Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cameron Wake named AFC Defensive Player of the Month

After being held (pun intended) sackless over the team's first three games, Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake has finally started to make a big impact on the stat sheet, and that hasn't gone unnoticed.

Wake was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month for October, having notched a sack in each of the Dolphins' three games during the month—all victories.

Wake, who first broke out of his slump on Sept. 30 at Arizona with 4.5 sacks, now has 7.5 sacks through seven games this season and is on pace to break his career high of 14 set in 2010.

Beyond his basic numbers, Wake is also a popular player in the football metrics world. Pro Football Focus ranks Wake as the best 4-3 defensive end in football this season, crediting him with 47 total pressures—nine more than anyone else in football. He's also earned positive grades in coverage and run support.

No one that has watched Wake all season would be surprised by these numbers. Even during his sackless streak from Weeks 1-3, Wake was constantly held by opposing linemen (many not called) and putting pressure on the quarterback.

It certainly seems like the Dolphins got a bargain when they signed the 30-year-old Wake to a contract extension this offseason with $17 million guaranteed. Ben Volin compared Wake's deal to that of other pass rushers at the time, and it's safe to say the Dolphins are getting more bang for their buck of anyone on that list.

Wake is in his fourth season with the Dolphins after initially signing with the team as a standout from the Canadian Football League in 2009. His 35.5 career sacks currently put him fifth all-time in franchise history, while his average of .67 sacks per game rank him slightly ahead of Dolphins all-time sack leader Jason Taylor (131).