Miami Dolphins’ Ndamukong Suh “sick and tired” of not winning playoff games

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh blames himself for some of the franchise’s struggles against the run the past two seasons. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — Two days before the Miami Dolphins were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a January playoff game, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh celebrated his 30th birthday.

Suh is a five-time Pro Bowler but he’s never won a playoff game.

And so as he approaches his eighth NFL season, Suh has taken an introspective approach to this point in his career, and this point in his life.

“For me personally, I’m definitely sick and tired of making it to the playoffs and not going further,” Suh said Tuesday, as Miami opened offseason training activity. “I think everybody feels that way.”

Suh said he hopes he stays healthy enough to play many more seasons.

But he understands that he’s no longer a youngster. In fact, Suh thought long and hard after hearing rookie defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor have tried to model themselves after him.

“I think, honestly, it’s flattering, and it says that I’m old. I’m 30 now, so it plays a little piece into it,” Suh said. “I think the more they say, they watched my play and then coming up from high school and then in college or whatnot … I’m without question embracing that…. I feel like any place in time, they’re going to be a part of this team, so [I want to] affect [them] in a positive way.”

Suh will continue to try to find ways to affect the game from the defensive tackle position, when he’s more often than not double-teamed. Interestingly, Suh suggested he’s discussed with his coaches altering his approach on some plays.

Last season, Suh played some defensive end and was effective when doing it. He said assistant defensive line coach Andre Carter has already approached him with some ideas.

“It’s going to let me be that much more sharp, finding that much more creative ways to be successful,” Suh said. “(Carter) noticed something in my game which I definitely know that I’m more of a brute strength type of pass rusher. I still have the ability to be very quick and have opportunities to have, for lack of a better word, a finesse type of game. It’s being able to mix and match those and have them come together.  It’s great to have a guy like Andre who can point those things out to me, but it’s something I did in my self-scout.”

Miami’s defense has struggled against the run the past two seasons and Suh takes responsibility.

“I put a lot of it on myself in regards to your question about the run defense,” Suh said. “I’m supposed to be the anchor. I plan to be the anchor and continue to be that way.”

Suh believes the promotion of linebackers coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator will be a smooth one. Suh and Burke are familiar with each other from both Miami and Detroit.

“This will be my sixth year with (Burke),” Suh said. “Four years in Detroit and obviously last year. I think there is going to be consistency there. So I think it will be easier for guys to understand where they need to be. And where they need to fit. The techniques need to become obviously a lot more sound. And then execution.”

Suh admitted that there was inadequate communication between all three levels of the defense last season. And he specifically noted how the addition of linebacker Lawrence Timmons should help.

“A linebacker has to bark out calls, get people lined up in different things of that nature,” Suh said. We didn’t always have the best communication between all three positions in the front, the linebackers and the DB’s, so I think he’ll add to that particular piece.”

Suh said Miami’s culture is evolving to the point where 10 wins and a playoff appearance are not satisfying enough.

“I think everybody feels that way,” Suh said. “Having a good conversation with (coach Adam Gase), with my time away and my time here, it’s a good feeling. It feels like guys weren’t satisfied with where we were at. It’s exciting, from my vantage point, to see hunger still. That was not OK the way we finished, especially the last two games of our season.”

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