Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/6/11

It is true that officials are putting the Detroit Lions players under a microscope after the dirty play of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh? Even if that’s true it doesn’t equate to the type of ineptness the team has shown of late.

Since a 5-0 start, the Lions have degenerated into 7-5, losing three of their last four.

In the 31-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the defense looked especially bad. And they truly missed Suh, who will miss an additional game due to his NFL suspension. A suspension he truly warned for stomping on a Green Bay Packers lineman.

Suh went to his hometown of Portland during the suspension and got into a car accident.

And then the story took another turn. From ESPN.com

In a 911 call soon after his car hit a tree in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Ndamukong Suh said “everybody’s fine.” But now, two passengers now claim they were injured in the accident.

Portland police had originally said there were no injuries, but they said Monday that two passengers later came forward to say they were hurt and left the scene before officers arrived

Sgt. Pete Simpson says one woman reported bruises and soreness, and the other reported a cut to her forehead and a black eye. Their names were not released.

Police say Suh was not impaired and was not cited, and that they are not re-opening the investigation.

It’s been a very rough couple of weeks for Suh. He needs to show something positive soon to stop a downward spiral from continuing.

The Lions get the 2-10 Vikings on Sunday, so maybe they’re catching a losing team at just the right time for them. Then they’ll have Suh back for their trip to Oakland on the 18th.

So what will be the key to fighting off their division rival, the also reeling, also 7-5 Chicago Bears?

Depth is key as squads look to head into the new year with the best complement of players possible. The coaching staff still has leverage over the players though. They can make life miserable for the athletes in practice on a daily basis. All of the players who took a penalty should be removed from the normal starter repetitions and placed with the strength and conditioning coach indefinitely.

This would send a message to everyone else that the infractions are unacceptable, especially for a 7-5 team that is looking to obtain a wild card. There is no better antidote for a lack of success than the Minnesota Vikings.

Well, maybe the team will be fortunate and the Bears could sign Brett Favre. Detroit is also extremely fortunate that Jay Cutler and Matt Forte are not on the field in Chicago because the teams were on opposite tracks in terms of momentum before they had succumbed to injury.

The Lions were only successful on two of eleven third down attempts in the Big Easy on Sunday. This rate of eighteen percent is a recipe for disaster in a league that requires execution at crunch time. The loss of running back Kevin Smith hurt the pass protection, but the deficiency must be addressed for future success to be possible. Tight End Tony Scheffler is a big target who provides a plausible option in these scenarios. I want to see more plays to him because his personality invites altercations when he decides to make his vintage first down signal in an opposing player’s face. The Western Michigan product is in the prime of his career and is ready for a more prominent role.

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