Mike Wallace Is Not At Fault

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.

Thanks for Reading!

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Mike Wallace

  • Chris Logel

    Well Justen, I may be one of those idiots then. :) but seriously, Wallace was the reason we almost beat the Panthers, not why we lost, but prior to that game. Wallace has not been good. Too many drops, not finishing out his routes. You point to his size as a reason he doesn’t fight for the ball and I will show you Steve Smith. What I see too much is a lack of effort on his side, and that is not acceptable. That being said, I hope he has turned a corner after this week and Tannehill can learn to throw the deep ball to take advantage of him.

  • Steve Minger

    Justen, this may be asking too much of you to appreciate, but the complaints some of us have with Wallace are not based on the dimension he adds to the offense (i.e. his ability to stretch the field or the need for doubling him up), but from the fact that basically he has TERRIBLE hands. And I’d submit that for a receiver its kinda important to be able to catch the ball. Wallace seems to only catch the balls that hit him in the chest. Those short dig routes he’s made most of his living on this season are basically him driving off the defender and T-Hill drilling it into his chest where in Wallace-true fashion he hugs the ball in. He lacks the ability and confidence (perhaps because he knows he lacks the ability) to extend his arms and rely on his hands to actually catch the ball. Go back and look at his catches and his dropped passes and you will see yourself that he CAN’T catch with his hands. On his streak or fly routes he doesn’t go up for because it’s virtually impossible to jump high enough that he could catch the ball in his belly. He won’t even try to just catch it away from his body relying on just his hands.

    How do I know this, you might ask… well I played 9 years at receiver myself including 3 years after college and I can tell you: Wallace has terrible hands for a receiver. They just don’t work very well together. When he goes for the ball with his hands he often folds the ball which is what happens when one hand hits the ball before the other…they don’t work well together consistently. And he knows this and therefore always is looking for the breadbasket catch… even on his long routes.

    Otherwise… good for you for sticking up for our individual Dolphins!

  • FinFan68

    Wallace can catch (usually) when he has his palms up (basket catch) but if he needs to reach out or bring his hands up his drop ratio skyrockets. It is hard to fight for the ball underhanded. Wallace has had an impact but it could be much more. Tannehill needs to get better on the deep throws but it isn’t as bad as it is portrayed. Most of the deep pass incompletions would likely have been caught by guys like Johnson or Greene because they athletically go up to get the ball. Wallace is not that athletic so he waits on the ball to drop into his hands at waist level.

    As for that last bomb vs the Panthers…Tannehill was on the move, under duress, and got creamed as he released the ball. It still went 65+ yards in the air (on a moderately windy day) and was placed well enough to be caught. Wallace needed to drift under the throw. The DB was not close enough to really contest the ball or make a tackle in time. Wallace looked like he panicked and wildly tried to adjust to the ball and somehow did a pirouette which caused him to lose balance and sight of the ball. Even so he still got a hand on it and if he caught it and was down at the one the game would have been over. It would have been a great catch after doing that 360 but the reality is, without the 360 that was a routine uncontested TD catch on a last second game-winning drive.

    They are getting better and will become a decent threat. The coaches should not have waited so long to consistently go over the top. I expect Hartline to have a good game next week because of the willingness to throw deep to Wallace. They have to adjust or give up a potential long TD. The running game should benefit as well as long as they get rid of the cadence tells. (they started to last week)

  • zeek

    people need to realize that even if defenses are shadowing with a safety, its not really affecting our offense. its not like we attack downfield enough for it to matter. we throw underneath routes like its the hottest thing on the block. we never throw those deep passes where having a safety exclusively on one part of the field would actually matter. Tannehill doesnt seem to have the downfield accuracy. people can blame the play calling, but weve seen him disconect deep more often then not. watch this next game and count how many throws are three step drops and slants, outs, or stick routes.

  • ahrcshaw

    As a Panther fan I can attest that Wallace is not your problem. Go Panthers,.