Pads go on at Dolphins camp; Suh finds new gear
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Poor Billy Turner. The second-year offensive lineman probably thought he was ready for what was coming Saturday, the first day of in-pads work at the Miami Dolphins training camp.
Then he lined up against Ndamukong Suh, the prize acquisition by the Dolphins this offseason and perhaps the top defensive lineman in the game.
Suh overpowered the 315-pound Turner, sending him stumbling backward with apparent ease on one play.
''It's not like anyone didn't know how good he was,'' Turner said afterward. ''Someone tweeted his stats yesterday, since 2010 how many sacks and all that stuff that he had and there's a reason for that.
''He's a hard worker. I'm blessed that I'm able to go against him every day so I have the chance to get better.''
While seeing offensive linemen struggle early in camp certainly isn't ideal for the Dolphins, there might be a greater good.
That's exactly what Miami coaches envisioned when they lured Suh away from the Detroit Lions with a six-year, $114 million contract and asked him to lead a defensive squad that believes it could be among the NFL's best this season.
So far, Miami's offensive line is duly impressed.
''When you're going against a player like that, a guy that's going to come out and give you his all each and every play, every day, it's going to make you better,'' said center Mike Pouncey, who confessed after facing Suh and the defensive line in camp, he was often too tired after plays to ''talk trash like I want to.''
Since the Lions took Suh with the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, no other defensive tackle in the NFL has piled up more sacks than his 36. Led by Suh, the Lions allowed opposing teams to average just 3.17 yards per carry last season - the best mark in the league since 2010.
''It's going to be a great experience for our offensive players to go against him,'' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said.
Since Suh came to Miami, he's said it's been a priority for him to make the entire roster better, not just those at his position or on his side of the football. He also said past on-field issues wouldn't follow him to Miami. He's been regarded as one of the league's dirtiest players and was nearly suspended for Detroit's playoff game at Dallas last season after stepping on the ankle of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the second such incident of his career.
Turner says he's gotten better going against Suh.
''This is the ultimate team game, so your teammates have to produce as well as (you have) to produce,'' Suh said. ''The best way to do that is to work together as a unit, especially on the defensive line and offensive line - guys be able to protect each other, help each other, make plays and feed each other for plays.''
Notes: LT Branden Albert (reconstructive right knee surgery in November) took a handful of non-contact reps with the first-team offense in the early moments of practice, but was not in pads. He seemed to move gingerly when going through some warmup drills. ... CB Will Davis, who tore the ACL in his right knee last November but was back on the field in about seven months, was held out of Saturday's session. ... TE Gerell Robinson was activated from the Active Non-Football Injury list. ... Philbin when asked about DE Cameron Wake, who was photographed with a tiger during the offseason: ''I have great faith in Mr. Wake that he can tame the meanest of animals.''
AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL