No Suh, no problem for the Miami Dolphins defense
The Miami Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh to a six-year $114 million dollar deal in March of 2015. Many compared it to a Reggie White-like move. A foundation of an elite defense.
While Suh was great in Miami, the defense continued to struggle. They ranked 14th against the run in 2017, 30th in 2016, and 28th in 2015. Suh took up plenty of room, but clearly not enough as the Dolphins were consistently one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL.
Suh had the fourth-most penalties among defensive linemen in 2017, second-most in 2016 (one behind Miami’s Jordan Phillips), and second most again in 2015 (one spot ahead of Olivier Vernon, another Dolphin). Miami can’t build a great defense with these numbers, no matter how talented Suh is.
Suh left some big shoes to fill, literally. The Dolphins were willing to carry $13 million of dead money into the 2019 season to move on from Suh and so far it has paid off. The Dolphins are currently 11th in the league, only allowing four-yards a carry and their longest run allowed on the year is just 31 yards, also 11th in the league.
Through six games the entire defensive line has only committed seven penalties. The Dolphins have become a consistent team and that is because it is looking like they hit on their fifth and sixth-round picks last season.
Devon Godchaux has been solid for the Dolphins even though he is responsible for two of Miami’s seven penalties on the defensive line. While he only has 22 tackles on the season he is always around the ball. Godchaux is always in the right place, whether he needs to make a play or just fill a hole allowing a linebacker to step up and make the tackle.
Sixth-round pick Vincent Taylor has been a stud for the Dolphins. He is currently third in the league in terms of run-stuff percentage, 18th in pass rush productivity, and the 19th-graded interior linemen according to Pro Football Focus. Keep in mind he is only in his second season.
The Dolphins are finally starting to break the mold of the old Dolphins, which featured salary cap-hell for paying other team’s stars. The Adam Gase era isn’t about talent as much as it is focused on players who not only want to play football, but can help create a professional atmosphere in Miami.