“Just catch it.”
Those are the thoughts that were going through Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake in the second quarter of the team’s Saturday night, 34-13 win over the New York Jets. The Jets had the ball at the Miami 27-yard line and were looking to extend their 7-6 lead just after Miami had scored a touchdown, but missed the extra point. Jets quarterback Bryce Petty dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-10, targeting wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He never saw Wake, who dropped out of his normal pass rush responsibilities and into coverage. Petty threw the ball straight to Wake.
And, just like that, Wake, who already had a sack and forced fumble in the game, had his first career interception. His first professional interception, including his time in the Canadian Football league.
In fact, it was Cameron Wake’s first ever interception. Wake’s last interception came as a linebacker at Penn State in 2002 - when he was known as Derek Wake.
“Funny enough, I work on catching more than, probably, most defensive ends,” Wake said, laughing, when describing his interception. “You never know when that opportunity is going to be there. That was kind of one of the mantras of this week, ‘You don’t which play it’s going to be - just make it when it comes.’ Whether it is a blocked punt, an interception, sacks, you never know when it is going to be, you just need to make the most of that opportunity.”
“I think when you have a player of his ability, that has played for as long as he has, he has a knack for timing,” head coach Adam Gase said of Wake after the game. “He knows when there are those moments in a game, where, if something could swing a game, he seems to find that moment and make it happen. I know, with him intercepting, he is dropping in a zone blitz. Sometimes, when you are a quarterback, you just do not see that guy, you do not anticipate that guy to be in that spot, and a lot of times, the defensive end just has to catch it.”
Gase then turned to the warm-ups before the game, adding, “It was interesting. I was watching him catch ball in warms-ups, thinking to myself, ‘Why is he catching balls in warm ups?’ Then, all of the sudden, I look up, and he picks one off. Maybe he knew something I didn’t.”
Not everything was perfect on the interception, however. Wake laughed when it was pointed out that defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, the 330-pound second-year player, has a longer interception return than Wake. Phillips picked off a pass in the team’s first meeting with the Jets this year, returning the ball 17 yards, compared to Wake’s 12-yard return. “I might hear about that for a couple of weeks,” he joked.