Prior to the first meeting between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets on September 23rd, Dolphins defensive end
Of course, Wake’s reputation precedes him thanks to his Pro Bowl season of two years ago when he racked up 14.0 sacks. So lots of attention in the form of double teams is nothing new to him.
“There’s only so much you can do so you kind of pick from the box of possibilities and adjust your game accordingly,” said Wake, who exploded for a career-high 4.5 sacks at Arizona the week after that first Jets game. “It’s not like I’m the only one who can get to the quarterback and (Jets offensive coordinator Tony) Sparano was here so he knows us and he knows better than anybody that you just can’t single me out.”
Jets head coach Rex Ryan spoke highly of Wake during his conference call Wednesday with the South Florida media, but he also touted the entire defensive line. Wake relies on the play of defensive tackles
Three of those four defensive linemen have been together for the better part of three years – Wake, Soliai and Starks, especially whenever Wake moved up from his outside linebacker position in the 3-4 to the line of scrimmage in the past. Now he’s up there on every snap and it’s gotten to the point where the non-verbal communication among all of them up front has reached near perfection.
“We’ve just bonded and jelled over the years and we kind of know what each other’s thinking so we don’t have to do much talking,” Starks said. “We now what each other’s going to do and for instance I know Cam on certain formations he’s going to get up the field and I know I need to go with a power move inside because I know he’s going to make the quarterback step up. I know if he’s getting chipped I know I’m going to have to cover his back just for the fact that he may lose the edge. You can’t talk too much on the field, they’ll pick up on it.”
Some of the best defensive line combinations over time have mastered the art of non-verbal communication, from Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis in Indianapolis to Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice in Tampa Bay. Wake believes he and Starks have developed a similar chemistry.
Starks won AFC Defensive Player of the Week three weeks ago following his performance at Cincinnati when he intercepted a pass and had a sack in Miami’s 17-13 win. He has garnered a lot of attention as well, but together he and Wake are doing more damage.
“There are literally times where Randy and I look at each other and without even saying anything we know exactly what’s about to go on,” Wake said. “We have calls and things that we say to each other that only deal with us. It’s not in the defense, it’s not something called, it’s just something we have going on and it’s a great feeling when we can see that at work. Then you throw in Paul, Jared and Olivier then what do you do as an offense? We feel like when we’re playing on all cylinders, no matter what they do or who they are, it’s going to be a long day.”