Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh teaches Dolphins' rookie guards tough lessons during joint practiceSun Sentinel — By Omar Kelly Sun Sentinel
Aug. 13-- TAMPA, Fla.-Ndamukong Suh traditionally has a take-no-prisoners approach to practices and games, consistently showcasing the violent tendencies that have made him a five-time Pro Bowler, even when it's against his own teammates.
Just imagine what he does to people and players he doesn't care about.
That's why the Dolphins' joint practices this week, and Friday's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should help speed up the development of Miami rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun, who are holding onto the Dolphins' starting guard spots.
"The first snap I look up and Ndamukong Suh is standing there," Deiter said, shaking his head side to side. "That's Ndamukong Suh! Are we sure we're ready to do this?"
"It's good seeing Suh, good to see he's still doing Suh things," left tackle Laremy Tunsil said. "Everybody knows what Suh does."
He wrecks practices and games, and that was evident very early Tuesday.
The Dolphins' start to the first day of joint practices was a rough for the first-team offensive line, which allowed three sacks and committed a false start in a span of four plays during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.
"I think that's something we need some improvement on," coach Brian Flores said when asked about the offensive line's struggles. "I thought that was evident. (Buccaneers defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles) does a great job defensively. He's got a myriad of schemes. It's what we're going to have to deal with. I think we could have done a better job there."
Miami will get a another chance to make a better impression against Suh and the Buccaneers defense during Wednesday's joint practice, and Friday's game, which will be played at Raymond James Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
"It's still football," said Deiter, the Dolphins' 2019 third-round pick. "He's blockable. But he's really, really good."
The offensive line's struggles during Miami's 34-27 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons-a game that featured Tunsil sitting out for precautionary reasons-seemed to carryover.
But the overall thought process is that daily battles with tough competitors like Suh should help the unit prepare for what's to come in the regular season.
The Dolphins' first-team line did manage to open up a running lane that produced a 70-yard touchdown run from Kalen Ballage. But that was one of their few victories during the two-hour practice session.
"It's going to be some real bullets flying because he don't play," Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said when asked about Suh. "It's great for young guys. Better have good technique, know your assignments and play fast because he's going to play fast."
The Dolphins offensive line is the unit that needs the most work on the team, so it's ideal that they face better competition now while the two rookies are cutting their teeth as starters, and Jesse Davis is making the transition from right guard to right tackle.
Jordan Mills, who spent his entire NFL career as a starter at right tackle, is being cross-trained at left tackle. Mills struggled as the starting left tackle during Miami's win over the Falcons, but the Dolphins have him playing a spot he hasn't worked at since his freshman year in college.
Deiter and Calhoun are beginning their third week with the starters while Chris Reed, a fourth-year veteran, is being groomed to serve as Daniel Kilgore's backup at center.
It's possible that Reed could enter the starting guard mix again, but that might happen closer to the regular season.
"(We've got to) keep working. We've got all new guys up there," said Tunsil, who expects to play in Friday night's game. "People playing different positions with Jesse at right tackle. We've got two rookies in there. We need to keep improving and come together as one.
"I think both of the rookies have been doing good. They are both on the side of DK (Kilgore). He's been in the league for nine years. He's a vet and they just need to keep improving. It's going to take some time, but keep improving."
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