Barry Jackson

Dolphins’ Wake feeling ‘terrible’; Dolphins address contract extensions

Miami Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks (3) as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016.
Miami Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks (3) as the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY on Sat., Dec. 24, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

A bunch of Friday Dolphins notes:

• The Dolphins believed limiting Cam Wake’s snaps would make him fresher.

So has that approach actually made him fresher?

Apparently not.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake talks to the media about his first interception of his career that came Saturday night, Dec. 17, 2017, in the Dolphins 34-13 defeat of the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Does he feel rested from his snaps being monitored?

“I feel terrible as everyone should feel by week 17,” he said.

“If anyone feels fresh, you’re not playing football. Feels like I was hit by a train.”

But Wake might feel even worse if the Dolphins hadn’t been cautious with his snap counts. Though he should have been starting since the start of the season - he has started since Week 6 - it seemed like the prudent approach to not play him too much.

Wake’s odd media session also included this:

So has he taken a moment to appreciate making the playoffs for the first time in his career? “No.”

Does he feel any joy at all?

“No,” he insisted Friday.

OK then.

• The Dolphins listed Byron Maxwell and Jelani Jenkins as doubtful for Sunday, but coordinator Vance Joseph has said they’re not playing.

Jay Ajayi was listed as questionable, but he was a full participant in practice and Adam Gase has said he will be fine. Spencer Paysinger, also listed as questionable, said he expects to play. Mario Williams is questionable.

Ryan Tannehill is out.

• Gase’s thoughts on two (previously) impending unrestricted free agents that Miami gave extensions to this week:

On tight end MarQueis Gray: “We’ve been working on some of our current guys who had the possibility of being up. We’re happy we got him to begin with. Over and over, he’s proven exactly what we thought he was. He’s done a great job.”

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase talks about having a healthy team and the 34-31 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Dec. 24, 2106.

On offensive tackle Sam Young: “Sam’s done a good job after being here before. Surprising he was still out there. Anytime we can keep the guys we can have currently in the building, that’s what we’re looking to do.”

• The idea of resting players against New England was never considered.

“I’ve never been a part of resting players in my career – 13-3 and 12-4 in Denver,” Gase said.

• Is Dolphins interest increasing with this playoff berth?

There are mixed signals.

Local TV ratings remain poor, by NFL standards.

Last Saturday’s Bills game drew a 13.3 local rating, equal to 13.3 percent of Miami-Fort Lauderdale homes with TV sets. That’s a very good Christmas eve rating for nearly every type of programming, but not good at all for a market’s NFL home team playing a critical game.

But here’s the flipside: Local attorney and Forbes contributor Darren Heitner notes Sunday’s game “is the most sought after ticket during the Dolphins 2016 schedule and one of the most expensive in years.

Within fifty hours of kick-off, the average price per ticket for the Patriots vs. Dolphins game was $453 and the get-in price sat at $193. The aforementioned average ticket price was 85% higher than the mean ticket price for all 2016 Dolphins home regular season games, according to ticket search engine TicketIQ.”

For more of Darren’s piece, please click here.

• Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, assessing Andrew Franks’ season: "Yes. You go back to when he first got here, it's really why he's won the job the last couple of years. I think he had a really, really strong training camp this past summer - very strong training camp - and very, very consistent from that area. I think when you look at our opportunities, just the way the games have unfolded this season, he hasn't had a lot of those opportunities. I know we've talked about that before in here, just about how the confidence level, things like that. That's never really changed or altered during the season. I watch him in practice. I watch what he does and what he's able to do.

“Unfortunately, we missed a couple there; but you look through the league, and I always go back to that, there's been ... Heck, two weeks ago there were more PATs missed in Week 15 than there were field goals. There are only five guys in the league right now that haven't missed a PAT. The field goal percentage again, last week, there were a bunch of blocks and a bunch of misses. Up north, this time of year, we're disappointed he missed the one but certainly comes back and drills a 55-yarder, keeps the game alive, and really was the biggest play of the game, in my opinion. So my confidence level with him overall hasn't changed.

“A couple of times he's missed field goals, it's been a tight game, so I think those kicks have gotten magnified a little bit; but again, my confidence level on him ... He certainly has leg strength and range. I think I heard something a couple of weeks ago about something about long field goals with him and heck, that's one of his strengths. His leg strength is one of his strengths. I was worried earlier in the year about his shorter kicks. As you remember, he missed a couple of those because he kind of relaxed. The ball came out a little flat and low. Again, overall I think the thing you have to remember with a young kicker, and you can look at any good kicker that's been through this league, earlier on in their careers, all of them, it's a learning curve. That's at every position and kicker is no different. Again, I've given you references but Justin Tucker, who is having a phenomenal year, his first year in the league, he was an undrafted rookie. He had some peaks and valleys. You look at Roberto Aguayo who was maybe the most decorated kicker ever drafted in the second round coming out, he's had peaks and valleys his rookie year. You can go through really every guy.

“So the kicker position is going to be just like a quarterback, just like a defensive end, just like a defensive back, there are going to be peaks and valleys at that. Unfortunately, for the kickers, for them, it gets magnified because bottom line, it is like a win-loss thing, you either make it or you miss it. For him, as a young guy in the league, I'm kind of happy with his progression. I want to see more consistency; but it was certainly nice for him to come back and make those two at the end."

• Gase, today on Branden Albert: “The way he’s really tried to help that group as a leader is something that’s really stood out to me. The way he plays through bumps and bruises. Breaks his hand and comes back in that game. The way he’s been there for Laremy Tunsil. Really stepped up in that room.”… Earl Mitchell is clearly ahead of Jordan Phillips at defensive tackle. Mitchell played 58 snaps against Buffalo and Phillips 29…. The Dolphins rank 22nd in yards on offense and 30th on defense. “We could average a ton of yards on offense if we wanted to,” Gase said. “The yards don’t mean anything.”

Please click here on Heat and UM nuggets, including encouraging UM recruiting news, discouraging news on Justise Winslow, an update on the state of UM hoops and the UM athletic program mulling a major change.

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