Miami’s most special player collected 15 sacks last season, and that was third in the conference and fourth-most in the entire league. Wake has 43 sacks his first four season with Miami. That’s the most any player has ever collected in his first four seasons with the Dolphins; Trace Armstrong is a distant second with 32.
And if you want to compare Miami’s best against the NFL’s best, Wake is fourth among the league’s sack leaders since 2009, behind only Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware and Tamba Hali.
You know what those statistics say to Wake?
Time to work harder.
“I don’t sleep or rest and think, ‘Oh, 15 sacks so I’m going to hang out and sit in the shade,’ ” he says. “No, I have to work even harder and get 17 sacks. It’s a never-ending story for me.”
Wake is trying to write new chapters by becoming as much of a student of the game as his obsession allows.
Every offseason he has studied every snap he played from the season before. But the advent of iPads and the Dolphins embracing the technology have helped Wake go through all his plays and break them down instant by instant.
And in doing that, he now sees how the difference between a strip sack and a routine sack can be one misstep. The difference between a sack and forcing an incompletion is a millisecond and the swipe of a hand.
“I don’t look at the sacks and pat myself on the back,” Wake says. “I look at the missed sacks, the penalties, the missed tackles. I look at the things I didn’t do well so I can say, ‘Well, on that play I have to read something better or recognize a formation quicker or communicate better.’
“I don’t watch my sacks to think about how fast I beat somebody. I look at the times I didn’t get my hand on the quarterback.”
Wake estimates he was an instant from at least six more sacks last season and wants to close that gap this season.
“That’s not counting the Tuck Rule fumbles,” he adds.
So where does that all leave Wake?
Confident is a word that comes to mind.
“Every time I step on the field, I look across the way and I don’t care who’s over there, that person cannot block me,” he says. “I’m going to get my job done at all cost, I don’t care who you are. I don’t compare myself to the next super pass rusher or linebacker. I compare myself to myself, and I try to be better than I was last play, or last week, or last year.
“If I go out every game and every play and make it my job to do my best as Cameron Wake, success will fall into place.”