Ndamukong Suh continued his elevated play in 2016 as he led the Dolphins defense and the team to a post-season appearance.
Suh played a big role in the Dolphins success this season despite the defensive struggles that the club endured during the 2016 season. Miami’s defensive system is designed to allow the linebackers to make plays but without a quality core of backers, the defense can be exposed. As a result the defensive line often looks bad.
Such was the case in 2016 when the defensive front led by Suh struggled against the run and at times failed to provide adequate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. While both are true, the play of Suh was at its highest since arriving in Miami via free agency.
In 2016 Suh emerged as more of a vocal leader in the locker room, something he was not well-known for in Detroit. He is impressing on this team to elevate their game. Statistically he had some of his best numbers in his career.
Suh’s combined tackle total of 72 was the most in his career. His solo tackles of 41 was his 3rd highest and his assists was by far the highest at 31 his 2nd highest was in 2015 when he had 23 assists. His sack total of five however was his 2nd lowest of his career. Regardless his 2nd season with the Dolphins improved over the previous year.
2017 should be an even better year for Suh despite the change at defensive coordinator. Since his entry into the NFL in 2010, Suh has seen four different head coaches. Jim Schwartz and then Jim Caldwell in Detroit followed by one year with Joe Philbin and then Adam Gase. The Dolphins are not expected to change their defensive scheme in 2017 and the new DC, Matt Burke, was the teams linebacker coach in 2016. Continuity.
For the Dolphins, they are getting plenty of production from the big defensive tackle but they are still lacking the quality pieces to surround him. If they can find that this off-season, Suh’s production could explode.