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Wake: Dolphins' run defense must 'put up or shut up'

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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The last time we saw the Miami Dolphins partake in a competitive football contest, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were running roughshod over them in the Pittsburgh Steelers' wild-card blowout win.

After sitting out Week 1 and waiting out Hurricana Irma in sunny Southern California, Cameron Wake and the Dolphins defense is ready to finally avenge their last performance.

When asked how veteran offseason additions Lawrence Timmons and William Hayes will affect Miami's run defense, Wake told the Miami Herald, "I think those guys will help, but also being able to key in on your responsibility over the last six weeks or 12 weeks or however long you want to consider it to be. Those are the things that are going to make you or break you. It's put up or shut up."

For all of Miami's pass-rushing prowess -- Wake, Ndamukong Suh and Andre Branch strike legitimate fear into the hearts and souls of quarterbacks on a weekly basis -- the Dolphins' run defense was suspect last season and was most notably exposed against Pittsburgh. Miami allowed the highest yards-per-carry average (4.8) and the third-most rushing yards (2,247) in the league.

But thanks to the acquisitions of Timmons and Hayes and the first-round selection of Missouri pass-rusher Charles Harris, Wake is confident that the Dolphins have found the right mix of veteran experience and skill in the front seven.

"I guess it would probably one of the most experienced groups I've ever played with," Wake said. "It's definitely up there as far as talent level. I'm in here going through my years ... they're all kind of one big mush. It's definitely up there, but I've been on some really talented teams and, obviously, we haven't had success in the past."

First up for Miami's run defense? Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last season and tallied 132 total yards against the Fins in their 2016 meeting. Redemption begins with a familiar foe.

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