We all heard that Cameron Wake was some hot shot Canadian footballer who got DMVP two years in a row and when the Phins won out in a small bidding war prior to the start of free agency another notch was hung on the Parcells/Ireland mantal. Training camp arrived and pads came on and Cameron Wake disappeared. Not so much as a ripple. He was last on the depth chart and it seemed that in public opinion he wouldn’t make the final 53 without the guaranteed portion of his contract helping him out. Whether it did or not, Cameron Wake landed on the 53 and on the inactive list for the first two games. Now, in the “Wake” of Sunday’s game, the question is, “Is this guy for real?”
Two weeks ago Wake was pulled off the inactive list as a back-up to Joey Porter. Then, this past weekend, Porter sat while Wake entered and the Dolphins switched to that 4-3 hybrid that made Jason Taylor a star. Wake responded. 6 tackles and no assists with 3 sacks added for good measure. O.k. maybe 2.5 but what’s a half sack anyways? The point is that Wake made himself known. Showing a combination of upfield moves and blistering speed off the edge, Wake was in the face of Trent Edwards the entire game. When he wasn’t knocking Edwards to the ground, he was knocking some poor tackle.
Wake has a long way to go to prove he belongs in the NFL and he will get a huge test next Monday when he faces a very solid NY Jets offensive line. With a rookie QB behind center, Wake will try and punish him hard and often but first he has to get there. Well, first he has to get on the field. Joey Porter’s injury is still a question mark and whether he is ready or not, the Dolphins will have to find a place on the field or at least on the active list for Wake. Wake will probably stay on that list most of the year now provided he continues to improve.
So is Wake the real thing? Time will tell that, but for now, an impressive game last Sunday has a lot of fans talking and talk is often a good thing.
In the case of Ronnie Brown, it should be noted that Ronnie Brown made his own case. As in a new contract that is. The Miami Dolphins are 1st in the league, as in the entire NFL in rushing offense. Much of that is on the legs of Ronnie Brown, the oft criticized number 2 overall pick 5 seasons ago. Brown is neither a pure finesse runner or a hard nosed brute but more a combination of the two with a lot more sprinkled in.
The Dolphins are waiting for two things. One, a new CBA. If the NFL and Union ratify a new CBA prior to the start of the 2010 league year, then Ronnie Brown is a free agent. If they don’t Brown is a Dolphins for one more season. Brown knows this, the Dolphins know this. The good news is that the Dolphins will also know how the negotiations progress with that new CBA.
The second thing the Dolphins are waiting for his Ronnie Brown’s health. Brown is going to get a top line contract for a RB but he has to stay healthy. He did last year but that does not erase a history of injury. The Dolphins are fortunate that they have Ricky Williams who can obviously be “the” guy in Miami if Brown goes down, but the team needs Brown more than he needs them…and the Dolphins probably know that.
Brown has gotten much better over the years and he gains momentum with each game and with each quarter…for that matter with each carry. When Brown is on his game, the Dolphins usually win. A solid receiver out of the back-field, Brown has single handedly taken over the Wild Cat. A statistic that other teams are aware of. The Dolphins have amassed almost 700 yards on the ground through the WC package. Brown and everyone else included. The rest of the NFL? For those teams that have tried it…just over 700…COMBINED.
Brown has become a fantasy football stud as well. Rushing, receiving, and a threat to throw as well. The Dolphins don’t care about his fantasy value but they do care about his production value. As a runner, Brown has improved his field of vision and no longer waits for the hole to open but instead quickly scans the line and hits the hole. He takes his game to them instead of waiting for the game to come to him. It’s the show of a true NFL pro-bowler.
Last year, Brown made his first appearance in Hawaii and this year he may make a second trip to the game by staying home. The Pro-Bowl of course is in Miami this year. Either way, Brown is on his way. He is currently 3rd in rushing yards for the league and currently 4th among RB’s in TD scored with 4. The 3 in front of him have 5.
The Dolphins need to start thinking their future through. There is no way that this regime will let Ronnie Brown leave the team free and clear and by mid-season they need to start looking at extending his contract, if he is healthy. Either way, Brown has become as much a part of the Miami Dolphins as Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas. He only lacks the longevity. Something that the Dolphins themselves can control a bit. Ronnie Brown isn’t playing like he is in a contract year, he is just playing.