Well, it has happened. Cameron Wake defied the odds and made the pro bowl. And well deserved, too. He was by far the best part of the season for me. Cameron Wake is the best pass rusher in the NFL. And in the discussion for best defensive player in the NFL.
So it is time to revisit the original BOLD PREDICTION thread. That thread no longer accepts comments, but it can be found under the "most popular" tab.
It seems unthinkable now, but last year at this time most people (not necessarily on Phinsider, just in general) thought Wake was a limited, one-dimensional player, if they thought about him at all. That wouldn't be a problem if one of those people wasn't our head coach. But alas, 'twas. Sparano criminally underused Wake last year, not only preferring the god-awful Joey Porter, but even giving Charlie Anderson as many snaps as Wake.
Sparano's excuses were lame (and clearly untrue) even then, and now they just look absurd. Of all the problems people have with Sparano's choices in strategy or personnel or whatever, I feel that his inability or refusal to recognize Wake's ability is possibly the most damning indictment of his coaching skill.
More after the jump.
I am not particularly a Sparano hater (I feel we could easily have a worse coach as well as better), but his refusal to play Wake last year frustrated the bejesus out of me. And please, don't repeat his press confernce hogwash as fact. It was nonsense and he knew it. Or if he didn't, maybe we couldn't have worse). Wake was quite good against the run last year (a billion times better than Porter) which was the main excuse given, and he also did fine in coverage in very limited opportunities. (See the above thread for more on that.)There is no legitimate excuse for not playing Wake last year and, frankly, it is troubling that this regime did not do so. It has to make you wonder who else we have ignored that deserves more playing time.
But back to Wake... he has been a monster. So much so that teams routinely choose to test our secondary rather than try and contain him. He has drawn more holding calls than any Dolphin I have ever seen (and deserved many, many more - there were games when he was held on almost every passing play. Some games he didn't get the call until he was literally past the defender and being dragged backwards.) He was routinely double-teamed and forced teams to alter their game plans.
I think the statistics from the first third are really interesting now with the benefit of hindsight, particularly the Pro Football Focus stuff and the SACKseer stuff from Football Outsiders. I will be analyzing pass rushers in the draft with a close eye to that formula from now on.
At any rate, congratulations Mr. Wake! Well, well earned.