After successful season, Dolphins' Cameron Wake expects more in 2017

DAVIE, Fla. -- What is next for Cameron Wake?

The 35-year-old capped off a whirlwind 2016 season by making the Pro Bowl and playing in his first career postseason game. That came after a 2015 season in which the Miami Dolphins defensive end suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.

It’s going to be hard to top Wake’s individual (11.5 sacks) and team success (10 wins) from last season, but the Dolphins' sack leader has bigger expectations for 2017.

“Hopefully that wasn’t the goal,” Wake said of last year. “That was just a stepping stone to obviously greater things. So most of the guys who are still here know what that journey is like. We know what it took. We know how hard to was every week scratching and clawing to win close games -- and the sacrifices it took day in and day out.

“If anything, we know what it took to get that far. Now, what do we got to do to go a step further to reach our ultimate goal?”

Wake said the key for the Dolphins this season will be to remain “hungry and thirsty” and do more. Several factors could impede Miami from reaching the playoffs for the second straight year, however.

For starters, the Dolphins now have a second-place schedule and the league's sixth-toughest strength-of-schedule. Last year, they took advantage of a last-place schedule. Miami also has nine games away from Hard Rock Stadium, including a “home” date in London. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is coming off an ACL and MCL sprain in his left knee, and for the first time in his career, there are durability concerns. However, he has been cleared this offseason without restrictions. All of these factors have contributed to several projected win totals in Las Vegas sportsbooks, which range from 7-to-7.5 victories.

Wake scoffed at these predictions.

“I couldn’t care less,” Wake said. “To me the outside world doesn’t matter if they’re praising you or condemning you. They mean nothing. The only people that have to make it happen are the guys that put on these Dolphins colors.”

Here are some other notes as the Dolphins wrapped up their three-day mandatory minicamp:

  • There were no bees on site for the final day of minicamp. On Wednesday, hundreds of bees briefly interrupted the end of practice and caused the team to move to the other side of the field.

  • Pro Bowl running back Jay Ajayi had a strong final practice, ripping off several nice runs in team drills. Ajayi was one of the team’s standout players in offseason practices, and has shown noticeable improvement catching the football out of the backfield.

  • Head coach Adam Gase said there are no major injury concerns after offseason practices. Gase said starting center Mike Pouncey, who hasn’t practiced due to a hip injury, is progressing very well, and the goal remains to have him ready for the regular season.