The title of this article is nothing new. The Miami Dolphins need for Mike Wallace to be involved in the game plan has been discussed at length since his arrival. Most media pundits will tell you the same thing but very few of the locals who are asking those “Wallace/Tannehill” relationship questions will offer a solution. It’s like being book smart vs. street smart. Some have no clue as to what is reality on a football field.
When it comes to the Miami Dolphins and Mike Wallace the game plan needs to be far more simple than “See Mike Run”. A speed burner down the field is still a one trick pony. Albeit a very fast pony. The Dolphins opted to throw to Wallace only a handful of times and in reality none of them were really to his best ability.
Dismissing the two deep balls is easy. Wallace was knocked off his routes and the ball fell long. It happens and is neither an indictment on Tannehill or Wallace. Two other passes were out patterns. The Dolphins are missing the opportunity to exploit opposing corners.
Wallace is double covered every play. The corner has roll over coverage from the safety helping to take away the deep ball. The Dolphins however don’t need to use Wallace deep every time. Set it up. Make the defense guess as to what he is going to do. Make the bite on Mike Wallace’s speed and use it against them.
When a player has the speed and quickness Wallace does an opportunity for great gains is in play. The Dolphins need to use Wallace’s speed to get separation from the secondary. Instead of sending Wallace deep or on some 10 yard out pattern Mike Sherman should be putting Wallace about 20 yards downfield on a button hook pattern.
When lined up the CB is usually about 4 to 5 yards off Wallace. He is too big and physical to bump him at the line. Wallace is at top speed about 5 to 10 yards into his route and the corner will commit immediately that that speed. If Wallace stops his route 20 yards off the line and immediately turns around. The corner’s natural momentum will carry him a few yards past Wallace leaving him wide open. A quick strike from Tannehill should be on target and without coverage in front of the Wallace.
Movement of the TE across the field will pull any lingering LB’s out of the throwing lane. Tannehill only needs to time the throw to meet Wallace’s turn. A 20 yard pick-up minimum.
On the next throw to Wallace you do the same. Only instead of a stop and turn, Wallace stutter steps turns his shoulders and then continues his route up-field. Burned already by the button-hook, the CB stops but Wallace keeps moving up-field leaving only a safety to cover him. At the time of the stutter step a Ryan Tannehill pump fake will draw the safety up towards Wallace and will then need to recover. It should leave Wallace open down the sideline deep.
Another option for Sherman is a crossing route. Wallace ran this several times in Pittsburgh. Hartline runs deep on the left while the TE takes coverage to the right from the LB’s. Brandon Gibson take a 10-15 yard route drawing LB and safety coverage. Wallace hits the 20 yard post and then slants inside the covering corner into an open middle field. Inside the CB’s coverage and far beneath the safety blanket. Wallace’s speed should kick into overdrive with the ball in hand for an easy touchdown or at least another 20 yards.
In game one OC Mike Sherman didn’t use Wallace outside of drawing coverage up-field. He needs to change that. Those are only some quick ideas on how to make that happen. There are a million more. The one lone fact is that the Dolphins will find more success offensively when Wallace is used more often in the game plan. Not just straight upfield.