Barry Jackson

Here's how the Miami Dolphins assess their defensive tackles in the post-Suh era

Miami Dolphins' Davon Godchaux, defensive tackle, speaks to the media at Miami Dolphins minicamp at the Dolphins training facility in Davie on Fri., May 5, 2017.
Miami Dolphins' Davon Godchaux, defensive tackle, speaks to the media at Miami Dolphins minicamp at the Dolphins training facility in Davie on Fri., May 5, 2017. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Davon Godchaux called Ndamukong Suh after the Dolphins released him in March, and Suh responded with a simple message: “If you keep working hard, the sky is the limit for you.”

As impressive as Godchaux was last season as a fifth-round rookie, he knows more is needed with Suh gone. And he doesn’t find that daunting.

“Expect to make a major leap,” Godchaux said Wednesday of his own expectations for himself.

New defensive line coach Kris Kocurek likes what he’s inheriting at defensive tackle, even without Suh.

“I liked what I saw from [Godchaux] last year and we just need to take that next step with him,” Kocurek said. “He’s doing a good job, very serious about football, very serious about getting better, and those things should lead to success on the field.”

Of Jordan Phillips, Kocurek said: “Jordan has shown up this offseason with a very good attitude. He’s striving to get better every day. He’s working extremely hard and it’s important to him. I would anticipate him getting better.”

Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Davon Godchaux (56) talks about the new defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek, and improving and setting personal goals for this upcoming season.

The Dolphins also acquired Akeem Spence, who played under Kocurek with Detroit last season.

“Obviously, I put my name on it to bring him here,” Kocurek said. “We got him here. He fits our style of play. He fits the culture we’re trying to build in our locker room. He fits in with the guys. He’s a team guy. He’s really quick-twitched to play the type of aggressive defense that we want to play.”

Last season, Suh’s 877 defensive snaps ranked sixth-most among NFL defensive tackles. Spence played 662 for Detroit, Godchaux 500 and Phillips 401.

Those should be Miami’s top three tackles, with Vincent Taylor and end/tackle William Hayes among options for remaining snaps in a rotation in which at least eight defensive linemen should get regular playing time.

THIS AND THAT

Linebackers coach Frank Bush said Raekwon McMillan has regained his form from prior to his season-ending knee injury last August.

“You see all of the earmarks and all of the traits that we saw before; you’re starting to see them again,” Bush said. “Now it’s just about getting his confidence. He’s done a good job.”

Bush said of third-round pick Jerome Baker: “You see speed. You see quickness, athleticism. He’s got a good brain. We just have to get him going in the right direction all of the time.”

Defensive end Charles Harris was off to the side doing conditioning work Wednesday while nursing a shoulder injury that isn’t considered serious. Receiver Leonte Carroo also has been sidelined with a knee injury.

Miami Dolphins Linebacker Kiko Alonso (47) talks about the speed in this new Dolphins defense as well as covering the crafty Dolphins backfield during practice.

Ryan Tannehill wasn’t at his best Wednesday. He had two passes deflected and nearly intercepted in red zone drills. Another was broken up by Bobby McCain.

Another catchable pass went through DeVante Parker’s hands.

Undrafted Utah State rookie cornerback Jalen Davis intercepted a Bryce Petty pass in 7-on-7 drills and continues to impress.

“I like him,” defensive backs coach Tony Oden said. “Spirited, I don’t think it’s too big for him.”

Other practice notables: David Fales completed a long pass to Albert Wilson but also threw an interception to Trae Elston on a ball that was deflected by Jordan LucasWilliam Hayes beat Ja’Wuan James for a sack. The offensive line struggled in pass protection Wednesday … Kiko Alonso stopped Kenyan Drake for a loss on a running play.. Football players from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High attended practice.

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