It’s only rookie mini-camp this weekend in Miami, but even now, the Fins are trying to figure out how to be better defensively, especially with their front four. And, let’s get this out of the way: they aren’t better off without former Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh.
Look. We get what they did, and why they were almost forced to do it in March-releasing Suh with his massive $17 million in salary and cap space. By cutting him, they saved about half of that, and freed that money up for other free agent moves and to sign draft picks.
Still, the five time Pro Bowler Suh, who turned only 31 in January, has arguably has two-three years of solid, if not really good, football left in him. The Rams obviously thought so, and gobbled him up with a one year $14 million deal.
Back to to the Dolphins and what they will try to do to replace him.
First, here were some Saturday comments from defensive coordinator, Matt Burke and some analysis from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
As Jackson wrote: “Suh played 877 snaps last season, seventh most among all NFL defensive tackles, but no longer will the Dolphins rely on one tackle to play nearly that much.
Instead, snaps will be shared fairly evenly among four players – a group that almost assuredly will include Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux and Akeem Spence and might include Vincent Taylor, as well.”
Then, from Burke:
“I have a lot of history with Suh; it’s always hard to move on from guys,” Burke said Saturday of Suh’s release and subsequent move to the Los Angeles Rams. “That’s part of the business. I’m excited about that room. We’ve got some young players with Jordan and Davon we’re expecting to make leaps. Akeem is a nice piece for us, especially with his history with [new Dolphins and former Lions defensive line coach] Kris Kocurek.
Sure, they are going with depth on the interior and out of the group, Godchaux probably has the most upside on being able to make that “leap” that Burke was talking about yesterday. And Miami recently traded for Spence from the Lions, but he’s never been a guy to play 50+ plays and take a game over. Unlikely, he will be now.
So, if you want veteran Cameron Wake, trade acquisition Robert Quinn from the Rams, and last year’s top pick, Charles Harris to make trouble from the ends, you need push from the middle.
Something the Fins have relied on from Suh greatly for in the past three seasons.
Now, he’s not there, by their choice.
And the off season process has to be as good, or there will be many more questions this fall, as to why he’s not.
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