Oct 20, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. The Bills won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace Simply Doesn’t Get It


When the Miami Dolphins made Mike Wallace their highest paid player on the team I liked the move.  It was aggressive, it filled a major hole on the team, it made sense.  Wallace is a speed guy and his presence would open up the Dolphins offense.  It literally was perfect timing.

We all knew that Wallace had his problems and some felt the 60 million dollar contract was far from worth the goods that Jeff Ireland was buying.  He didn’t run full speed on every play.  He didn’t often make the tough catch.  When Brandon Marshall was here it was the same issue.  Marshall suffered from a lack of concentration due in part to having no relationship with his QB, HC, or even his OC.  Wallace was getting a ticket punched and it should have been enough to make him better.

That hasn’t been the case.

Some will point out and rightfully so that Wallace isn’t used the way he should be.  100% correct.  Wallace has world class speed but speed doesn’t have to be fly patterns down the side line.  In fact, a ten yard sprint and curl will pull your coverage 100% of the time.  They simply can’t take a risk of being beat long so they will overrun the route.  Miami hasn’t played to that weakness and Wallace isn’t selling his short routes.  Still others will point out that he doesn’t have a QB with a strong enough arm to get him the ball.  That too may have some truth to it.

Ryan Tannehill is a timing QB and the deep ball is his Achilles heal.  He struggles with putting the ball over Wallace and allowing him to run underneath it.  While Tannehill has been making those mistakes, Wallace is making cardinal sins.  He isn’t helping his young QB at all.

Wallace has said that he wants to be a Hall of Fame WR.  I’m hear to say that will never happen until he changes the way he plays the game.  No WR in the Hall of Fame has gotten to that stage of their career with the assistance of a QB.  WR’s make the job of a QB easy.  HOF WR’s catch the ball and they fight for the ball.  Wallace can do one with a little consistency but he does the other not at all.

It’s a recurring theme this year.  When Tannehill throws a ball to Wallace regardless of whether it is short, deep, slant, or fly, Wallace catches it only if the ball is directly to him.  If he has to fight for the ball he simply will not.  Yesterday Tannehill threw a short ball to a wide-open Wallace deep down the field and Wallace made no attempt to try and go higher than the defender.  It’s something he does on a game by game basis.  He does not use his frame, his muscle, or his body to fend off defenders in coverage.

Calvin Johnson will fight for his QB and take the shots to win the downfield battle on an under thrown ball.  A.J. Green will do the same.  As will Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, and Brandon Marshall.  Mike Wallace?  He won’t so much as change his route, stop his route, or jump for the ball.  He simply doesn’t get it.

Spoiled in Pittsburgh perhaps?  The Steelers used him almost always downfield and with Ben Roethlisberger at the QB spot Wallace found it simply a foot race to the end zone.  Now he has to do a little more work in his new system and it appears that he would much rather complain about the touches than to make his QB believe that he want’s to be the go-to-guy.  Unfortunately, he is overshadowed by Brian Hartline and Rishard Mathews.  Why?  Because they give 100% effort on every pass thrown their way.  Wallace gives 100% when he knows he can catch it without effort.

Perhaps something will trigger in his head and the light will come on.  Maybe it won’t and two years from now he will be ousted from the Dolphins and simply be another in a long line of high dollar mistakes.  The saddest part in all of this is that Wallace does indeed have the talent to be top NFL WR.  He has the speed, the hands, and with a little more work the route running ability.  He lacks the mental ability to take his game into his own hands and make himself great.

Ryan Tannehill may pass for 4,000 yards this season as he is projected just under.  It would be the first Miami QB since Dan Marino to do it and Mike Wallace is a small part of that number.

Wallace can’t be great and he won’t be until he stops waiting for someone else to deliver his stats for him.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Mike Wallace

  • Chris

    I feel the same way about your articles and their grammar, punctuation, typos, incomplete sentences, etc…You can make astounding points from time to time, but weeding through the mistakes makes it harder to enjoy them. Proof reading would go a long way.

