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)