October 10, 2011
Well, the "Monday Night Football" game between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions just got a bit more interesting from the Chicago side. Bears radio analyst Tom Thayer (a former offensive lineman who played on the franchise's Super Bowl XX-winning squad, not the guy from KISS) said on Monday morning that if Lions defensive super-tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes) takes any borderline shots at Bears quarterback Jay Cutler(notes), the Bears should get their own back and take Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) down in a way that might not be entirely NFL-friendly.
"Ndamukong Suh is cheap," Thayer said Monday on "The Mully and Hanley Show" on WSCR-AM 670, according to the Chicago Tribune. "He's one of the best defensive linemen in the league, but he hits late, after the whistle, with the intentions of hurting people."
Suh has been a target of the officials since he came into the NFL as the second-overall draft pick in 2010 — it doesn't help when you try to take Jake Delhomme's(notes) head off like a bottle top in your first preseason — and there's no question that he plays on the edge more often than perhaps he should. But Thayer's recommendation when it comes to how to deal with Suh's actions is extreme in an entirely different direction.
"If Ndamukong Suh wants to cheap-shot somebody on my team, I'm going to cheap-shot [Lions quarterback Matthew] Stafford," Thayer said. "And the best guy to do it is [Bears defensive end] Julius Peppers(notes). And I'm not calling for this, but I'm just trying to police some of the dirty efforts by Ndamukong Suh."
Riiiiight. "I'm not calling for this, but I'm saying outright that the best way to retaliate for any cheap shots on OUR quarterback is to take out THEIR quarterback." Nice passive-aggressive there, dude.
Thayer went on to say that football is "a great retaliation sport."
"You better come with cinder blocks tied around your knees because I am going to angle-block you and hit you in every way, shape or form that I can hit you in the most uncomfortable area," Thayer said about his own playing days.
"If you think you're going to go out there and passively play against this aggressive defense, then you might as well not even show up. ... There is no way I'm letting Detroit control the atmosphere tonight."
Look, I think we're all hoping for a hard-fought, clean, competitive game Monday night, but anyone who thinks that Suh won't be going after Jay Cutler with everything he's got -- especially when he's going against the Bears' offensive line and will have Nick Fairley(notes) in the front four for the first time this season -- hasn't ever watched the man play.
And as Brad Biggs of the National Football Post points out, the Bears knocked Stafford from the game in each of the last two seasons -- first in 2009, when Adewale Ogunleye(notes) caused a knee injury on a sack, and then in 2010, when Peppers separated Stafford's right shoulder. By Thayer's code, Suh should be the one headhunting.
"I'm just going to continue to play as hard and fast as I can -- that's what I do, and the only thing I know how to do," the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year told me in February. "I feel that I owe it to my teammates, my coaches, and the fans.
"Our coaches don't want us to lose any edge -- being fiery and going after a quarterback, running back, or receiver. They want us to attack the ball and be smart, but they're not going to tell us to back off and not hit anybody or anything like that. Just be smart, don't take cheap shots, and make sure you're playing the ball. As long as you're playing the ball and not trying to impose your will or trying to hurt someone, you should be fine."
Well, maybe not in Tom Thayer's book, but Suh's the one writing that book these days.
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