Back on May 21st, 2019, we were the first to break the news to you that the Buccaneers were signing Ndamukong Suh and how that he would be a great addition to the defensive line due to the release of Gerald McCoy and the injury to JPP. The deal, which was expected to be a 1-Year 9.5 Million dollar deal, and something the Bucs can get value for in a position that has been filled with more questions than answers.
Little was known before the start of the season about what we were to expect from the veteran lineman. Many were of a mind that he isn’t worth the amount of money we were paying him and that he had little production in Los Angeles last year. But the proof seems to be in the pudding. Last season the Rams rushing defense was ranked 10th in the league, and Aaron Donald’s sack count plummeted from 20.5 in 2018 to 11.0 in 2019. The Rams did change out defensive line coaches over the offseason so that could factor into Donald’s decline in sacks, but defensive guru Wade Phillips is still their coordinator. I think Suh was a bigger factor than he is given credit.
When it comes to Tampa’s defensive line and what it has produced this season as opposed to last season, I don’t even have to tell you that the difference is like night and day since Arians came to Tampa and unplugged the garbage that was here and plug in his program. I won’t give Suh that credit, I just can’t. But what I can do, is split the credit with him and Vita Vea for multiple things. Due to Vea and Suh being constantly double-teamed on passing plays, it has freed up linebacker Shaquil Barrett to just free the beast upon opposing quarterbacks, and to me, there is no doubt in my mind that Suh is a big part of the reason Barrett is threatening to take everyone’s record. I think Suh is perfect for Todd Bowles’ defense. Not only has the pass rush improved, but the run defense is well the best in the league. Again, it’s not all due to Suh, but as I said, Suh fits Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme perfectly!
Ndamukong Suh’s stats this year don’t jump out at you, or wow the pants off of anyone; however, he has four fumble recoveries, and two of those went for touchdowns. Those two fumble recoveries for touchdowns tie him for No.1 in the NFL and are third overall in Buccaneers’ franchise history. They are also a single-season Buccaneers franchise record that ties Ronde Barber. Suh has put his stamp on this football team.
The question that was asked when he was signed in May was: “will Suh become a staple for what is hoped to be a much more improved defense this season?” I think he has, and I say, “bring him back at all costs, but I wouldn’t back the Brinks truck up.” Tampa is a team on the rise, so Suh should want to stay with the Buccaneers. We have a lot of free agents coming up and a quarterback to pay handsomely, so we do have spend our money wisely. I would not want to be in our general manager’s shoes this offseason.