New Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was introduced to the Tampa Bay media on Friday afternoon after passing his physical at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place. Here are five takeaways from Suh’s first press conference in Tampa Bay.
1. Bowles Sealed The Deal
Suh made it clear that the deciding factor in him signing with Tampa Bay was the opportunity to play for the Bucs’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Suh said he’s known Bowles for years and had an appreciation for his attacking style of defense, which suits his personality and playing style perfectly.
Suh will have more of an opportunity to play the three-technique defensive tackle spot in Tampa Bay’s 3-4 Under defensive front, as All-Pro Aaron Donald primarily played the three-tech spot in Los Angeles last year in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 Under scheme, which is similar to Bowles’ defense. At the same time, Suh said he played all over the defensive line last year with the Rams, playing nose tackle, the six-tech defensive end position or the three-technique spot, and likes the ability to move around. He’ll do that this year in Tampa Bay too.
2. Suh’s Philosophy Revealed
In addition to favoring an attacking style of defense, Suh said his personal philosophy when playing defensive tackle is to play aggressive with an intent force to change the line of scrimmage. Suh said he learned that philosophy from former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, and has incorporated that style of play into his game during his nine years in the league, with stops in Detroit (2010-14), Miami (2015-17) and Los Angeles (2018) where he helped the Rams get to the Super Bowl before losing to the Patriots, 13-3.
At Nebraska, Suh was one of the most dominant players in college football, winning the Lombardi Award, the Outland Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Award, the AP Player of the Year and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a unanimous All-American. He nearly beat Texas in the Big 12 Championship by himself (see the video below.) When Suh entered the NFL as the second overall pick in 2010, his dominance continued as he won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
3. Suh Plans On Being Charitable In Tampa Bay
While former Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was lauded for his work in the community over his nine years in Tampa Bay, including being named the Bucs’ Man of the Year in 2018, Suh is also quite the charitable defensive lineman. In 2011, Suh was named the most charitable athlete by Business Insider, and said he plans on getting involved in the Tampa Bay community while he’s here.
4. Suh And Smith’s Stomping Incident Is In The Past
Suh was asked about any fallout or aftermath with new Bucs teammate Evan Smith, whom Suh stomped in 2011 when Suh was in Detroit and Smith was known as Evan Dietrich-Smith as the center of the Green Bay Packers. Suh said that the two had talked about it years ago and it’s ancient history. In fact, Suh said that the second player he spoke with upon his arrival at One Buccaneer Place was Smith.
Apparently the reason why Suh stomped Smith was because Smith was instructed to untie Suh’s shoes as many times as possible during the game, according to former Packers teammate Matt Brock. Apparently Smith successfully untied Suh’s laces three times before getting stomped. In his nine years in the league, Suh has been fined over $600,000 for personal fouls.
5. Suh Is Going To Wear No. 93
While he said he’s not coming to Tampa Bay to replace McCoy’s legacy and is looking to blaze his own trail with the Bucs, Suh said he does want to wear No. 93, which he has done since leaving Detroit years ago. The number Suh wore with the Lions, which was the team that drafted him second overall in 2010, was No. 90, and the Bucs’ newest defensive lineman noted that Jason Pierre-Paul wears No. 90, so he’ll be taking over No. 93.
That may not set too well with some McCoy fans, but the reality is that the Bucs have doled out the numbers 97 and 56 after Simeon Rice and Hardy Nickerson left the franchise, and both Rice and Nickerson accomplished more for the Bucs in terms of breaking team records and making the playoffs than McCoy did during his nine years in Tampa Bay. Both general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians made it clear that they preferred having Suh play defensive tackle for the Bucs this year rather than McCoy, so they certainly won’t care that Suh wants to wear No. 93.
The only jersey numbers that are off limits in Tampa Bay are No. 63 (Lee Roy Selmon), No. 55 (Derrick Brooks), No. 99 (Warren Sapp), No. 20 (Ronde Barber), No. 40 (Mike Alstott) and No. 47 (John Lynch). All are Bucs Ring of Honor inductees and that’s the way it should be.