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Detroit Lions: Using Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley at DE Is Brilliant

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions in action against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJune 29, 2016

Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley need to have huge years if the Detroit Lions want to have success in 2012, and the Lions have reportedly installed a new package that will help allow them to do just that.

Their main job will be to try to cause havoc on the interior of the defensive line, but according to Brad Gali of WXYZ.com, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is planning on putting the two D-linemen at end from time to time:

He plans to occasionally move defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley to the outside of the defensive line. The move will give defenses a different, much more powerful look up front.

According to Cunningham, via Gali's report, the package is going to be called "Grey":

I call it Grey. There's a great movie out called "(The) Grey." If you watch it, you'll know what I mean.

This is a brilliant decision by Cunningham, and it's going to pay huge dividends for the Lions once the season begins.

The defensive line is the key group of this squad by design. The thought is that if they can get into the backfield and cause havoc, the linebackers and secondary will have a much easier time doing their jobs. If the front four is demanding double-teams, linebackers are free to roam and make tackles. If the quarterback is under pressure, the chances of him making errant throws go up and the secondary benefits.

It all starts and ends with the pressure up front.

The premise of this "Grey" package is simple, yet effective. Defensive ends are normally known for their speed and finesse off the edge, which allows them to get after the quarterback. Swim moves, dip-and-rips and plain old edge rushes are the name of the game for ends, and offensive tackles are taught the counters to those moves ad nauseum.

What you don't see a lot of is an end who can get out there and just overpower the tackle—except for a few of the elites—but that's exactly what Suh and Fairley would be able to do in this defensive package.

They'll be able to use their strength and size to push the line of scrimmage backward, and as big as they are, they still do possess enough speed to get after the quarterback from the edges.

Meanwhile, the ends would have moved inside, which means that the guards and center have to worry about faster, more athletic defenders rushing their A and B gaps, thus creating a ton of pressure in the middle of the pocket.

With the power rush coming from the outside and the speed from the interior, this creates a whole new set of problems for offensive linemen, and even more for the quarterback.

The Lions' success in 2012 is going to really hinge on the play of the defensive line, and the play of the defensive line hinges on Suh and Fairley.

Moving them around the line and utilizing them at end is a great decision by Cunningham, and I expect the "Grey" package will be very effective.

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