Miami Dolphins 4th year player Cameron Wake has more experience, and more recognition than most 4th year guys. 2011 was a step backwards (stats-wise at least) but new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is sure to have big plans, Pro Bowl plans, for the 2012 NFL campaign of Wake.
Amazing to think that this young man went undrafted. 6’3″ 260 pounds, runs a 4.55/40 with a ton of athleticism. Wow. Wake went to the CFL. He came, he saw, he conquered. Wake played 2 seasons for the BC Lions winning Most Outstanding Defensive Player each season. That put him on numerous NFL radars. Mid-January 2009 the Dolphins landed Wake as what ‘Phins phans can surely consider a late Christmas gift.
2011 saw Wake’s numbers decrease across the board. Was his play declining? Not necessarily. 2009 he got acclimated, 2010 he dominated. Last season’s numbers are reminiscent of a stud-in-the-making that was now fully on the radar of NFL offensive coordinators as a guy you have to game-plan for. 1 out of every 4 QB pressures Miami got last season were from Cameron Wake. As the season wore on it was clear he was the only legit pass-rush threat, and offenses game-planned accordingly. The second half of 2011 saw a measly 3 sacks for this sack-machine. If Miami is going to regain their relevance then Coyle will need to implement a system that allows Wake to get freed up to do his thing.
The word is that Wake will move from outside linebacker to defensive line this season. That would mean hand-in-the-ground on every snap, as opposed to the standing stance he had as linebacker. That means no disguising if Wake is in LB-mode, or rushing the passer. Moving Wake to full-time pass-rusher could well pay big dividends for the ‘Phins. The defensive-line for Miami has a ton of potential. O-lines will not be able to overload or gang-up on Wake as he has legit talent and beef with him on the d-line. Wake’s motor, and skill-set should greatly benefit from the new Dolphins defense. Lining up as a d-lineman will allow Wake to utilize his speed and agility. Playing off his fellow d-lineman Wake will be very good in stunts, and twists. He is already excellent at using his large frame (with athleticism/agility) to give o-lineman different looks of attack every time. Wake has always been superb on 3rd downs, and I anticipate that will continue in 2012.
Sacks need to get back to elite level, but the 2010 Wake was also good at forcing fumbles. The 2011 Wake forced as many fumbles as you or I did. This is a Dolphins defense that has been miserable the past several years at forcing turnovers, and Wake has the skill-set to really improve that.
Wake went to Penn State so these have been difficult days, but he did land a massive NFL contact recently so it’s not all bad. 4 years, $49 million ($20 mill guaranteed). Dolphins love Wake on, and off the field. He was dominant in 2010 with 14 sacks (#3 in NFL). Coyle and new head coach Joe Philbin will surely see Wake’s return to dominance as a must for this team. Re-signing Paul Soliai on the d-line, plus new base defense (likely 4-3) are things that will play in Wake’s favor. Only strategy is needed to return Cameron Wake to dominance as he provides the skill-set (and motor) to get back to being a beast.
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