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Tag:Thanksgiving
Posted on: November 29, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Ndamukong Suh suspended 2 games, will appeal

Posted by Will Brinson



As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman noted earlier, Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games without pay by the NFL on Tuesday for his actions in Detroit's loss to Green Bay on Thanksgiving.

Suh received the suspension due to the fact that the incident in the Packers-Lions game was Suh's fifth on-field violation over the past two years, according to the NFL.

"NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks notified Ndamukong Suh today that he has been suspended without pay for the Lions' next two games for his unsportsmanlike conduct in the Lions-Packers game on Thanksgiving Day," a statement from the NFL, obtained by Freeman, reads. "It was Suh's fifth violation of on-field rules in the past two seasons that has resulted in league discipline. Suh may not practice or be at the team practice facility for any other activities during the two-game suspension.

"He will be reinstated on December 12. Under the CBA, the suspension may be appealed within three business days. If appealed, an expedited hearing and decision would take place this week in advance of this weekend's games."

Suh drew a lot of criticism for his decision not to apologize for his actions, then apologize via Facebook (!), then finally call Roger Goodell on Sunday night and apologize for his actions on Thursday.

Suh isn't the only one who stands to lose money here ($164,000, to be exact). The Lions could also be a little lighter in their proverbial wallets. Freeman explains:

"League rules stipulate that when a player is suspended or fined, the amount of the fine, up to a maximum of $50,000 per infraction, counts towards a club's season total.

"If a team reaches $100,000 in fines the club must forfeit $50,000. If a team reaches $150,000, then it must forfeit an additional $25,000, and match any subsequent fine/suspension amounts for remainder of season.

So, bottom line, the Suh suspension put the Lions over that $100,000 season total. Lions players have already been fined at least that much this season so not only is that $100,000 mark already likely been reached, the next mark could be as well. The team fine would happen at the end of the season once all appeals and reductions are accounted for."

There's more (of course there is): a source close to the embattled defensive tackle tells Freeman that Suh has appealed his suspension. "Suh was urged, I'm told, by union and others that suspension was heavy handed and he should appeal. He officially has."

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:03 am
 

Report: Ndamukong Suh called Goodell to apologize

Posted by Will Brinson

Ndamukong Suh's been subject to plenty of judgment following his ejection-worthy actions against Green Bay in Detroit's Thanksgiving day loss.

The defensive lineman initially said he wouldn't apologize for stomping at Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, but reversed course by posting an apology on his Facebook page. And Suh also reportedly called Roger Goodell to apologize for his actions on Sunday night.

That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, who reported the details of Suh's phone call on Monday evening.

Of course, Suh's apologies might not matter -- it's believed that the Lions defensive tackle could receive as much as a two-game suspension, and it seems likely that Suh only apologized to mitigate the danger of a multiple-game suspension.

That's because Suh, immediately following the Lions loss, wasn't exactly contrite about his actions.

"I was on top of a guy being pulled down," Suh said, according to CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco. "I was trying to get up off the ground. You see me pushing his helmet down because I was trying to remove myself from the situation. As I'm getting up, I'm getting pushed, so I'm getting myself in balance and getting away from the situation. I know what I did and the man upstairs knows what I did."



The visual evidence offered a story quite to the contrary, and it's no surprise that Suh was ejected. On the bright side, it's also possible, as CBS Sports' Charley Casserly pointed out Sunday, that Suh's punishment will be shortened because he missed part of that game against the Packers.

Either way, there's likely to be a heated debate about Suh's punishment if the league delivers the news on Tuesday, as expected.

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Posted on: November 24, 2011 7:35 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Tony Romo's clutch play propels Cowboys to win

Posted by Will Brinson

Tony Romo started off Thursday's Thanksgiving win over Miami in Dallas acting like it was Christmas, he was Santa Claus and the Dolphins were present-desperate children.

But after throwing two early interceptions, Romo gathered himself and propelled the Cowboys to a 20-19 last-second win over the Dolphins in Cowboys Stadium.

Romo hit Laurent Robinson for two touchdowns and finished the day with a surprisingly efficient 22 of 34 performance for 226 yards and two touchdowns in addition to the picks.

