DAVIE, Fla. -- Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh knows what it's like to lead a No. 1 defense. Last year, he was the anchor in the middle of the Detroit Lions' defense that finished No. 1 in the NFL against the run and No. 2 in overall yards.
According to Suh, his new defense with the Miami Dolphins has the same potential.
"I don't have a problem saying this, but I think personally that we have more talent [in Miami] than we had in the No. 1 defense last year in Detroit," Suh said Wednesday in the Dolphins' locker room. "So, by that saying, you would say we should have the No. 1 defense this year. But that's not going to happen [because] we don't know what's going to happen until guys come together, understand what they're going to do and then you create a camaraderie."
Although Suh said the Lions had the No. 1 defense last season, the Seattle Seahawks actually led the NFL in that category.
Suh was quick to point out that his comparison to Detroit's defense in 2014 is only on paper. The Lions sustained their excellence with Suh over the course of a 16-game season. Meanwhile, Suh and the Dolphins this summer are still building chemistry and figuring out roles leading into their third preseason game Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Dolphins have a long way to go, but there are promising signs. Miami's first-team defense hasn't allowed a point this preseason when all starters are on the field.
Suh, who signed a $114 million contract with Miami this offseason, also is making an impact stuffing the run, pushing the pocket on passing plays and constantly commanding double teams. Suh has allowed other defenders such as Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake, linebacker Jelani Jenkins, safety Reshad Jones and others to run free and make plays.
"One of the reasons why I came here is because this team, especially this defense, has great, great talent," Suh explained. "Now that we put this together, we don't play on paper. We don't get to go against Atlanta or the Washington Redskins in our first [regular-season] game and say, 'Here, this is our paper. This is our talent [and] this is your talent. We win because on paper we look a little bit better than you.'
"But to me, at the end of the day, when you go out there and you play and you understand what you gotta get done, that's where you create a team. You create a deadly defense."