Cameron Wake’s comeback from last year’s torn Achilles is coming along fine, but he’s not going to be a starter this year.
That’s not a reflection of the long-term pass-rusher’s ability, but the fact the Dolphins want to maximize it.
Via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said he planned to have veteran Jason Jones start at end in their base defense, allowing Wake to concentrate his efforts on passing downs.
Wake has started the past 54 regular-season games he’s played for the Dolphins, but that streak apparently ends this week against the Seahawks.
“In our first- and second-down package, which is obviously more run and mixed play-action pass, Jason Jones will be the starting end along with Mario Williams,” Joseph said. “Cam will be used some on first and second down but mostly in pass-rush situations.”
That’s a reasonable expectation for the 34-year-old Wake, but Joseph was the first to say it out loud. But he was also careful to add that it wasn’t their way of saying Wake wasn’t capable.
“I think if we chose to, he could be a starter on every down,” Joseph said. “But I think, just keeping him healthy and allowing him to be a dominant pass rusher — taking some downs off of him — makes us better and allows him to be fresher for 16 weeks. . . . So Cameron, not playing a lot of first- and second-down reps, when the game is on the line, he can finish it for us.”
The Dolphins extended Wake’s contract this offseason, and by managing his snap counts now, hope to extend his shelf life as a dominant pass-rusher after he had 7.0 sacks in seven games before the injury last year.