Boca Raton, Fla. — Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus played well in his first start of 2015 with seven tackles and a quarterback hit in the Lions’ overtime win over the Bears.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who was the offensive coordinator for Chicago last year, took notice of the young safety. And when Miami was looking for a safety in free agency this year, they targeted Abdul-Quddus, signing him to a three-year, $12.75 million deal with hopes that he will thrive with the Dolphins like he did during his time as a starter with the Lions.
“Unfortunately, I lost to him twice this year, so I saw him quite a bit,” Gase said Tuesday at the AFC coaches breakfast during the NFL annual meetings. “And he was just one of those guys, he’s so consistent. He’s always in the right spot, he’s a really good tackler.”
Abdul-Quddus spent the last two seasons in Detroit after the Saints waived him during the 2013 postseason. In 2014, he was a top special teams player and made four starts when James Ihedigbo was injured.
In 2015, Abdul-Quddus made his first start against the Bears when Ihedigbo was hurt, but in the second half of the season, he started seven of eight games ahead of a healthy Ihedigbo. And in games where Abdul-Quddus started last season, the Lions went 7-1 with the loss to the Packers — the Hail Mary game — as the only blemish.
The Dolphins already have a top-tier safety in Reshad Jones, who had 135 tackles, two sacks and five interceptions last year. Now, they hope to have a menacing duo.
Abdul-Quddus, who exited the season finale against the Bears with a shoulder injury, has shown he has skills to play either safety position, and Gase praised his ability to play near the line of scrimmage, among other things.
“(When) he’s down in the box and if he’s unblocked, he’s going to make the play,” Gase said. “And he has good ball skills. When he’s had opportunities, he gets his hands on balls. He’s a guy that can cover the tight end, and to just have those options for us is valuable because now we have two guys that we feel like can have very good skillsets as far as being an all-around safety.”