Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has been practicing throughout the summer, working to come back from a 2015 Achilles tear that ended his season just seven games into the campaign. The team has been extremely deliberate in how they are using the Pro Bowl pass rusher, and he has yet to appear in a preseason game. That could end on Thursday as the Dolphins face the Atlanta Falcons in Orlando, but it is not 100 percent yet.
“What we are going to do is he’s going to make sure he goes through warmups, he’s going to get ready to go and we’re just going to see how he feels before the game,” head coach Adam Gase explained earlier in the week. “It’s going to come down to really just him and myself, before the game saying, ‘Hey, we’re rolling or we’re not..’ I’m going to kind of put it on him just because he knows how he feels and once he feels right then we’ll get him out there.”
“I’ve been playing since (training camp opened on) July 27th,” Wake added when asked if he was getting antsy to play this preseason. “This is not really a new thing for me. I’ve been down this road a few times. I think (that) more (is) made of it than it really is, actually. It’s kind of funny.”
Will Wake be ready to go tonight? “We’ll see what happens Thursday,” Wake said earlier in the week, echoing his head coach’s comments. “It’ll be a game-time decision and we’ll take it from there.”
The Dolphins defense can use the spark Wake should bring whenever he is able to get on the field.The defense has struggled in the first two preseason games, appearing to not be the fully attacking defense like they want to be, at least yet. Wake, who has an incredible first step and explodes off the line of scrimmage so quickly, it appears he is offsides at times, will increase the defense’s ability to attack.
“I want to see guys play to their potential – me included, if I play,” Wake explained of what needs to be seen from the first-team defensive line against the Falcons. “Going out there and just being the aggressive, fast, dominant front that we should be. I think anything less than that, to me, is not acceptable.”
But, does he trust his Achilles tendon to stand up to the pressure he puts on it?
“I’ll trust it when I need to trust it,” he explained. I’m not necessarily worried about it, to be honest.”
The Dolphins understand that Wake is a veteran and will be ready when the season starts, so they are not in a rush to throw him into a preseason game, risking injury in a contest that means nothing once the regular season starts. Does Wake, however, feel he needs the work a preseason game can provide?
“I always need work,” he stated. “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Then you need to retire.”
Wake is not ready to retire. Now, it’s just a matter of if he is ready to debut.