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Ndamukong Suh ate on the move Wednesday, devouring the last half of a lunch-time sandwich as he walked across the locker room.
That’s not all he had to chew on. Newcomer Suh was expected to lift the Dolphins’ front four to an elite level this year, but instead the run defense is in full retreat, and the team has totaled one sack in the first two games.
Suh made one solo tackle in each game, and for the first time since 2012, he has gone consecutive weeks without a sack or tackle for a loss.
The highest-paid defensive player in NFL history described his first game with Miami as poor. His second? The same.
“Still not quite where I want it to be,” he said. “It’s just me figuring out what I need to get done. Fundamentals are what it’s going to come down to.”
Suh was patient and genial in discussing his poor start, and quick to acknowledge he and the rest of the defense must do better, starting Sunday against AFC East rival Buffalo. The Bills and Dolphins are both 1-1 and coming off a loss.
“Every game is big,” Suh said. “You have no opportunity to get it back. And those division wins mean a lot more. We’re at home, so we should protect our turf.”
In two road games, Miami gave up way too much ground — 161 yards rushing in the opener at Washington, and 123 in a loss to lowly Jacksonville. That’s an average of 142 per game, worse than last year’s 121.1, when Miami ranked 24th in the league.
The pass rush has been no better.READ MORE: Miami PD Believes 16-Year-Old Diani Gomez Sanchez Was Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver
“It’s unacceptable,” Suh said. “Obviously if we don’t stop the run, we’re not going to have many opportunities to pass rush. You’ve got to go back to the drawing table and figure out how we can stop the run and become dominant.”
The Dolphins figured to be dominant up front with the addition of Suh. His low profile has been notable given that he’s 6-4, weighs 320 pounds and has a $114 million, six-year contract.
Coach Joe Philbin attributed Suh’s struggles to the way offenses are attacking Miami.
“They’ve been running away from him a lot,” Philbin said. “He was actually closer to plays this week than last week. They’re going to come, I’m positive of that.”
Bills coach Rex Ryan disputed the notion Suh isn’t the same player he was with the Detroit Lions.
“I’m not so sure about that,” Ryan said. “It looks to me on tape like everybody knows where he’s at, I can tell you that.”
Suh, Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle all say there’s no miscommunication or difference of opinion between player and coaches, and Suh has tried to stick with the scheme.
“That’s my job — to go out there and play as hard and fast as I can with their direction,” Suh said.
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