Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake is arguably the Miami Dolphins’ best-conditioned athlete. Wake, at 35, leads the Dolphins with six sacks in six games.
Yet even Wake is not a fan of the physical strain and drain of the NFL’s Thursday night games. This week marks Miami’s turn to play two games in five days, as the team travels to play the Baltimore Ravens (3-4) in prime time.
“That’s a very quick turnaround,” Wake said. “To be very honest, nobody is going to be ready the way they like to be. They’ll be as ready as you can be on Thursday night. I guess it’s a great money-maker maybe for the league? I don’t know. You guys [in the media] probably know more about that than I do.
“I think it’s a little much for the body. But again, the people who know that [are a small amount], and the people who enjoy it and benefit from it are 50 million times that.”
Wake echoes the sentiment of many NFL players throughout the league who are not happy with playing two games in such a short span. It’s a boon for the league in terms of money and exposure. But the overall health, recovery and quality of the product have been in question.
Miami (4-2) also must play three games in 15 days in this current stretch. The Dolphins already lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler on Sunday to cracked ribs, and they hope to get out of this next game against Baltimore without any additional, significant injuries.
Wake compared each NFL game to a car crash.
“People always ask me, people who don’t play, ask me, ‘How do you feel after a game?’ or ‘What’s it like?’” Wake said. “It’s hard to explain, but I always say, ‘If you’ve ever been in a car accident, that’s probably as close as you’re going to get.’
“To me, the hardest thing about playing in the NFL is not pass rushing, it’s not learning the playbook or training camp. It’s recovering from Sunday to next Sunday, that space in between, because once you play one game, you’re never 100 percent. It’s always how much closer can I get to 100 percent than the next guy, or as quickly as I can, to be able to play.”
At age 35, Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake appears to be en route to another Pro Bowl season.
In Sunday’s 31-28 win over the Jets, Wake recorded 2.5 sacks. He now has six sacks in six games this season.
During Monday’s press conference, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said Wake’s age is just a number.
“He’s a physical freak, just the way he takes care of his body, the way he eats, the way he sleeps,” Gase said. “Everything he does is all about this, and anything else is irrelevant to him. He sells out 100 percent. He’s put himself in position to do what he’s doing and that’s why age is really irrelevant to him right now.”
Wake has recorded a sack in five consecutive games. The ninth-year veteran can match his career streak of six with a sack against the Ravens on Thursday night.
Since 2009, Wake’s 87.5 career sacks are the most in the NFL. He’s second all-time in sacks by an undrafted player, trailing only Minnesota Vikings legend John Randle (137.5 in 219 games).