The means may be different — on the edge, up the middle, etc. — but defensive coordinators are looking for the same end result from an aggressive pass rusher: get that opposing quarterback backpedaling.
But trying to rank and contextualize who does this the best can be difficult, because, well, “pass rusher” encompasses a broad range of guys. You can line up a pass rusher anywhere — inside or out; he can be fast, tall, powerful or small, as long as he’s creating pressure.
In terms of edge rushers, the guys split out wide, ears pinned back, Cameron Wake is one of the best in the game, Gregg Rosenthal says. In a list of the league’s elite, the NFL.com writer ranks the Dolphins defensive end No. 3.
“Even when he doesn’t get a sack,” Rosenthal writes, “he’s changing the play.”
Wake had another outstanding year in 2012, finishing with 15 sacks and three forced fumbles. The team’s 2012 Defensive MVP has an impressive 43 sacks in just four NFL seasons.
A couple of other Dolphins have popped up in Rosenthal’s Around The League rankings this offseason, as well, including Ryan Tannehill and the starting interior defensive linemen, Randy Starks and Paul Soliai.
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