Pass-rushers are pass-rushers, regardless of alignment.
But just as Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are making an adjustment from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in Indianapolis, Cameron Wake’s making his own switch.
Unlike his Colts counterparts, Wake’s switching from outside linebacker in a 3-4 to playing defensive end in the Dolphins’ 4-3.
He downplayed the move to Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post, saying he had his hand in the dirt about 60 percent of his snaps last year anyway.
“I was in that position where you’re coming off the edge, you’re facing a tackle a lot of the time,” Wake said. “So maybe (I’ve put on) a little more weight, worked on a little different technique, but overall it’s the same things.”
Wake played as an end in Canada, when he was the defensive player of the year in the CFL in 2007 and 2008.
“It’s a little different, game-wise, and with the players, but at the end of the day you have to get to the ball,” Wake said. “In the CFL that toss is way out (to the sideline), so you’ve got to get on your horse and go make the play, same as here.
“Maybe it’s a little difficult coming from an inside gap [at linebacker] versus setting the edge [at end], but I feel like I have the tools: I’m strong, powerful, quick, athletic.”
He’s also 12 pounds bigger, as he prepares for more hand-to-hand combat with 300-pound tackles this year. Wake’s developing in other ways as well. He went from 14 sacks in 2010 to 8.5 last year, but his coaches say he was a better all-around player.
“He [forced] 13 holding penalties, and those are bigger than sacks,” line coach Kacy Rodgers said. “When you take them back 10 yards, that’s just like a sack. Those are huge. And we had other people [benefit]; when Cam’s numbers went down, other people’s went up, because Cam was getting so much attention. That’s invaluable.”
As with Freeney and Mathis, there’s still going to be a period of adjustment, and the fate of their defenses depend on their best players making it.