From dropping passes to complications in securing space, the Miami Dolphins have been frustrated with the unknown regarding their wide receiving core in the 2012 training camp events.
And now with Chad Johnson’s release, someone needs to step up and increase the likelihood of a successful passing game for the 2012-13 season and beyond.
So who will be the guy?
In last night’s episode of Hard Knocks, Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland spoke upon his observations on the receiving core:
“We got fours, fives, and sixes,” GM Ireland stated. “But, we need ones, twos, and threes. We have to find out who will be (the threes, twos, and ones).”
The episode hinted at a potential number one in Roberto Wallace. Additionally, there was a moment where Assistant General Manager Brian Gain pulled his receiver aside to talk about why and how he needs to improve his game:
“What is separating you from being a NFL starter?,” Gain said. “You have height. You have weight. You got the speed, and you’ve got the athletic ability. What is it? That’s what you have to figure out.”
Rightfully so, Gain is correct. And what is separating him from being a starter is simply the inability to get open. Essentially, Wallace has all of the intangibles to a number one or two wide out would have.
At 6 feet 4 inches and 225 lbs., the 26-year-old wide out has the stature to be an elite receiver. Along with the physical appearance, Wallace is very versatile and quick, running 4.49 in the 40-yard dash in his NFL combine debut.
With that, in any NFL player’s attributes strengths and weaknesses will play a role. Right now, Wallace has the total package besides the number one quality you need to a successful receiver, establishing daylight.
The result to his past can lead to a positive direction if he can somehow figure out ways to get open, whether it is working on footwork or gaining more leverage in his legs.
In his two years with the Dolphins, the receiver has recorded a total of six receptions for 62 yards. Going into his third year with little offensive presence should not be shocking to any of us. With the emergence of elite receiver Brandon Marshall, undrafted Davone Bess, and deep threat Brian Hartline, Wallace has been overlooked and used in minor ways.
The combination of Chad Johnson gone and Brian Hartline’s absence should increase Wallace’s odds to transform into a go-to guy for Ryan Tannehill or Matt Moore.
His game will only translate if he utilizes determination. If Wallace seizes the opportunity in listening to Gain’s thoughtful words and making his inability to an ability, then the sky is the limit (as cliche as that sounds). If he doesn’t, then the receiver should begin to pack his bags and call it a career.