    • Pentax Shooter

      Welcome to the Internet, we hope you enjoy your stay.

      Seriously, just consider most of these kinds of articles as long blog posts or Tweets or whatever. As long as the author gets his point across effectively, its fine…

      • Chris

        I know, I know…guess I’m just an old fashioned sucker for standards in writing.

  • J holobinko

    If tannehill doesn’t have the arm then why sign Wallace as your deep threat, if tannehill isn’t ur guy then go and get someone that is! U need a qb that can throw the deep ball in the nfl these days! Just ask a kc fan what they now know about Trent dilfer clone, Alex smith!

    • Pentax Shooter

      Tannehill has the arm, he and Wallace don’t have their timing down yet. Wallace has dropped a lot of balls. He dropped a bunch last year, too. Tannehill spent half his college career as a WR, so he’s still evolving. Perhaps next year they’ll be on the same page.

  • Gary Lowman

    Until we get coaches that coach and A QB that can throw accurately beyond 10 yards he will not do well…

  • Drew

    If you think RT is missing him deep because of a lack of arm strength then you just can’t be helped. Tannehill’s issue is accuracy, not arm strength.

  • charlie

    This article is a bit unfair. First and foremost, Tannehill has a cannon. His deep ball accuracy or judgement is off. It is not his arm strength. 2nd, Mike Wallace was overhyped in a weak year for WR free agency. He is not an alpha receiver. Comparing him to Calvin Johnson is just silly Calvin Johnson has the big body and vertical to fight for the ball. Mike Wallace is a small frame WR. He’s a burner. That is his gift to football. And no WR can get the call to stretch the field every pass play. These guys are still humans. Endurance will fade if you are asked to do suicides for the whole game. They should mix it up with him a bit. Set him in the slot. Put him on the left side. Tannehill throws better to the left when he’s in the pocket in the first place. His blocking on run plays pisses me off and the terrible execution of screen plays when they are called. But this article should be about the obvious mistake in signing him to 60 mil not Mike Wallace not doing well what he has never done well. On the underthrown ball yesterday he had 3 yrds on the DB the ball was underthrown 3 yrds. You really expect him to stop on a dime and then make a vertical over the DB who had better position on the ball. C’mon man. Mike Wallace needs to be utilized better and if Keller were here I can see a lot more production on offense but Tannehill needs to work on his deep ball real bad. I haven’t seen him throw a ball on the money to Wallace pretty much the whole year. There has been some balls he shoulda caught but still shoulda been thrown better. Wallace isn’t a go up and get type guy. This was known before he was signed. People shouldn’t expect that out of him now. Tannehill needs to throw a better deep ball for this to work

    • Chris

      I agree with you for the most part, but I also think for $60m he could try attacking the football a little harder as well. Also, Miami’s screen game is atrocious.

  • Guest

    Spell check man. You want to be a writer online, try spell checking because within the first few sentences it’s “Achilles heel” and “I’m hear to say” neither of which has a a in it in this context. As for your points, they are somewhat flawed because while he has dropped some key passes, Tannehill hasn’t shown himself to be anything more than a decent passer with better than average skills. Sherman is a joke as a OC and needs to be removed. You can clearly see this in his predictable play calling. Who runs the same play twice in a row trapped inside your own 3 when the first time produced negative yards?

  • Darthjaye

    Spell check man. You want to be a writer online, try spell checking
    because within the first few sentences it’s “Achilles heel” and “I’m
    hear to say” neither of which has an a in it in this context. As for
    your points, they are somewhat flawed because while he has dropped some
    key passes, Tannehill hasn’t shown himself to be anything more than a
    decent passer with better than average skills. Sherman is a joke as a
    OC and needs to be removed. You can clearly see this in his
    predictable play calling. Who runs the same play twice in a row trapped
    inside your own 3 when the first time produced negative yards?

  • tpl

    I’d play Matthews as the #1 WR and play wallace in the slot