Ndamukong Suh

#FridayBag: A boy named Suh?

giardi-perry-fri-mailbag.jpg
NBC Sports Boston illustration

#FridayBag: A boy named Suh?

Each week, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi answer you Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or FridayBag as they call it. Got a question? Tweet at them using the hashtag #FridayBag. Now on to this week's edition: 

MG: Pete, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him so far but have just started to roll up my sleeves and get heavier into the draft. Mentioned him earlier and was also told he is a good touch passer. He’s a ways away, but if Brady keeps rolling on, there’s no rush.

MG: Jacob, you think yes, I think yes, and most of my Twitter timeline is in agreence as well. Is Belichick? Man, you have to think he’s right there with us that an upgrade at that position is needed. Roberts is a guess guy capable of a play here or there but not nearly consistent enough nor - in my opinion - talented enough to be in the middle of that defense. I think the other issue here is 54 himself. I don’t know how you can count on Dont’a Hightower to be there at the end. His body has been battered dating back to college. It’s what scared other teams off in free agency. Yet it’s hard to manage him because he’s clearly one of your best players. I’d love to see that whole group get power washed.

MG: If Bill thinks a deal is what’s best for the team, he’ll do it, last year be damned. Every year is different. He tells us that all the time. As for Suh, I hope not. I know folks in Miami said he was better behaved this year but the year prior he was a pain in the ass who played when he felt like it. Plus, from an interior defensive line standpoint, the Pats are ok. Malcom Brown and Lawrence Guy are nice players. Vincent Valentine will return next year. I’d worry more about the edge guys and the linebacker level.

MG: Let’s go case by case here, Joe. Belichick wanted to retain Hicks. Even called him right before Chicago scooped him up. But finances played a role as did - I suspect  the freedom Hicks was going to get with the Bears. Sheard did a terrific job in year one with the Pats. Year two started off poorly though to the player’s credit he rebounded after that benching for the San Fran game. I think that was a situation where the lack of an extension may have distracted the player, like it certainly did for Malcolm Butler this year. Finally, you’re lamenting Akeem Ayers? No. Just no.

As for Marsh and Harris, yep, those were two swings and misses though Harris was lauded for his professionalism. You don’t hit ‘em all out of the park but yes, there’s a greater need to get it right this offseason when you consider some of the depth issues they face.

PP: He does, Sugar Shane. Re-signing Solder, in my opinion, is the most important move the Patriots could make this offseason. Only finding the next quarterback comes close. Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater, Dion Lewis . . . they're all critical to the operation. But if the Patriots don't re-sign Solder, I'm not sure there is an answer to the void left behind at left tackle. We went over the other options in our Depth Chart series here, but none of them are all that encouraging. 

PP: None of the above, ML. He's left the NCAA, and he's in this year's draft. 

PP: Hey, Joe and William. I don't think the Patriots will be spending big money at corner in free agency this year. They have their No. 1 in Stephon Gilmore, and I believe they'll try to piece together the other spots with what they have in Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones. If they do go the free-agency route, I could see them going with an inexpensive outside-the-numbers option (maybe Vontae Davis) or a slot corner who won't break the bank. Callahan, who is a restricted free agent, would be a fascinating option in that regard. An undrafted rookie out of Rice in 2015, he dealt with an injury that forced him to miss more than a month, but he was one of the league's more effective slot corners when he was on the field, according to Pro Football Focus. The Patriots have shown in the past that they're not afraid to delve into the RFA market. As far as linebacker goes, this is another spot where spending big money doesn't make a ton of sense, in my opinion. Nigel Bradham, as Giardi has pointed out, would be a great fit as an athletic 'backer who can cover, but there will be competition for his services. Adding Navorro Bowman would allow Dont'a Hightower to kick down onto the edge, one would think. And Bowman is 29 with a long injury history so he probably won't demand huge dollars. Old friend Jon Bostic, who's only 26, could be a cost-effective option to play off the line as well. They'll have enough dough to spend on a couple of pieces, it's just a matter of figuring out which pieces.

PP: DQ! I think Curran would win the first 10 yards. He's explosive. Not sure his long speed is what it used to be, though. I'll give the edge to Brady in the 40-yard dash. Longer strides. 

