Ndamukong Suh has heard Adam Gase’s call to be more of a leader.
But he’s still Ndamukong Suh.
So what did the Dolphins’ mercurial defensive tackle say to new teammate Davon Godchaux during their first phone conversation last week?
“Basically just be ready to come in, play, do your role and learn – shut your mouth up and learn.”
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Yup, that sounds about right.
Here’s the thing: Suh’s message was perfect for the young group of defensive tackles who will cycle in next to him this fall.
The Dolphins have high hopes for Jordan Phillips, but at this point, is it much more than hope? Phillips has been wildly inconsistent in his first two seasons.
Nick Williams, meanwhile, has 17 tackles in four NFL season; not sacks — tackles.
So expect plenty of snaps this season for Godchaux, drafted in Round 5, and Vincent Taylor, taken a round later.
“I mean really all of the spots are up for grabs,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said. “We obviously are bringing two young guys in at the tackle position. We have Nick Williams. We signed some futures guys form last year. So it’s obviously a spot that there is some open competition for and we’re just going to let it play out.”
Put all together, and there are a lot of unknowns at the position. How can Burke be sure the Dolphins will get more production from his defensive tackle than the Dolphins did last year, when their run defense was awful?
“Today? I don’t. I don’t know. How do you know?”
He added: “This is our group. To me, it’s on us. It’s our job as coaches to get that position better. Whether it’s schematically putting them in the right calls and putting them in the right things or coaching those guys up on better technique or motivation to get Jordan Phillips better or whoever it is. Get these young guys up to speed. I don’t think there’s a measuring stick today of if we got better. I mean we feel good about the pieces we’ve added to that room, but that’s always an ongoing process.”
Godchaux is a big piece — literally and figuratively. He weighed in at 310 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Godchaux skipped his senior year at LSU because he expected to be drafted in the third round. He was disappointed that his name wasn’t called until well into Day 3.
There are any number of reasons why that happened. Scouts wanted to see him make more plays at college.
Then there was his arrest on domestic violence charges back in September. The Advocate reported at the time that Godchaux was involved in a “tussle” with his girlfriend while she was leaving his apartment with the couple’s young child.
Charges were dropped just two days later because of inconsistent statements by the alleged victim. Godchaux didn’t miss a game due to suspension.
“I’m pretty sure everybody went deep because you’re investing millions of dollars into a player,” Godchaux said. “So I’m pretty sure everybody went deep and had to find out the details; but that’s the past. I’m past that situation. I’m just ready to move on and be a Miami Dolphin.”