April 24, 2014

Should Browns Have Reacted Against Ndamukong Suh?

It is a story that Jake Delhomme wishes would go away.  But with constant replays and quotes being bantered about, Ndamukong Suh’s attempt at quarterback decapitation will continue to be the talk of Browns camp heading into the fourth and final week of the preseason.

Shortly after the contest, Rick laid out a second-by-second schematic of the play that resulted in the Lions rookie defensive lineman grabbing Delhomme by his facemask, only to twist him backwards and throw him to the ground – all being done with the ball having already been thrown downfield.  The biggest reaction this drew from the Browns offensive linemen was Tony Pashos attempting to point Suh out to a nearby official. 

The lack of retort is something that has raised many eyebrows over the last few days. 

Though Eric Mangini has stated that he has placed it into the hands of the league to review the play and possibly hand down more than the 15-yard penalty that was given in result of the play, many fans and members of the media would have preferred that the 10 other players in the Orange and Brown would have stood up for their proverbial team leader.  Cleveland has seen similar reactions from the Cavaliers over the past few years, regardless of what player is on the wrong end of a conceivably dirty play. 

So where was this reaction with the Browns, a team that is in dire need of team unity and showing some toughness among the hard-nosed AFC North?

Was the lack of reaction something that is instilled in the Browns players by head coach Eric Mangini, whom is wholly opposed to penalties and makes his team well aware of his stance?  Or was it due to having a group of guys that simply will not let themselves make a dumb move that could result in a fine or ejection, regardless of the contest?

Regardless, if the Browns offensive line isn’t going to run to their quarterback’s aid in these instances in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions – a game which, in the grand scheme of things, does not matter and could result in an excusable reaction – what will this group do when the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and New England Patriots come to town and attempt to do the same? 

Or was not making a move actually the best way to go?  Is the fear of running a few laps in a subsequent practice over a would-be “mental mistake” instilled in this group?  There may be a fine line between dumb and reckless and standing up for one’s team.

Suh is unapologetic about the hit.  “I just want to go out and play hard,” he said. “That’s my main focus, that’s all I’m going to do. It’s not my job to worry if I hit a guy too hard or not, I was just going after the ball and trying to make a play. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

But is it actually the Browns offensive linemen that should be offering up an apology to one of their own? 

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

  • MattyFos

    “Or was not making a move actually the best way to go? Is the fear of running a few laps in a subsequent practice over a would-be “mental mistake” instilled in this group? There may be a fine line between dumb and reckless and standing up for one’s team.”

    Fear of running laps? Seriously? The team shouldn’t be afraid of running laps when it comes to protecting the QB, or any player. If Mangini were to punish a player who, should have, retaliated and either chop blocked Suh or grab HIM by the head and give a twisting throw to the ground then Mangini isn’t the type of coach I want.
    I believe if one of our defensive players retaliated on Stafford, which should have happened, Ryan would have yelled during the game. But, I believe after the game, in the locker room, that player would have gotten a big slap on the back from Ryan, the rest of the D, and the offense.

  • MrCleaveland

    I don’t think very many other teams would have let that go without some kind of retaliation–or at least a confrontation. Such passivity is worrisome. Don’t we have any mean guys on the line?

  • OmegaKing

    I think this is going to stir the pot when there is no need to at all. This isn’t baseball – you can’t throw at the other team’s best hitter. What are they going to do? Beat Suh up?

    If someone would have clipped Stafford or Suh in the knees, or done something equally obvious, it would be Cleveland that looks dirty, not Suh. Not to mention any punishment from the league that could affect the team’s chances of winning our week 1 matchup. Delhomme isn’t hurt, so this seems like a non-issue.

  • Chris

    There actually could have been 2 personal fouls issued on the play, but that seems a little moot.

    On the positive side, there weren’t offsetting penalties so the Browns ended up moving the chains.

    On the other hand, someone probably should have stood up for their guy.

    I’ve never played football at that kind of level, so I really don’t know what kind of policy Mangini has towards this. I know if we would have retaliated to something like that in high school, we would have gotten a little scolding but probably not had to run laps over it.

    Bottom line, someone needed to slam Suh for that punk move.

  • JPS3

    That was one of the more obvious dirty hits/throw down on a qb that i’ve seen. I was surprised by the lack of reaction from the Browns coaches and players when it happened.

  • JPS3

    And if Suh doesn’t see anything wrong with what he did and is unapologetic, then he does indeed need to be suspended for a game. That wasn’t “playing hard”. that was playing dirty.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Shaun Rogers anyone?

  • MattyFos

    @Omega, whether it’s baseball or not. You can, and most teams do, retaliate. Suh did what he should have done. Try to eliminate the QB. I guarantee he got some love in the locker room. He shouldn’t have done it in pre-season. But, he was doing what 100% of defensive players would have done in his position. Try to bring in the back up to win the game… 15 yards is worth getting to compete against the backup… Take out Aaron Rodgers and face Brian Brohm. Take out Favre and face Tavaris Jackson. That’s the mindset of a defender.

    But not in pre-season. You don’t risk injuring somebody during an exhibition game.

    Just because Suh did what anybody else would have done, doesn’t mean what he did (to the extent) was the right thing to do. That’s where the retaliation comes in.
    1) Not in pre-season
    2) You don’t twist and wrench on somebody’s neck
    The Browns had every right to go after Suh or Stafford, and they missed their opportunity. I’ll write it up as it being pre-season. That HAS to be the reason we didn’t retaliate.

  • Alexander

    You practice the way you play, whether its against Detroit in the preseason or pukesburgh on January 2nd. That being said, I liked the fact that there was no retaliation. The lack of a reaction showed discipline. Penalties, especially 15 yard ones, make and break drives. On that play, the penalty extended the drive, which resulted in a TD.

