Makes sense that he might have been tempted to act out in frustration, however, based on previous actions that required the NFL’s attention during Suh’s days with Detroit.
Add to that Miami’s inability to stop the run in the opening game. Signing Suh to the richest contract ever paid an NFL defensive player was supposed to stop that slop, or at least begin to clean it up.
The Redskins, who ranked 19th in rushing last year, rolled up 161 yards in a 17-10 loss to the Dolphins. That helped to keep the outcome in doubt until the closing minutes, and it represented no improvement over Miami’s average of 121 rushing yards allowed per game last season, before Suh arrived.
Why, I’m betting that you were pretty frustrated, too, watching Morris, the fantastic Florida Atlantic product, burst through gaping holes in the Miami defensive line. He had 82 yards by halftime, more than the Dolphins rushed for in the entire game.
Whatever bowl of chips or TV remote a Dolphins fan might throw across the room in the privacy of his own home, however, is of no particular consequence.
What Suh does every Sunday afternoon is the focus of a dozen network camera angles, including some isolated directly on him. It’s a tough spot to be in, sometimes the hero, sometimes the villain, but never just an extra in the cast.
Hockey has guys like this, enforcers, and they spend a fair amount of time in the penalty box. It’s part of the game.
With the NFL, fines are the consequence for most dirty deeds — and suspensions for the worst of them. Deliberate attempts to injure an opponent outside the violent and entirely legal norms are not supposed to be part of the game, and it’s particularly troublesome when one of a team’s best players is involved.
That is the reputation Suh has earned and it’s not going to change, even if he begins to change himself.
So we’ll probably do this dance at various points all season, trying to read the big man’s mind and trying to match those guesses with his actions. That’s what you get with Suh.
That’s why fans of the team for which he plays defend him and everyone else calls him a bum. Miami is Suh’s team now, which makes him Miami’s man.
When he stumbles into or onto a fallen opponent at the end of a play, fans in South Florida will be prone to dismiss it as a clumsy accident by a large human being. On the other hand, when he drives through blockers to drop a ballcarrier for a loss, fans in South Florida will just as quickly conclude that Suh is utilizing the balance and world-class athleticism of a man half his size.
Can’t really have it both ways, and that’s the challenge.
This time the league concluded rather swiftly, and correctly, that no action should be taken against Suh for the events, real or imagined, in Sunday’s game. There just wasn’t enough to see that can’t be seen on dozens of other plays involving hundreds of other players.
It’s an uneasy feeling, though, and one that never really passes. Suh is a sensational talent and a thoughtful interview. On the field is where he sometimes slips into a different kind of character, and a dozen camera angles will always look to find that character’s flaws.
Good, very good, that he’s on the team. Bad that he’s on the NFL’s list.