Aidan Hutchinson says matchup vs. Falcons tested his ‘mental toughness'
After having an outstanding rookie season, Detroit Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson was poised to have a breakout campaign in 2023. In fact, many were projecting Hutchinson to rack up 15 or more sacks this year. Through the first two games of the season, he was tied for the NFL lead in quarterback pressures, but he had yet to pick up a sack. That all changed on Sunday as he picked up his first sack of the season during the Lions 20-6 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
What Did Aidan Hutchinson Say?
Following the game, Hutchinson spoke to reporters and he admitted that this game tested his mental toughness.
“This game really did test my mental toughness,” Hutchinson said. “It's hard when you feel like you're playing at a high level but the production doesn't come. So it's frustrating, that's the game of football. I thought I had to get a little mentally tough today. You're so proud of the boys for producing, so proud of the boys for getting after it and I also wanted to be a part of it. So it took some mental toughness, but this game is four quarters. Had to play til the end.”
Why it Matters
When it comes to judging EDGE rushers in the NFL, many go straight to one statistic, and that is sacks. Yet, those who know that game understand that looking only at that stat is a big mistake when evaluating pass rushers. Hutchinson has wreaked havoc on plenty of occasions through three games, and it was nice to finally see him rewarded on Sunday.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Great Expectations for Aidan Hutchinson: Following an impressive rookie season, Detroit Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson had high expectations for the 2023 campaign, with projections of 15 or more sacks.
- Mental Toughness Test: Hutchinson acknowledged that the early part of the season was mentally challenging for him, especially when he felt he was performing well but not achieving the desired sack production.
- Beyond Sacks in Evaluation: The game of football often places a heavy emphasis on sack statistics when evaluating EDGE rushers. However, it's crucial to recognize that pass rushers contribute in various ways, including creating disruption and pressure.
Bottom Line: Posting Numbers Is Not Everything
Aidan Hutchinson's journey to secure his first sack of the season tested his mental toughness, highlighting the challenges that can arise in the NFL. While sack statistics often take center stage, it's essential to appreciate the broader contributions of pass rushers like Hutchinson, who create disruption and pressure even when the sacks don't immediately follow. Hutchinson's persistence and overall performance are valuable assets to the Detroit Lions defense, and his first sack was a well-deserved reward for his hard work.