard work and quality play ahead.
Respect and success isn't simply given in the NFL; it's earned through hard work and winning. Until Fairley and Suh become the elite centerpieces of the best defense in football and lead their team to success, people will certainly continue to question their exaltations.
Since joining the Lions in 2010, Suh has certainly been no angel. Give him credit this time around, though, for realizing that there's a fine line between confidence and cockiness that he'd rather not see his team cross before the preseason even begins.
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