The Cowboys defense deserves some credit too, of course, as they sacked Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore three times and did their best to keep Miami out of the end zone -- a 35-yard catch from Brandon Marshall (as he was getting mugged) were the only points the Dolphins scored that weren't provided by kicker Shayne Graham.

But it can't be understated that Romo -- on the nationally televised CBS game, in Cowboys Stadium, on Thanksgiving, with the NFC East lead on the line -- got the ball back from the Dolphins with three minutes left and the Cowboys trailing by two points.

Romo and Jason Garrett proceeded to use a nice mix of runs and passes to carve up the Dolphins for a 54-yard drive that took up the full three minutes and got Dan Bailey within range for a 28-yard field goal.

It's not like Romo took the ball 95 yards to win the game or anything, but under the brightest spotlight, one of the most criticized players in the NFL did the most clutch thing, and Dallas finds itself 1.5 games up on the Giants for the division lead and the pressure squarely shifted to Philadelphia and New York on Sunday.

Romo hasn't transformed to the best quarterback in the NFL or anything, but his play over the Cowboys four-game winning streak has been outstandingly efficient. And on Thanksgiving he was far from the turkey everyone expected him to be.



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Posted on: November 24, 2011 4:56 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Suh won't apologize, no punishment until Tuesday

Posted by Will Brinson



This year, the Green Bay Packers should be thankful for Lions' defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh's fiery nature. Suh's decision to stomp Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm in the Packers 27-15 victory over the Lions got him booted

My colleague Ryan Wilson pointed out that Suh's likely to get suspended and that's a very probable scenario. But we won't know anything from the NFL this week, as the league's going to wait until Monday to levy any punishment on Suh.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reports that Suh won't be punished until "all games" have been played, meaning Suh won't know about his (likely?) fine and (probable?) suspension until Tuesday at the earliest.

An apology from Suh between now and then would go a long way towards mitigating any punishment from the league. However, Suh said he will not apologize for the incident on Thanksgiving and, as noted by our Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger, that he believes the ejection was unwarranted.

"I was on top of a guy being pulled down and trying to get up off the ground, which is why you see me pushing his helmet down," Suh said, via Kreger. "As I'm getting up, I'm getting pushed so I'm getting myself unbalanced. ... With that a lot of people are going to interpret it as or create their own storylines, ... but I know what I did, and the man upstairs knows what I did."

Having watched the clip a few times with the family, even my 11-year-old cousin thought it was obvious that Suh didn't glean much from the meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York, as his decision to launch a cleat towards Dietrich-Smith's arm was pretty intentional. (Although in fairness he also knew what the last rejected BRI proposal in the NBA lockout was.)

And Suh can preach all he wants that the incident was accidental, but the picture above -- featuring a Packer trying to hold him back, a Packer telling him to stop, and Suh still going for the stomp -- is pretty incriminating.


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Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:17 am
 

Keep an Eye on: Thanksgiving preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


Lions vs. Packers
The nice thing about having a defense built around your four-man front is that when facing a seemingly unstoppable passing attack, you don’t have to concoct a complicated gameplan and hope that your speed-oriented defenders can somehow give the performance of a lifetime. Because an erupting front four, by nature of alignment, can cut off the lifeline of any pass play by flooding a quarterback’s face, you can stick with your traditional zone concepts on the back end.

This is the standard, obvious approach for the Lions. And really, it’s their only prayer for upsetting the undefeated Packers. The Lions selected Nick Fairley in the first round because they knew that with Ndamukong Suh already inside, they would have at least one favorable one-on-one matchup on every passing down. Those visions have started to play out in recent weeks, as Fairley, in limited reps, has shown uncommon quick-twitch burst for a man of his size.



A way teams have lately combated (or tried to combat) Detroit’s interior quickness is with draws and misdirection runs and screens (think receivers running ghost reverses during a handoff or quarterbacks faking the action one way and going to a ballcarrier the other way). The idea is to let the defensive tackles take themselves out of position with their quick penetration and to get Detroit’s incredibly fast-flowing linebackers going in the wrong direction.

