Allen Park — How much fear does Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake strike into the hearts of opposing offensive coordinators?
Enough that despite his advanced playing age at 36 years old, and the fact he reportedly underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in and hasn’t practiced in two weeks, the Detroit Lions are still planning for him this Sunday.
“Really a high-level player,” Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “He’s made a ton of plays in his career, made a lot of plays this year when he’s been out there. Any time a guy like him is on the field, that’s going to make a big difference for a defense.
"He’s a good player, he’s a respected player, he’s a high-energy, high-effort player. Any time he’s on the field, I would think any defense in this league would get better having a guy like that on the field. So, we’re sort of anticipating him being up and ready to roll and making sure we’re prepared.”
Wake’s path to success is unique. After failing to initially stick with an NFL team after going undrafted out of Penn State in 2005, he headed north and terrorized quarterbacks in the CFL for two seasons, leading the league in sacks both years.
That proved to be his ticket back to the U.S., where’s he’s been a disruptive force for the Dolphins ever since.
In his nine seasons with the Dolphins, Wake has averaged more than 10 sacks per year. Because of the knee injury, he’s been limited to four games this season.
He has just one sack, but still remains tied with Robert Quinn for the team lead in quarterback pressures, with 14.
Without Wake, the Dolphins struggle to disrupt the pocket. The team ranks 29th in pressure rate and 26th in sacks. Meanwhile, the Lions rank in the top half of the league in preventing pressure, while quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked only nine times in five games, a year after getting dropped behind the line a career-high 47 times.