PP: The Patriots have all kinds of respect for Landry's on-the-field ability. Not only is he fearless in the way he works out of the slot, but he provides special teams value, and defensive backs have referred to him as one of the toughest receivers in the league to bring down when he has the football in his hands. But because Landry is the most accomplished wideout on the market this offseason, his price tag is going to be through the roof. Belichick could try to find his next slot in the draft. There are a handful we'll touch on in our recevier installment of the Depth Chart series next week. Like you said, Matt, you never know. But I'd be very surprised if they made a play for Landry. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Dolphins' Wake promises pain for Patriots on Monday night

dolphins_cameron_wake_121017.jpg

Dolphins' Wake promises pain for Patriots on Monday night

Monday night, Cameron Wake will be trying to hurt Tom Brady. Pain – inflicting it, enduring it, the specter of it – is a football fact of life.

And no matter how hard the NFL tries to legislate out the danger of the game, it will always be inherent. Brady gets that better than Wake does. He’s been on the receiving end of it a lot longer than Wake’s been dishing it out. And while Brady’s gets to do his job with plenty of protections, he spends a lot more time prone and vulnerable than Wake does.

The Dolphins defensive end went deep last week talking about the nature of the game, the protections afforded, the risks players take and what he sees as the inconsistencies.

MORE:

Asked about the injury suffered by Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier last week, Wake said, “I’ve seen a lot of injuries so, unfortunately, that comes along with. This is my thing: I want to hurt everybody I play. I don’t want to injure anybody.

“I want you to be able to get up and go to the next play or feed your family and play next week but I want you to say ‘Man, Cameron Wake …’ ” Wake continued. “I don’t want you to be off the team or like not playing. I want you to obviously be physically defeated. I want to intimidate. I don’t want you to be harmed beyond tomorrow at all. It doesn’t always work that way.”

Continuing, Wake did a little math to make a very good point.

“We have 10 guys on IR or whatever? I’m sure every team has about that with 50 players on a team and then when you think about a 90-man roster … That’s a 20 percent chance every time you’re on the field, a 20 percent chance that whatever happens to you, you’re not going to play football this year.”

As appetizing as the NFL tries to make its product for the masses, the truth is that every single one of the players in the league has reconciled himself to the brutal, primitive nature of the game in which an opponent isn’t just defeated but beaten – literally.

Which means you will see a quarterback exhibit the fencing response as Tom Savage did Sunday, a linebacker unable to walk off the field because he can’t feel his legs as Shazier did last Monday or a well-liked tight end go barbaric on an opponent who made him mad as Rob Gronkowski did last Sunday.

Consumers, advertisers, social media and fans recoil. But violence is as much a part of the game as the football.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Suh says it's his job to make Brady lose his temper with his linemen, coaches

dolphins_ndamukong_suh_112617.jpg

Suh says it's his job to make Brady lose his temper with his linemen, coaches

FOXBORO -- There was a moment at Gillette Stadium two weeks ago when Tom Brady was on the turf after having taken another body blow from the Dolphins, and he was yapping back and forth with Miami receiver Kenny Stills. Soon thereafter, Brady was intercepted. 

You've never seen a sidelined player so pleased with himself. Stills bounced the length of the Dolphins bench area, grabbed his helmet and pointed to his head as if to indicate he was taking up real estate in Brady's noggin. 

The Dolphins have pulled no punches when it comes to their interactions with Brady. They want to get inside his head. They want to impact him emotionally in such a way that it effects his play. 

On Thursday, Ndamukong Suh re-established the fact that bothering Brady is one of Miami's objectives when the Patriots and Dolphins square off on Monday night. 

“I’d love to make him mad," Suh said. "My job is to piss him off and have him yelling at his offensive linemen for not blocking me, his coach and everybody on the sideline. That’s my job.”

The Patriots beat the Dolphins in Week 12, 35-17, but Brady was hit eight times. Suh and his teammates are hoping the hits have a cumulative effect.

“I think the last game we played them, we had some good hits on him and understood what they wanted to do," he said. "Personally, I can reach back to some times in Detroit where they actually pulled him from a game. [It was] a preseason game, so maybe it wasn’t that important, but it was important for us just to get a gauge to see where we were at. I’ve had some success against him.”

If Suh finds himself in Brady's personal space early next week, there should be genuine concern that he'll attempt to harm the Patriots quarterback in one way or another. That's been his modus operandi for years.

It seemed as though Suh tried to get out in front of that discussion when he spoke to Dolphins reporters and insisted that he wouldn't be lingering in the Patriots backfield looking for trouble. 

"I usually don’t like going to the ground," he said. "I like inflicting pain and then going about my business and getting ready for the next play. I usually try to not stay on the ground [and] hop up quick."