Did Mike Wallace Fit Into Miami Dolphins Offense?
By Drew Cathey
Last Sunday we saw the Dolphins win convincingly over the Cleveland Browns 23-10. This win happened despite the fact that the run game did not to show up with only 20 yards to show for themselves. In addition to that the Dolphin's leading reciever was Brian Hartline. A year ago this might have seemed quite alright, but after a year in free agency where the Dolphins went out and spent money on superstar reciever Mike Wallace you might have expected something different.
A week ago Wallace had only one reception for 15 yards after being targeted only 5 times throughout the game. His frustration showed after the game when there were stories about him being un-happy with his performance and how he was used in the offense. Can you really blame him after being such an explosive reciever in Pittsburgh?
One week doesn't make a season, but after one week Dolphin's fans were starting to wonder that despite Ryan Tannehill being a year older and more experienced if it was going to be the same deal as last year with the wide receivers being under utilized. After watching Sunday's game against the Colts it seemed that those questions were answered and answered early on.
Mike Wallace was targeted 11 times and had a total of 9 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. These were the numbers that the fans were expecting, but the interesting thing to look at was how these catches came about. For as long as Mike Wallace was in Pittsburgh fans knew him as a deep threat who caught more touchdowns over 25 yards then any other reciever in the NFL in the last few seasons. Mike Wallace still had a few catches for big yardage, but it wasn't from him blazing past defensive backs, but instead it was from him catching the ball in different positions on the field.
In week one against Cleveland Mike Wallace was primarily lined up as a flanker or split end and basically worked from there the whole game. Most of the time he was matched up on Joe Haden who although being young has come about as one of the stronger cornerbacks in the game. After a week of frustration it seemed that the Dolphin's coaching staff figured out how to use Wallace and get the ball in his hands.
Wallace came out in a bunch of different positions on Sunday against the Colts. He lined up in the slot multiple times as well as being lined up at his traditional spot of split end. This created matchup problems for the Colts who had to decide who they were going to have cover Wallace and how they were going to attempt to defend everyone else. We also saw Wallace get a rocket screen pass that went for his only touchdown of the day.
It seems as though by watching the Colts game that Mike Wallace isn't going to be his usual self in the Dolphin's offense. This might come as a surprise because everyone was so used to seeing him catch the deep pass in Pittsburgh for the past few seasons. This isn't to say that he still won't be hit deep a couple of times, but we might begin to see Wallace used in a lot of creative ways in Miami in which he is targeted a lot more so that he can have the ball in his hands and be the playmaker that everyone knows he can be.
It was exciting for the Dolphin's fans to see Wallace have a big day after having numerous years of struggling at the wide reciever position. It was pretty much expected after the Dolphins went out and spent a lot of money on him. We have now seen two weeks of him in the offense and have seen two seperate types of games from him. Moving forward it will be interesting to see how exactly he fits into the Dolphin's offensive scheme. It seems as though it's going to be a different type of Wallace then everyone was accustomed to seeing in Pittsburgh, but after two straight wins it might not bother anyone because winning finally seems to be the custom for the Dolphins in 2013.
Mike Wallace just has to decide if he likes his role with the Dolphin's offense.