Cameron Wake helps lead Dolphins' defensive
Davie, Fla. (AP)
Each day after practice, Miami's Cameron Wake leads a small group of defensive linemen in sprints across the width of the field. A former personal trainer with one of the most sculpted physiques in the NFL, Wake clearly doesn't need the extra work.
Wake's become an NFL star since moving from the CFL in 2009, and he's got a new Dolphins' contract to prove it. But he's not satisfied.
''That's the trick,'' Wake said. ''See, you never have enough. It's always more. You can always be bigger, can always be faster, in better shape. I have a very high standard for myself. I'd like to think I'm one of the better-conditioned guys, but better is not good enough. It's just a mind-set I have. There's no end.''
Wake gained about 10 pounds since the end of last season to accommodate his move from outside linebacker to defensive end as the Dolphins switch from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 defense.
The move should be seamless for Wake, whose career took off when he racked up 39 sacks in two years while playing defensive end for the CFL's British Columbia Lions in 2007-08.
Even in Miami's 3-4, Wake got plenty of snaps as a defensive end in pass-rushing situations. Defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers estimated that the Dolphins (No. 27 in the AP Pro32) were in a four-man front almost 60 percent of the time in 2011.
''I definitely enjoy it with my hand on the ground, but over the past few seasons I've actually enjoyed playing in (a two-point stance),'' said the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Wake. ''Being able to have that versatility, being able to do whichever comes with the situation, I'm all for it. Having my hand down is like going back to my roots, more or less, but I want to be a jack of all trades.''
As a 3-4 outside linebacker, Wake collected 28 sacks in his first three seasons in Miami, including 14 in 2010 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl. Three of his sacks that season came in a 23-20 overtime road victory against eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay, whose offensive coordinator at the time was new Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.
Wake's sack total dropped to 8.5 last season but, according to the website FootballOutsiders.com, he drew a league-high 13 holding penalties. Nobody else in the league drew more than seven.
''I'm not a guy who pays much attention, but how many of those would have ended up being sacks?'' Wake said. ''You never see a ticker go by saying `Cameron Wake, 13 holding penalties,' but as a whole you look at the total product: the hits, the hurries, the sacks. I would venture to say I had a better year last year than the year before.''
The Dolphins obviously realize Wake's value as a pass-rushing force. He was scheduled to make $650,000 in the last year of the contract he signed after being lured from the CFL. Miami gave him a four-year extension in May reportedly worth $49 million, with $20 million guaranteed.
Wake said the new contract won't make him complacent, and he's proven that to his coaches.
''His work on the field has been exceptional,'' said new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. ''He's got a great motor, goes 100 miles per hour. He's been rewarded, but yet certainly he's not been as dominant a player as he was when he was in the Canadian league, even (though he) had that one exceptional year a couple years ago.
''I think he's determined to have his best season as an NFL player this year, and I'd expect nothing less than that.''
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