The Miami Dolphins defensive line -- stocked with big-money veterans and top draft picks -- is supposed to be the heart of the defense and perhaps the best unit on the entire team. But it’s not.
And that’s a big disappointment to you.
And to Cameron Wake.
We know this because Wake was asked Friday if the defensive line, his defensive line, has lived up to expectations during the 2017 NFL season.
“Absolutely not,” Wake said without hesitation.
So in what way has the line failed to stack up?
“In every way,” Wake said. “I don’t feel like we’ve gotten enough pressure on the quarterback. I feel like we probably should have more [tackles for losses]. I feel like there’s probably more production from that unit and I don’t think you would ask anybody on that line if that’s been good enough from us and anyone would say yes.”
That’s a strong indictment from someone who is obviously a leader on that group and has the pulse of what the other players on the line are thinking. And Wake is right.
The Dolphins are supposed to be a pass-rushing machine but they’re 24th in the NFL in sacks per pass play and 20th in third-down efficiency. The team earlier this season was stopping the run effectively, ranking in the Top 10 in every run defense category, but now it’s 20th in rushing yards allowed per game and 26th in rushing yards per carry allowed.
All of that reflects on the defensive line and not in a good way.
“I may be a little biased, but I feel like we control a lot of what’s going on, because we can affect the running game and we can affect the passing game,” Wake said. “With the kind of guys we have in there, our expectations are probably higher than most, so we still have some work to do.
“My expectations are heavy. They’re big, really big. I expect every player on the field to be making game-changing plays every week, because we can. When you look at the names of the guys we have, I couldn’t see anybody expecting anything less. We’ve got to work.”
Wake admits he doesn’t have the solution for the problem. (Neither does anyone else, apparently). So he vows to attack the issue with one possible fix ...
“To me, there’s only one solution to fix the unknown problems and that’s harder work, more attention to detail and again, playing together,” Wake said. “That’s what we’ve been working on this past week. That’s something that, obviously, in the past couple of weeks we haven’t done as well as we should have. I think moving forward, if we’re going to be successful, that’s the only solution.”
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero