New Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh played with good teammates on the defensive line with the Detroit Lions. But none of his former Detroit linemen have the extensive pedigree of Miami's four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake.
Suh's face lit up during Wednesday's press conference when asked about playing next to Wake, who recorded 11.5 sacks in 2014. The two have met at Pro Bowls in the past but will be spending a lot more time together as teammates after Suh signed a $114 million contract to join the Dolphins.
“Man, I’ve been watching that guy for many, many years, he’s a special defensive end,” Suh said. “I look forward to, one, playing next to him, but opposite of. Because if you understand this game and understand how it works, when you have a dominant defensive end on the other side of you and you guys are meeting at the quarterback, it’s really tough for that guy on the side of the ball who’s trying to throw it and hand it off to the running back. I’m excited to be lined up next to and opposite of Cameron Wake.”
With Suh and Wake as anchors, Miami's defensive line should be one of the best in the NFL. Fourth-year defensive end Olivier Vernon and starting defensive tackle Earl Mitchell will join the Pro Bowl pair to make up a formidable group next season.
Wake has been the subject of many double teams and still averaged 10.5 sacks per season in his six-year career. Suh now will help occupy most of those double teams while allowing Wake and Vernon, who has 18 sacks the past two seasons, more opportunities to get to the quarterback.
Suh believes the Dolphins have good talent and are a team on the rise in 2015.
“I think there are a handful of guys that I know that are down here that are quality guys on the team,” Suh said. “Jason Fox, Brent Grimes, that young man is very special, [Mike] Pouncey, playing against him and interacting with him at Nike with our other endeavors. For me, I feel like this team has a great nucleus, and it’s about finding some other pieces to help us get over the hump and then continue to make a run.”