Nick Fairley raised a few eyebrows last week when he declared himself and Detroit Lions teammate Ndamukong Suh the best defensive tackle tandem in the NFL. Suh is backing his teammate's boast with no hesitation.
Although Suh understandably was dinged as overrated in 2011, he was an absolute terror to quarterbacks in the second half of last season. Perhaps Warren Sapp lit a fire under him. Whatever the cause, Suh's 58 combined sacks, hits and hurries were second only to Atkins among defensive tackles last season.
While Suh still leaves a lot to be desired in the run game, Fairley showed an impressive knack for taking down both running backs and quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage before he landed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue. He was Detroit's most disruptive defensive player in November before Suh took the baton in December.
The only question is if Suh and Fairley can put it all together for a 16-game season. With the addition of No. 5 overall pick Ziggy Ansah, offensive lines will be picking their poison when playing the Lions this season.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.