AVENTURA — Davon Godchaux had just finished saying how he can’t be expected to “replace” Ndamukong Suh because, in his eyes, it’s impossible for any player to match what any other player has done.
But in the next breath, Godchaux couldn’t help but admit that with the Dolphins releasing Suh, who later joined the Los Angeles Rams, he knows how much the team will be counting on him in 2018.
No, Davon Godchaux no longer is just a fifth-round draft pick, a rookie with minimal expectations placed upon him.
There’s little chance the Dolphins would have released Suh had it not been for Godchaux’s emergence. Now, it’s up to Godchaux to build on that, and for fellow young defensive tackles Jordan Phillips and Vincent Taylor to make the Dolphins’ cost-cutting move look shrewd.
“Most definitely,” Godchaux said of the extra motivation. “Got to. To replace his shoes, got to. Got to pick up the game. What? Five-time Pro Bowler? Got to pick the game up.”
Cornerback Bobby McCain said he has confidence in the trio.
“It’s big shoes to fill, but we can get it done,” McCain said.
Godchaux appeared in 15 games, starting five. He finished with 40 tackles, a forced fumble and one pass defensed.
“Always can be better,” Godchaux said at the Dolphins Cancer Challenge annual golf tournament at Turnberry Isle to benefit the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I think this year you’ll see a lot of improvement each and every day.”
If so, a bit of credit goes to Suh. Godchaux said he learned plenty by observing Suh’s professionalism and getting his advice.
“Taking care of your body — I mean, the guy was a genius at that,” Godchaux said. “Eating the right things. Those things help a lot, especially when you’re in South Florida weather. Just preparing for film study. Picking up on tendencies on offensive linemen.”
Although the Dolphins didn’t consummate a trade with the Rams, they in effect swapped defensive linemen, picking up end Robert Quinn from L.A.
“A damn good pass rusher at that,” Godchaux said. “I watched him at the Rams a little bit. Didn’t really study his film a whole lot but I know he’s a damn good pass rusher.”