McCarthy on Suh: 'I gave my opinion last night'

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Detroit defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for this weekend's wild-card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys after stepping on Aaron Rodgers' injured calf during Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang, left, blocks Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on Sept. 21 at Ford Field in Detroit.

Upon reviewing the film, the NFL determined Suh "backed up on Rodgers' left leg with his right foot. He then stepped on Rodgers' left leg again, this time with his left foot, applying pressure and unnecessarily pushing off Rodgers' unprotected leg with his left foot, violating playing rules prohibiting unnecessary roughness."

According to NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks: "Suh engaged in a non-football act which placed his opponent, Rodgers, at unnecessary risk of injury – specifically the second step and push off, which could have been avoided."

Suh is expected to appeal his suspension, which would keep him out of Sunday's wild-card playoff game against Dallas without pay.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy hadn't seen Suh stepping on Rodgers when asked immediately after the game, but said, "I'm told it was ridiculous." When asked again Monday afternoon, McCarthy acknowledged he had seen the play, but wouldn't expound on the matter.

"Frankly, that's an NFL matter. I gave my opinion last night," McCarthy said. "That was a hell of a football game played yesterday and that's really what I came here to talk about. I'm not in here to talk about behavior of players on other teams."

Suh has been fined more than $150,000 during his five-year career and was suspended two games in 2011 for stomping former Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Coincidentally, those are the only two games he's missed in his NFL career.

The Lions were without starting center Dominic Raiola during Sunday's game after he was suspended for stomping on the lower leg of Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson a week earlier. Detroit coach Jim Caldwell defended Suh after the game, but declined to give his opinion when asked Monday.

"Personal views don't matter in this particular case," Caldwell said. "I think that the league will take a look at it and see what they think is within line and go from there. But I think it was obviously one of those situations that they'll have to rule on."

The Packers' locker room kept a low profile about the matter. Defensive lineman Letroy Guion said he didn't want to comment on it, though he said with a smile he never had stepped on an offensive player the way Suh did with Rodgers.

Fullback John Kuhn said everyone is going to have their own thoughts on the situation.

"That's a tough situation," Kuhn said. "I know I'm biased because that's my guy over there that got stepped on. So we all have a way we kind of feel about it. We're not really going to go into that. That's not for us to decide. When we're out on that football field, our job is to protect him. That's what it comes down to."

Appeals are heard and decided by either Derrick Brooks or Ted Cottrell, the officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.

Suh's absence could be problematic for the Lions, who already are playing without defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee). The Cowboys boast the NFL's second-ranked run offense behind rushing champion DeMarco Murray (1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns on 392 carries).

Here are some other highlights from McCarthy's Monday news conference:

"We had the players in this morning. We met with those guys. They'll be off Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We'll work Friday and Saturday."

On difference from 2011:

"I couldn't give you the specifics. It's been a couple weeks since we went through it. What we went about today and crunching numbers, this is the schedule I came up with."

On preparation during the bye week:

"You have to prepare for all three teams. Everybody knows what the combinations are. Carolina and Arizona will take it down to two teams, then we'll lock in on Dallas and winner of Sunday's game. We'll watch the game here Sunday at 3 p.m. and we'll go into game planning meetings Sunday night."

On keeping young guys ready through bye:

"Really, it will be a big part of our message. There's no guarantees in football. I think the phrase of controlling your own destiny isn't correct. You have to grow and get better. We'll have two practices at the end of the week that we feel we need to concentrate on. We'll handle the football and do everything from a skill development and training standpoint. Coaches are doing self-scout today and tomorrow. We'll apply that to practices Friday and Saturday."

On team playing better since the bye:

"I think it's a culmination of a lot of things. I think it's players gelling from a personnel group. I think the defensive line there's more rhythm and flow to that. Clay moving inside has definitely helped for sure. I think we've hit the target as far as using everybody. We started in the spring as far as having as much personnel groups (as possible) and not relying on same guys."

On defense's response:

"I think our defense has played exceptional football since the bye week. I'm pleased with what we were able to accomplish and I'm excited about new wrinkles we might move forward with into the playoffs."

On running against Detroit:

"I think it's important to stay in touch with what your capabilities are. We aren't going to change who we are. We like the way our line blocks in the run game. Our identity of offense has been to run and throw it."

On pistol formations:

"The formations and backfield alignments there's reasons to do those things. Those are things we focused on with Aaron. The running backs did a great job with it. It's something we've used in the past."

On Jordy Nelson's season:

"I think the biggest key for Jordy Nelson of having the season he's had is opportunities dramatically increased. He's been given a lot of opportunities."

On installing new things with the bye, balance?

"You can change it every week if you wanted to. It depends on your philosophy. We're not going to line up Saturday and run 15 trick plays. Whether it's a tendency as far as pre-snap look in the coverage. Those are the details we're not allowed to talk about with the media."

On Richard Rodgers:

"He made some huge catches there."

On Letroy Guion:

"He's everything we thought he was going to be. I've always had a lot of respect for Letroy. He's an excellent fit in our locker room and he's a damn good football player."

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