When the white puffs of smoke finally drift into the air at the Lions practice facility to name new captains, one of those names must be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

It is time for him to take that role, and if his peers do not select Suh, then there is something dramatically wrong with his stature in the dressing room that we may never know about.

It is time.

Mentor Kyle VandenBosch and veteran Cliff Avril are gone.

It is time.

This is his fourth season with the Lions. He is one of the highest-paid and highest-profiled players on this roster.

It is time.

Suh is one of the top defensive tackles in the league. Mean Joe Greene said Suh should keep doing what he is doing. That’s good enough for me.

It is time.

“It is definitely an honor when your peers pick you to be a leader, especially in respect of the defense,” Suh said. “It is something you hope for but you never know. If it comes, it comes, but even if it doesn’t, there are still many opportunities to lead in many ways.”
Quiet still works

The issue of Suh being a leader has come up several times the past few weeks. It is not about him becoming a screamer. That is not what Suh is about. Some of the best leaders do it quietly. Does anybody remember Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom?

Do players respect him enough to vote him in? It would be an indictment on Suh if he does not get it.

I believe teammates should give him the benefit of the doubt and vote him in as a captain. But there is a wild card in this. Likely, only one person will be voted in on the defensive line. Nick Fairley, who plays alongside Suh, is making his voice heard.

He is not politicking to become captain. He is simply standing out now, where as before he stood more in the background. Fairley is more outgoing than Suh and interacts with teammates more. He already has said the Lions’ goal is to go to the Super Bowl this season, and that he and Suh are the best defensive-tackle combo in the league.

Fairley is more playful but he already is being looked at as a break-out player this season. That is why some NFL sites have placed him on the top-100 players list even if some Lions fans do not believe it. I spoke to former offensive tackle Lomas Brown a few weeks ago and he said Fairley’s game is more diverse than Suh’s.