Dolphins’ Ndamukong Suh calls play ‘poor’ in season opener
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Ndamukong Suh anticipated the question and tackled it with a one-word answer.
How did he grade his performance in the season opener?
"Poor," he said Wednesday.
Ryan Tannehill also deemed his 2015 debut unsatisfactory.
"I wasn’t happy with how I played," Tannehill said.
It’s amazing the Miami Dolphins won last week at Washington, given the initial return on a $210 million offseason investment in their two biggest stars. The coaching staff agreed Suh and Tannehill can play better, and everyone expects progress Sunday at Jacksonville.
"You’re always looking for improvement," Tannehill said. "Especially early in the season, I think you see the most marked improvement."
Coach Joe Philbin applauded Tannehill and Suh for being hard on themselves.
"I love it, love it, absolutely love it," Philbin said. "I want to do a better job coaching, too. What’s that old saying? — `Dissatisfaction is the basis of raw progress.’"
While Tannehill was up and down in the 17-10 victory over the Redskins, Suh was hardly a factor at all. He made only one solo tackle, and it was tarnished by an encounter after the whistle with running back Alfred Morris that had pundits abuzz about Suh’s reputation for dirty play.
"They can do whatever they want," Suh said. "I don’t care."
An NFL review exonerated Suh, but the rest of his day was more difficult to excuse, especially given his new $114 million, six-year contract.
With the Dolphins’ newcomer at the heart of the defense, they gave up 161 yards rushing and allowed Washington to keep possession for 38 minutes. The Redskins’ zone scheme and cut blocking often kept Suh far from the ball.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle tried to explain Suh’s no-show by saying he was too amped up.
"I don’t know what he meant by that," Suh responded, "but I wouldn’t say so. … I didn’t do exactly I wanted to do, but it’s over with. We’re looking forward to Jacksonville."
Tannehill lost a fumble, threw two passes that should have been intercepted and twice misfired on potential touchdown passes. He said the throw that bothered him most was a deep pass that landed out of bounds when Dion Sims was open in the end zone.
"That was a big opportunity," Tannehill said. "That was the one play from the game I look at and say it made a huge impact. I should have hit that. I have to be able to leave that inbounds."
The errant pass was troubling because accuracy on deep throws has been a chronic issue for Tannehill. The Dolphins are counting on improvement in that area, which is one reason they gave him a $96 million, six-year contract.
On the plus side, Tannehill led the two-minute offense to the Dolphins’ only offensive touchdown, and bounced back from a slow start, throwing for 196 yards in the final 32 minutes. His passer rating of 93.5 was by far his highest in an opener.
Even so, Tannehill expects more from the offense.
"There are definitely things we have to improve upon," he said. "There were plenty of plays we left on the field."
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