With yet another loss on the season the Miami Dolphins fell to 5-6, finding themselves on the outside looking in in terms of playoff seeding. After being unable to put away the Carolina Panthers late in the fourth quarter this past Sunday, there is plenty of blame being spread around. Some are blaming players such as Mike Wallace and Ryan Tannehill, while others are turning their heads towards the front office and the coaching staff. While it is fair to put them blame on the players, Jeff Ireland and the entire coaching staff, it is unfair to continue to put all the blame on a certain individual.
Over the course of the season there has been one player in particular who has been enduring a tremendous amount of criticism and that player is Mike Wallace. During this past offseason, Wallace was Miami’s prized free agent acquisition. The signing of Wallace not only gave the Dolphins another legitimate outside receiver, but also gave second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill a weapon that opened up the entire offense. It is hard to argue the fact that Wallace is one of the fastest guys in the league. His speed alone can transform an entire offense and force the defense to keep an extra eye out on him. Since coming to the Dolphins, Wallace has done just that. You can credit the emergence of Charles Clay and Brandon Gibson to Mike Wallace drawing more attention from the defense.
However, despite the fact that Wallace has had a tremendous impact on the passing game, many people are criticizing him for the type of season that he is having. Sure, he isn’t putting up 1,300 receiving yards like he did in Pittsburgh and he doesn’t have double digit touchdowns. The only thing that I am not happy about when it comes to Wallace is the contract he has and that isn’t even his fault. You can say he isn’t worth 60 million dollars, however, it was Ireland who gave Wallace that contract. Wallace didn’t cut himself a 60 million dollar check. It was given to him. So can we please stop using his contract against him?
Another thing people aren’t happy about is the fact that Wallace doesn’t go lay out or catch many balls in traffic. I think everyone was a bit misinformed about Mike Wallace. If anyone actually thought that someone who is barely 6 feet tall and under 200 pounds is going to go up and fight for a ball, you are very wrong. That isn’t the type of receiver Wallace is. He is a speedster. If you want someone who can go jump up for a ball, go out and sign a Calvin Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald or draft a big receiver, athletic receiver.
Yes, Wallace drops some balls. But when you look at it, Wallace doesn’t drop as many balls as people think. There is a lot to take into consideration when you look at the drops statistic. It is easy to say that the receiver couldn’t catch it, but you also have to realize that it isn’t just on him. The throw from the quarterback has a lot to do with it as well. You might say, well, Wallace dropped the pass with just 10 seconds left against the Panthers and we lost the game because of that. Really? That’s why they lost the game? How about the fact that the offense put up zero points in the second half? How about the fact that the defense let the Panthers constantly convert third and fourth downs? And even if Wallace caught the ball, he was short of the end zone. The Dolphins had no timeouts and the game would have been over. It isn’t just that one play. Tannehill underthrows and overthrows Wallace on a consistent basis. Wallace just hasn’t really had the opportunity to catch many deep balls. Other than the fact that they rarely send him deep, when the ball is coming to him it is fair from accurate.
Sure, you can look at Wallace and be a bit disappointed by his production. But to say week in and week out that he’s one of the problems is completely idiotic. Wallace is the furthest thing from the problem in Miami. Please guys, let’s stop putting all of this blame on Wallace. It’s unfair and quite ridiculous in my opinion.
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