    On January 2nd, I’d much rather see the line not react, extend the drive and score a TD, than have one of our players ejected. And that is even if he takes one of their starters with him (see William Green and Joey Porter).

  • ben

    They did react. Mangini sent it to the league for review.

    Football players acting with discipline? What has this world come to???

  • Ryan

    This kind of reads like a Tony Grossi article…trying to make something out of nothing.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    @ben — Yeah, I’m sitting in your camp. You want to see revenge, but, at the same time, I think it’s impressive that the Browns kept a cool head about it. You know that’s the exact thing that’s gonna happen vs the Steelers or Ravens. One of those hacks is going to try to provoke a Browns player into retaliating, at which point you KNOW the Brown is going to be the one getting a flag.

    The thing that bothers me is the national d-bags in the same breath condemn a horse collar tackle on McNabb or a late hit on Favre and then just gush over this play and how much they love the passion… but that’s expected too I guess.

  • boogeyman

    The Browns didn’t have to retaliate but at the same time someone could have come to the aid of his QB. Maybe it’s to early for comradery huh?

  • john2674

    Suh’s bread and butter….up until now…. has been to be an absolute beast and destroy quarterbacks. Well….. now we still want you to destroy them just dont make it so obvious. In the end the guy has never played a single regular season snap in the NFL. Give him a big fine and make it quick! Then let him and the coaches get to work teaching him the do’s and donts of the NFL so it doesn’t happen again.

  • DK

    meh – Suh will get his….trust me….karma is a nasty thing.

  • OmegaKing

    MattyFos – So if someone on the Browns went ahead and chop-blocked Suh and he blew out his ACL (and potentially ruined his career), then you’d be happy? No. That’s something we would expect out of Hines Ward, not someone on the Browns. (And if Ward retaliated like that against Cleveland for some injustice, you’d best believe everyone here would be up in arms).

    I think they’re handling it the right way for now.

  • MrCleaveland

    I’m not saying the Browns should have gotten themselves penalized, I’m just saying that somebody should have done SOMETHING. Somebody could have gotten in that rookie’s face and screamed at him.

    But nobody did anything. They meekly went back to the huddle. That’s pathetic.

  • cninja

    jesus it was barely worse than the usual 15 yard facemask penalty.

    if anything its a 25,000 fine and a wag of the finger.

    I for one, am glad that no one retaliated because there would have been offsetting 15 yard penalties and we would have had to kick.

  • MattyFos

    Would I be happy if he blew out his ACL? No.
    But I, unlike you, know it’s a contact sport, and these are adult men. Suh has made his money. Wasn’t it 30mil he signed for? He’d be aright.
    Teammates shouldn’t let this stuff happen on a regular basis.
    BTW, Hines Ward doesn’t do cheap shots. Thanks. Pay attention, he hits up to the whistle.
    If a Brown took out a QB (which I applaud) then got theirs in return. I would have expected it and so would said Brown.

    More evidence of QB hunting: Watch last years NFC Championship game. See what the Saints were doing to Favre. Late Hits, human sandwiches. They were trying to take out the starter. I’m not positive if the Vikings got them back or not. But I’m sure Jared Allen or another defensive lineman got Brees a couple of times, to even up the score.

  • Alexander

    @MrCleaveland: “meekly went back to the huddle”…and scored a touchdown 2 plays later. I’ll take that over getting in a rookie’s face any day of the week.

    @Matty: Google “dirtiest players in the nfl” and tell me Hines Ward doesn’t do cheap shots. He’s been fined for it on more than one occasion. He’s a dirty player, period.

    I’m not saying our guys shouldn’t play physical. I just don’t want to see ‘em take stupid penalties. Play clean, hard hitting football.

  • Dan Cooley

    I forget when it was, but a few years ago, Hiney Ward headbutted Davon Holly like 3 secons after the whistle, from behind, sight unseen, and gave him a concussion. The league never fined him.

    He’s a dirty player because he exploit holes in the NFL rulebook to cheap shot people. They’ve added at least one rule because of him (the crackback rule).

  • S-Dub

    I think St. Clair should’ve gone Kyle Turley on him, if only for the simple fact that he would’ve been suspended for like 6 games and our pass protection would be a lot better.

  • deebo

    Eh, I like “fire” too, but what I saw was the leader of the offense getting fired up and not making a dumb mistake that cost us field position, points, turnover (circa Browns 1999-present). QB fired up, but not too much to get baited into making dumb mistake, trying to hard, or encouraging dumb penalty from other players. This became even clearer on the next broken play and the next TD play. I think tis is all so shocking because the Browns actually look and act like a professional football team.

  • deebo

    That is get back to work and let your play speak louder than anything else. Lead by example. Act, don’t react.

  • Ike

    I was watching the game live and was surprised not to see any major reactions from Browns teammates, but 1) most Browns players did not see the play at the time and 2) these guys might’ve just been in “preseason mode” and just didn’t really react the way we might expect.

    I’m willing to bet if that were a regular season game, there would have been more of a reaction from the Cleveland side. I hope..

  • http://WFNY ARob

    You Cleveland Fans must be in denial, big time!!!

    To claim it was discipline that kept your O-Lineman at least 2-3 yards away from where your QB was getting reamed by Suh is sad. I will bet that no one on that OL even said anything to Suh about it. Probably hoping that they could just put the incident behind them so no one would notice their absence, or even worse make Suh angry.

    All I can say is that this is a physical sport and if you don’t want to get slapped around by other DLs then you had better start standing up for each other.

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