No one on the Bears knows Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh better than cornerback Zack Bowman, who played with him at Nebraska.
"Beast," says Bowman, who considers Suh a good friend. "I watch him all the time, and it seems like every week he's getting hit with some kind of fine, whether it's late hits on the quarterback or face-masking or something. He's playing at a very high level."
The question that has been asked, almost since the day Suh entered the league last season as the second overall draft pick, is whether his level of play is overly aggressive or out-and-out dirty.
Among his penalties last season was an unnecessary roughness call against a scrambling Jay Cutler, when Suh forearmed him in the back of the head, costing himself a $15,000 fine. Suh seems to have a special dislike for quarterbacks, but he doesn't discriminate.
DT Ndamukong Suh
Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
"I think he has an intent to harm anybody he's in front of," Bowman said. "That's just his attitude, that's his mentality. I had an opportunity this offseason to work out with him and that's just his focus, to go out there with the intent to -- I wouldn't say to kill you -- but at least to hurt you.
"Obviously that's the type of player that he wants to be in this league. He has a reputation for it, and it fits him well. Some teams do fear him, so that's his mindset."
With Suh in mind, and with right guard Chris Spencer limited in Thursday's practice with a fracture in his right hand, Lance Louis took first-team snaps there and is expected to be back in his original spot Monday night against the Lions.
Louis was the opening-day starter but suffered a sprained ankle that kept him out until last Sunday, when he subbed at right guard in the second quarter just after Spencer was injured. Louis then replaced ineffective right tackle Frank Omiyale, who was benched in the second half, while Spencer returned at right guard.
With the specter of Suh looming, Louis is a much better option than a one-handed Spencer.
"(Louis) put 10 guys on the ground in 41 plays last week," offensive line coach Mike Tice said. "That's a lot of guys on the ground. He's playing with great physical presence and confidence; more confident inside (at guard) than outside (at tackle)."
That would mean another start for Omiyale, but he's running out of chances.
"Frank is like many players," Tice said. "When you have some bad plays, you can't compound those with other bad plays. You try to minimize the amount of bad plays you have in succession. So that's what we're trying to do with Frank, we're trying to keep his bad plays to sporadic, as opposed to back-to-back."
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