This approach, however, is not conducive to Green Bay’s personnel. The Packers are good at screen pass execution, but none of their running backs have the initial quickness or speed to execute delay-type plays. Thus, expect the Packers to combat Detroit’s inside pass-rush by spreading the field and putting Aaron Rodgers in three-step drops.

Normally, offenses spread the field to stretch the defense and make it easier for the quarterback to recognize blitzes and coverage concepts. That’s not necessary against a basic zone scheme like Detroit’s. But what spreading the field still does is create more space for the defensive backs to cover. Detroit’s defensive backs have improved this season, but they’re still not dynamic or deep enough to contain Green Bay’s receiving corps in large open areas.

Final note: much of Aaron Rodgers’ presnap brilliance derives from his use of dummy snap counts. However, those won’t be relevant if the Ford Field crowd is as loud as expected. The Packers may want to consider going hurry-up. They know they won’t be able to communicate vocally anyway, so they likely installed a bunch of hand signals in practice this week. They’re prepared.

What’s more, they know that a hurry-up can swing momentum and take the crowd out of it, plus it would prevent the Lions from rotating their defensive linemen -- a tactic they rely heavily on.

Cowboys vs. Dolphins
Both teams come in riding a three-game win-streak, thanks largely to the play of their quarterbacks. Tony Romo has posted passer ratings of 113, 148 and 112 his last three outings. Matt Moore has posted 133, 75 and 147.

Romo is having, by far, the best season of his career. He’s been accurate, poised in the pocket and sound in his decision making. These are the effects of his improvements. What analysts don’t focus on often enough are the improvements themselves.

Romo is doing a better job at diagnosing defenses in the presnap phase and adjusting his protections in response. Consequently, postsnap, he’s not surprised by blitzes, plus he’s recognizing coverage shifts and how they impact his receivers’ route combinations. These had been Romo’s areas of weakness.

As for Moore, he’s been steady, but the Dolphins would be foolish to think they don’t still need to look for a quarterback after this season. Lately Moore has often thrown out of base personnel, which means he’s been going against base defenses. That’s fine, but it won’t be as easy against the Cowboys, whose base personnel includes a versatile superstar in DeMarcus Ware and superb pass-defending linebacker in Sean Lee.

Dallas has the resources to take away Dolphins underrated receiving fullback Charles Clay, and Rob Ryan is willing to mix things up no matter what personnel he has on the field. Remember, Moore has only had half a week to study Ryan’s multitude of defensive looks.



Ravens vs. 49ers
Because Ray Rice is averaging less than nine carries per game in his team’s three losses this season, there’s the assumption that the Ravens must run the ball in order to win. But last week against Cincinnati, the Ravens won on the strength of their passing attack. They got 104 yards rushing on 20 carries from Rice, but 59 of those yards came on one run.

Overall, the sustaining element that a run game is supposed to provide simply wasn’t there. The Ravens struggled in short-yardage -- though not on the goal-line, where Marshal Yanda stood out and where Rice has been effective all season -- and could not pound on the ground when trying to protect their fourth quarter lead.

There’s still hope for the run game this season. Aside from overrated left tackle Bryant McKinnie, Baltimore’s front five is adequately suited for this zone-blocking scheme -- especially now that left guard Ben Grubbs is back. Rice and Ricky Williams are smart runners, and Vontae Leach is a top-three fullback.

That said, don’t expect a breakout this week. San Francisco has the best run defense in pro football (by a wide margin, in fact). The brilliant play of inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman is the primary reason why.

Willis and Bowman pose additional issues for the Ravens. Against the Bengals, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron compensated for the lackluster run game by calling play-action rollouts for Joe Flacco. That forced the Bengals linebackers to be decision-makers and pass defenders – which they’re capable of, but not simultaneously. Willis and Bowman won’t be manipulated like this. Both hunt up coverage assignments extremely well and both have the athleticism to cover Baltimore’s underneath mismatch creators, Rice and Ed Dickson.

The Ravens’ best chance at offensive success Thanksgiving night is to go max protect and take downfield shots with Torrey Smith and Lee Evans. Their best chance at overall success is to protect field position and wait for their defense to make a big play in a low-scoring game.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 12 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com