The Miami Dolphins defensive line was considered one of the NFL's best during the beginning and middle of last season, but as time went on, the unit started to fall off as a whole as the players on the line began to wear down. As a result, the Dolphins became painfully susceptible to being run on, and it got to the point where running backs were gouging the defense without much effort.
Despite not being a member of the team at the time, new Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had some very strong words after Tuesday's practice regarding teams being run on.
“It’s very disrespectful for a team to ever run the ball very heavily on you,” Suh said “This is a passing league. For somebody to really run the ball on you heavily, that’s really embarrassing.”
Based on how the Dolphins defense played against the run in the last six games of last season, there's no doubt that embarrassed is exactly how the Dolphins felt, as they gave up an average of 32 points over the last 6 games, as well as an average of 165 rushing yards per game over that time period, leading them to be the NFL's 24th ranked run defense.
Last year, on paper, the Dolphins appeared that they would be a top ten defense in the league, and up until that game against the Denver Broncos, they were. Injuries and fatigue had a lot to do with the sudden drop-off in play for the unit, but Suh doesn't want that to be an excuse, and he doesn't want the defense to be elite just based on paper.
“I think we look great on paper,” Suh said. “It doesn’t really matter at this point in time. We’re not playing against anybody. We just want to continue to grow as a unit so we don’t just become a great paper team. We want to become an actual great team on the football field, go out here and impose our will.”
With all the investment that's been put into the defensive line, Suh and whoever is lined up next to him should have no issues imposing their will on whatever team they go up against, and be a top ten defense on the field as well as on paper.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater