It was announced today that through a survey of 320 NFL players that the top-two most feared players in the game play for your Detroit Lions. They are feared for different reasons, but their impact on the game can be just as important.
Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson were 1-2 respectfully in the NFL Nation poll of players done by ESPN.com. Suh received 61 votes, or 19 percent, while Calvin received 58 votes. No other players had more than 50 votes and 48 players had at least one vote. Suh had this to say to ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein on winning:
If it’s feared from the context of they don’t want to play against me and they are worried about how I may affect the game and affect the offense, it’s definitely appreciated. It’s definitely seen as a plus and a positive. Guys have respect for you, just like guys have respect for Calvin.
I’m surprised I edged him out, but hopefully I don’t have to edge him out and we can just be co-winners. I prefer that.
Even though Suh is seen as a borderline dirty player whose reputation precedes him before every game, Johnson rarely makes headlines off the field as universally respected around the game. Clearly these two have been voted due to different interpretations of the meaning of ‘fear.’
Like Suh, Johnson considered this a huge honor. After laughing about being beaten out by his teammate of course:
Well, the fact that you’re doing something right and that you’re doing it consistently. You can’t be inconsistent and teams game plan and scheme for you. So I just enjoy the fact that I’m doing it on a consistent basis.
Rounding out the top seven are J.J. Watt (7.5%); Patrick Willis (7.2%); Peyton Manning (6.6%); James Harrison (5.6%) and Adrian Peterson (5.0%).
Despite the fear that teams have for two of the team’s top players, the Lions still finished the season 7-9 to miss the playoffs and cost Jim Schwartz his job. Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the job is currently Ken Whisenhunt’s to lose, but the Lions are unable to hire him officially if he is the choice until the Chargers lose.
One problem that former players and analysts are having with the Lions coaching search is the Lions are allowing Matthew Stafford to sit in on the current interviews. Stafford was in the meeting with Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, and Caldwell spent time breaking down film of Stafford to show how he could make him a better quarterback.
Former quarterback Phil Simms described the situation the best, “It’s the owner, the general manager, coach, and then the quarterback. Once you disrupt that order, you’ve got chaos.”
The Lions are firmly placing Stafford above the other players in the locker room by letting him in on the process to pick his new boss. Even though the quarterback is usually seen as the face of the franchise, this move will likely upset some of the veterans on this team for letting Stafford be involved in such an important decision so early into his career.
Stafford has put up some big numbers in his time, but he is not near an elite quarterback. He also hasn’t earned the moxie to walk into an interview with a potential boss like he runs the team. Allowing Stafford in the meeting room basically assures that this team will be hiring an offensive minded head coach and closes the door on some candidates.
So what do you think Lions fans, should Stafford be in on the decision-making process or should this be something done by the executives in charge? Let us know at DetroitSportsBloggers.com or on Facebook and Twitter.