There has been little pass rush the last few weeks, and it shows.
Why Cam Wake Is Struggling Lately
After a blistering start to the 2014 season, Cameron Wake has fallen off the proverbial cliff since the Dolphins played the Denver Broncos. After PFF graded Wake negatively just once before Week 12, he’s earned negative grades in three of the last four weeks. More importantly, his film and eye test have been much worse than his play earlier in the season.
Wake was routinely in the correct position as a run defender until the entire defense fell apart a month ago. Opposing offenses would be stuck between a rock and a hard place because with Wake on one side and Olivier Vernon on the other, Miami was able to dominate in the trenches.
But as Wake has stopped being effective, the entire unit has followed suit.
After reviewing each snap of the previous four games, it’s impossible to say there is just one reason for Wake’s struggles. He was the victim of two cheap shots, once against the Broncos and the other coming in the New York Jets game, but Wake was being dominated by Broncos right tackle Louis Vasquez long before the lower-body injury occurred.
Although the thought of an injury to Wake certainly has some legs to it, Wake hasn’t appeared on the Dolphins’ official injury list, on which the NFL requires teams to disclose any type of injury. That means his regression cannot simply be an ailment keeping him from playing well.
An injury may not be present, but Wake does look tired and is lacking the same speed that we are used to seeing out of him. Compared to the earlier screenshots that illustrate how well Wake explodes when the ball is snapped, look at the next screenshot of Wake’s latest game against the New England Patriots.
Instead of being the first man in the backfield, Wake looks sluggish and average off the snap. He’s unable to get proper leverage because he can’t beat the tackle to the edge of the pocket, meaning he’s much easier to handle and contain. This has been consistent in the second half of the season and has gotten progressively worse.
Without his burst, Wake is not the technician he needs to be to beat NFL-caliber tackles. He relies on his immense physical gifts, which is fine when he is 100 percent because he’s a freak athlete among peers who are already considered freak athletes.
Whether he’s tired or is dealing with some nagging injuries, Wake hasn’t looked like the same player he usually is, and opposing offenses have taken advantage. Considering that Wake has been elite for so long, it’s borderline shocking to see him be blocked by a single player for the majority of snaps, but that’s the reality of who he has been the last month.
Lacking the burst and ability to translate his speed into power as well as he normally does, Wake has been pancaked numerous times every game.