Through the first two games of the NFL season, Miami Dolphins Cameron Wake was a shadow of himself. He lacked the upfield pass rush we had seen in the past. Of course he was being double and sometimes triple teamed but he didn’t seem like himself. He missed a few games with an injury and his return a few weeks ago was lukewarm.
Until last week.
Wake came out of nowhere and on the last play of the game he literally came out of nowhere to knock Andy Dalton in the endzone for a walk off safety…only the third in the NFL’s history. Wake was all over in that big win registering three sacks. He consistently put pressure on the QB and made blocking hell for the right tackle. Tonight he will try and show that last weeks “Wake-esque” performance was in fact a sign of things to come.
Tampa Bay’s offense is ranked 31st in the NFL…Miami is ranked 28th so don’t get too excited. They are 28th in passing offense and have surrendered 20 sacks on the season…a paltry 15 less than Miami. Wake will face a tough RT in Davon Joseph who many speculate to be a free agent target of Miami this off-season if in fact he does make it that far.
Joseph is quick off the snap and has handled himself well this season against formidable pass rushers but Wake could one of the best he faces this season…if Wake does in fact show last weeks attitude. Wake, while one of the top NFL QB rushers in the league, can get frustrated at times when he can’t close the pressure and reach the QB. He was supposed to get help from rookie Dion Jordan but thus far Jordan has been almost non-existent playing only on passing downs.
Wake is the lifeline of the defense and the team seems to bend according to his play. He has matured into a leader on the field and last week it was his pre-snap talk in the huddle that pushed the Dolphins defense to do more in overtime when they were worn down. The Dolphins will need to fend off a rushing attack that is surging of late.
The Buc’s will be without their bruising runner David Martin who was lost to an injury and may end up on IR but back-up Mike James had a career week last weekend against Seattle and will look to take advantage of the porous rushing defense of the Dolphins. Which makes Wakes attention to the outside more important.
If Cameron Wake can shut down the outside with his pass rush he can force the Buc’s into playing the run more and give the Dolphins an opportunity to shut down both phases of the Buc’s offense. Wake must ensure that he defense does not play down to the Tampa offense which has struggled most of the year. This is an 0-8 team with nothing to lose. Wake will have a big part in making sure that “lose” is actually what happens to Tampa tonight.