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Suh's talent, impact still respected by Rams

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Buccaneers DT Ndamukong Suh told reporters this week he has "no clue" what to expect regarding the reception he will receive from Rams fans when he returns to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday.

What he can count on, though, is enduring respect from his former L.A. teammates and coaches.

"He's a great player. He's a pro and he knows what he's doing," Rams QB Jared Goff said. "I'm sure he'll be wanting to get after us as I expect he would. He's a friend of mine and I wish him the best and It will be fun to compete against him."

The Los Angeles Rams return to the Coliseum this Sunday to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Suh signed with Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent in March following the expiration of his one-year deal with Los Angeles. As a Ram, he posted 59 total tackles, 19 QB hits and 4.5 sacks while starting in all 16 regular season games and three postseason games. As a Buccaneer, he replaced another All-Pro defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy, who was cut by the Buccaneers after nine seasons.

Much like how Los Angeles utilized him in his lone season with the team, the Buccaneers are lining the former Nebraska standout up at multiple positions along the defensive line.

"Big, physical guy," said Rams second-year center Brian Allen, who went up against Suh in practice as a rookie in 2018. "Someone who's been one of the best defensive tackles for the last decade, someone who I grew up watching, so I think it will be pretty special to get an opportunity to play him, being who he is, having him as a teammate last year. As far as this season, it will be my biggest test, this game, so I'm excited for that."

Since entering the league as the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, Suh has earned five Pro Bowl nods, three First-Team All-Pro selections, two Second-Team All-Pro selections. He won the NFL's AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and was named to the league's All-Rookie Team in his first season after posting 66 total tackles and 10 sacks.

While his numbers through the first three games don't quite mirror the production that garnered those accolades early in his career or through the first three weeks of the 2018 season – five total tackles, one QB hit, no sacks through his first three games with the Bucs vs. eight total tackles, four QB hits, one sack through his first three games with the Rams – he's still one of the most recognizable talents in the league in the eyes of Rams head coach Sean McVay.

"He's made a lot of plays," McVay said. "You see the versatility that we felt so good about having with him last year being able to move all over. He's a great player that we've got to be able to handle."

Whether he's playing at home or on the road, Suh said his focus has never been on how we will be received by fans on either side.

At the end of the day, it's just another road game, but he's still excited for it.

"I actually enjoy going on the road and playing on the road, so I look forward to it," Suh said.

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