Ndamukong Suh talks about the Dolphins' defensive effort against the Cardinals
A bunch of nuggets from Wednesday’s session with the Miami Dolphins’ coordinators:
• We learned today that Ndamukong Suh --- who has followed a mildly disappointing first season with Miami with a terrific season that will include his fifth career Pro Bowl appearance --- had a simple question for the new coaching staff this past offseason:
“He asked what more can I do to help us win,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph revealed Wednesday.
“I said be more of a leader. He does things right. Sometimes guys who do things right are kind of on their own. He had to be more vocal, spread his wisdom to Jordan [Phillips]. He’s a consummate professional as far as how he studies. The more he shares with young kids, the better [we’re going to be]. He’s been great with Jordan. Jordan is going to be a great player in the future. He needs support from Suh, a player who’s going to mentor him through the process….
“Suh has had a dominant force. If a coach is voting, they know what he’s meant to our defense. He’s been a great person. That’s been important also.”
• How often this season have the Dolphins lined up Suh at defensive end instead of his natural defensive tackle position?
“About 20 times,” Joseph said. “We’ve got to do more of that stuff to get him on-on-one [and] avoid getting our two best rushers blocked with two guys.”
• Joseph said he’s not sure if linebacker Jelani Jenkins will play again this season. That’s partly because his knee injury has rendered him ineffective.
Joseph said it’s 50-50 whether cornerback Byron Maxwell plays this week. Maxwell has an ankle injury.
• The Dolphins remain deficient against the run, ranking 30th in rushing yardage allowed per game and rushing yards per carry. But Joseph has an interesting philosophy on that, explaining that he’s not terribly concerned because it’s big passing plays, not running plays, that are most hurtful.
“The rushing stats are important but the last month and a half have been OK,” Joseph said. “Rushing yards doesn’t always equal points.”
• Joseph reminded us defensive end Cam Wake, who has 10.5 sacks, had 4.5 called back because of penalty and that he would be leading the league if that hadn’t been the case. (The current leader, Atlanta’s Vic Beasley, has 14.5.)
• Joseph loved how Xavien Howard played in 68 snaps after Byron Maxwell’s injury: “We were hoping to play Xavien 15 snaps. Xavien played 68 snaps. That’s why he was drafted as second round player. Tall and long, has great movement. He’s a relaxed, too laid back of a person but that helps sometimes being a corner. He did a fine job. His college tape was the best I’ve seen in years playing the deep ball, not panicking. That’s a trait young corners don’t have all the time.”
• Jarvis Landry and Jay Ajayi were named first alternates to the Pro Bowl.
• Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen insisted that Ajayi’s diminished rushing numbers aren’t remotely his fault and “he’s actually playing better than at any point.”
• Joseph, on Earl Mitchell: “Earl is quiet but plays so hard with so much effort. He’s a great example for Jordan. Earl’s effort is off the charts.”
• Christensen said if backup QB TJ Yates had needed to play three quarters against the Jets, “we all would have had to hold onto our rear ends, nervous.”
Said Christensen of Yates: “He’s a sharp, sharp kid. Has played a much of football. We obviously think he can function [but MattMoore] needs all the reps. It’s hard to give him a rep here or there. Hopefully, we won’t need him at all. We had a small menu if he had had to go in there. Coach Gase had a separate call sheet if he had to go in. We could function but it wouldn’t be ideal, especially at the line of scrimmage, communicating with the center. We can’t get him a bunch of reps with [Kraig] Urbik. It’s impossible, because Matt needs the reps with Urbik.”
• Christensen had some interesting things to say about Matt Moore today; colleague Adam Beasley will post that in a bit.
Here’s the low-down on the Dolphins’ playoff scenarios.