The Buccaneers made a splash last week by signing veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who will step in to replace the recently released Gerald McCoy. On Friday morning, Suh took a physical with the team before meeting with members of the media for the first time as a Buc. Here, we have notes and highlights from his media session:
Addition of Todd Bowles helps the Bucs once again
Why would someone who played for a Super Bowl last season come to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007? Apparently for Suh, the biggest reason was new Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles:
Ndamukong Suh on the big appeal of coming to the Bucs: Todd Bowles.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) May 31, 2019
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Bowles being someone that guys want to play for. During free agency, the Bucs added Shaquil Barrett and Deone Bucannon, who can excel in Bowles’ defense. First-round pick Devin White was thrilled to be selected by the Bucs because he knows Bowles’ defense and knows he can shine in it. Existing roster members such as Vernon Hargreaves III will benefit by playing in an attack-mode defense as well.
So, hearing that Suh wanted to play in Bowles’ system is no surprise.
#Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh says the way that Todd Bowles looks at things and has an attack style defense that stood out to him.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 31, 2019
Suh prides himself on playing multiple positions, something that makes him a fit for Tampa Bay’s defense
The Tampa Bay coaching staff has talked at length about the variety of looks the defense will show in 2019. Being able to deliver a variety of looks requires versatility from personnel. The Bucs are working guys at different positions on defense, which is something Suh is plenty good with.
Ndamukong Suh says he prides himself on being able to play every position on the defensive line. Says he did so last year with the Rams.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) May 31, 2019
Suh’s ability to play every position on the defensive line makes him a fit in Tampa Bay. That’s part of the reason he makes more sense for the Buccaneer defense than Gerald McCoy did. Yes, money was the big reason for Tampa Bay parting ways with its longtime defensive tackle, but there were also questions about scheme fit with McCoy. He probably would have adapted fine, but the Bucs went out and got a guy in Suh that they know can play in this defense. Getting him for less money was also a plus, of course.
Speaking of McCoy, Suh doesn’t look at himself as a replacement
There was plenty of talk about the ties between Suh and McCoy when the Bucs made this move last week. Suh was selected No. 2 overall in 2010, while McCoy went right after him at No. 3. The two have been linked because of it, which has made for a unique situation in Tampa. Despite that, Suh isn’t looking at the situation as him taking McCoy’s place.
#Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh said he’s not taking Gerald McCoy’s spot. Said that he has a great relation with him, and last spoke to him at the Super Bowl. He also mentioned that he’s not here to replace him, just being his best player.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 31, 2019
Although a jersey number hasn’t been decided just yet, Suh hopes to wear No. 93
Adding to the awkwardness around the move was the idea of which jersey number Suh would have with the Bucs. Shortly after he signed with the team, the NFL’s official Twitter account released this graphic:
That led to questions about whether or not Suh would be taking the No. 93 that McCoy has worn since he was drafted in 2010. Arguments about the Ring of Honor, legacies and respect have all been thrown around regarding the situation. There’s no official word yet, but Suh is still hoping to wear No. 93, which he wore in college at Nebraska and in the pros with Miami and Los Angeles.
A number hasn’t been decided for Ndamukong Suh yet but he said he’s hopeful to wear No. 93. He said he’s not here to replace Gerald McCoy. “I’m here to make my own path,” Suh said.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) May 31, 2019
Suh doesn’t let his reputation define him, wants to help the Tampa Bay community
A lot of the backlash surrounding Tampa Bay’s signing of Suh had to do with his reputation around the league as a “dirty player.” Suh has been through his share of issues with dirty plays, penalties and fines. Despite that, he doesn’t want people to judge him based on all of that.
#Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh said that you need to be able to take the time to know someone before you pass judgement on them, alluding to his prior reputation in the NFL.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 31, 2019
On top of that, Suh is planning on getting involved in the Tampa Bay community. Of course, he has big shoes to fill. McCoy was THE guy as far as work in the community went.
#Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh said he’s always been big with charity in the community, and he’s open to it here.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 31, 2019
There’s no bad blood between Suh and new teammate Evan Smith
One of the aforementioned dirty plays that Suh was involved in came on Thanksgiving Day in 2011, when he was a member of the Lions. After a play, he stomped on Evan Smith, who was then a member of the Green Bay Packers. He received a suspension and a fine from the NFL. Springing forward to 2019, the two are now teammates. Suh said Friday that there are no issues between the two.
#Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh said there was no aftermath with Evan Smith after the stomping incident. Says it’s in the past, there’s no issue at all, and Smith was the second person he saw in the building today.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) May 31, 2019
There you have it, Bucs fans. Suh has been officially introduced to the Tampa Bay media, and now it’s time for him to get to work. His first practice with the team will be Tuesday, June 4, when the Bucs get back on the field for mandatory minicamp.