Atlanta seeks to keep Detroit's Suh away from Ryan

Atlanta seeks to keep Detroit's Suh away from Ryan
December 19, 2012, 7:56 pm
Share This Post

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) works against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

(APWF)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) As the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line sees it, there's no need to antagonize Ndamukong Suh.

Last year's discord in Detroit left the Falcons and Lions bickering at each other and accusing the other side of bad sportsmanship.

Atlanta has a simple goal heading into Saturday's rematch at Detroit.

The Falcons want to keep Suh, the Lions' high-strung defensive tackle, from touching quarterback Matt Ryan.

``It's not going to easy, and we know that,'' left guard Justin Blalock said on Wednesday. ``He's a handful for anyone they face, but I think we're smart enough to know that nothing good will come from stirring the Lions up before the game.''

Each team complained about the other following Atlanta's seven-point victory last year.

Falcons center Todd McClure and receiver Roddy White said that Suh and left end Cliff Avril were taunting Ryan when the quarterback was briefly injured.

Ryan returned to lead another scoring drive, but after the game Suh and linebacker Stephen Tulloch complained that Atlanta's offensive line used dirty techniques that could injure opponents.

Now both sides seem unwilling to rehash the bitterness lingering from last season.

Suh said this week that ``it's a different year,'' but the third-year tackle did not elaborate.

McClure added that he doubts there will be residual anger from either side, particularly with the stakes high for both teams.

The NFC South champion Falcons (12-2) can clinch a first-round playoff bye with a victory or a tie. Detroit (4-10) is desperate to snap a six-game losing streak one year after advancing to the postseason for the first time in a dozen years.

``I don't think so,'' McClure said. ``It's a different game. I expect they're going to be ready to play. Suh's a good player, and he's a tough guy to block, so we'll be ready.''

Atlanta recovered from an upset loss at Carolina two weeks ago by routing the New York Giants 34-0 last week at the Georgia Dome.

Ryan, who was sacked just once by New York, threw three touchdown passes, no interceptions and finished with a 142.6 passer rating.

In last year's victory at Detroit, Ryan finished with a 63.1 passer rating, was sacked three times, hit six times and picked off twice. The Lions also had two interceptions and defended six passes.

Though there have been some proverbial hiccups this season for the offensive line, tight end Tony Gonzalez said that the five starters - McClure, Blalock, left tackle Sam Baker, right tackle Tyson Clabo and rookie right guard Peter Konz - have improved their protection of Ryan.

``With some things that have gone around here the last three years, it seems like they get blamed for a lot, but this year they've played outstanding football for us and stepped up big,'' Gonzalez said. ``That's the key. You keep Matt clean, you keep him up on his feet, he's going to be able to make some plays. They've done a good job of that.''

This time, Suh, Avril and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch will face the Falcons without defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Fairley's replacement is Sammie Hill, a fourth-year veteran who hasn't been a regular starter since 2009.

``He's a big, strong, good-looking football player,'' Clabo said. ``Everybody's got some backups. He's got some film. He's a good player.''

Hill might not compare favorably to a talent like Fairley, the 15th overall draft pick last year, or Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, but McClure says he's part of a deep line rotation and understands his role.

``They can create havoc in the running game with their penetration,'' McClure said. ``We're going to have to be good on our double-teams and our single blocks when we get manned up on them and not get pushed back in the backfield.''

They also plan to be mindful if Suh struggles to keep his temper in check, a problem that last year resulted in his getting suspended two games by the NFL for stomping the arm of Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Just last month, Suh was fined $30,000 last month for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin area.

Clabo sees no reason to taunt Suh and start a war of words.

``It's hard enough facing this guy just based on his football talent alone,'' Clabo said. ``He gets paid as an interior pass rusher to push the pocket while their ends try to keep it from widening. We've had some issues with pressure up the middle this year, but we're confident we can get the job done against Detroit.''

Notes: White (right knee), SS William Moore (hamstring) and reserve DE Cliff Matthews (hamstring) did not participate in practice. ... Clabo (thigh), DT Jonathan Babineaux (ribs), reserve WR Harry Douglas (ribs) and reserve CB Christopher Owens (hamstring) practiced but were limited.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.

---

Follow George Henry on Twitter: http://twitter.com/georgehenryAP

Texans - Team News
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) is listed as probable for Week 8. Johnson practiced in full Friday after being limited early in the week. He'll continue to play through his ankle injury. Johnson is a mid-range WR2 for Sunday's game...
Oct 24 5:19PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Johnson doesn't need full practices at this stage of his career. He's a solid WR2 for Sunday's game against the Titans.
Oct 23 4:37PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) said he'd be surprised if he doesn't play in Sunday's game... Clowney hasn't played since tearing his meniscus in Week 1. He says he plans to "push through" the soreness that's still in his knee. If the training staff lets...
Oct 23 11:41AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted he "didn't get it to Andre [Johnson] nearly enough early"... Johnson finished with 5-77-0 on nine targets, but had just one catch for four yards through the first three quarters. After the game, coach Bill O'Brien said that Johnson...
Oct 23 8:03AM Read More
Brian Cushing - LB
Texans ILB Brian Cushing will miss at least one week with a knee injury. It's a blow to an already vulnerable Houston run defense, and a nice upgrade to Bishop Sankey's Week 8 matchup. Justin Tuggle and Mike Mohamed figure to start at inside...
Oct 22 8:32PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps coming off Monday night's loss. He'll remain a WR2 for Week 8 against the Titans.
Oct 22 5:22PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans listed Foster as "not injury related," but he missed practice time last week with a groin issue. Foster has a matchup with the Titans' No. 22 ranked run...
Oct 22 5:15PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
According to HoustonTexans.com, there's a "decent chance" Jadeveon Clowney (knee)... "He feels good," coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "Well see how it goes this week in practice. We'll be able to make a determination pretty soon about whether...
Oct 21 3:58PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham caught two passes for 24 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers. Graham was targeted three times, but dropped the other. It can be considered one of Graham's better statistical games of the season, which obviously means he's nowhere near...
Oct 20 11:31PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught five passes for 77 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins each saw a team-high nine targets. There was nothing special about Johnson's night. His biggest play was a 24-yard grab on a deep in route in...
Oct 20 11:25PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 108 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Hopkins and Andre Johnson each saw a team-high nine targets. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw it to whichever receiver was working against embattled Steelers CB Cortez Allen. ...
Oct 20 11:16PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 14 yards on five carries and caught an 11-yard touchdown in the Texans'... Blue was the vulture on the opening-drive 11-yard score after Arian Foster managed 59 rushing yards to get the Texans near the goal line. Foster is an every-down back,...
Oct 20 11:09PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21-of-32 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception... Fitzpatrick played well for much of the first half, leading the Texans on three consecutive scoring drives to open the game. It was a train wreck thereafter. One play...
Oct 20 10:56PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-23, Week 7 loss to the... Foster got off to a blazing start, rushing for 59 yards on the Texans' 94-yard opening touchdown drive, but was vultured by Alfred Blue for the 11-yard touchdown catch to...
Oct 20 10:47PM Read More

More Team Talk