Football.com - everything football

True Bromance: Big Ben Praises Wallace

By



Ben Roethlisberger is going to miss WR Mike Wallace. Just ask him. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
Ben Roethlisberger is going to miss WR Mike Wallace. Just ask him. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

You can call Mike Wallace a lot of different things. Just don’t call the lightning-quick wide receiver one-dimensional.

Especially around former teammate Ben Roethlisberger.

In response to those who may feel Wallace, who signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free-agent last month, is nothing more than a deep threat with a limited route tree in his arsenal, Big Ben came out blasting with both barrels today.

“Mike is way more," Roethlisberger told miamidolphins.com’s The Finsiders Thursday.

“It’s to Mike’s credit,” Roethlisberger said. “Mike is really focused on becoming a better receiver. So he’s focused on his route running. He’s focused on running out-routes, and curl-routes, and in-routes and doing all the little things that's required to become a great wide receiver.

“That’s why he, to me, is one of the best in the league, because he not only has that speed — he can run by anybody — but he can run routes and he can get open. That’s why we’re going to miss him, and the Dolphins are lucky to have him.”

So there you have it. Wallace can be a speedy Swiss Army knife for the Dolphins and a versatile tool working along with quarterback Ryan Tannehill in what is expected to be a much more dangerous offense in 2013.

Last season with Pittsburgh, Wallace caught 64 balls for 836 yards and 8 TD.

In addition to Wallace, former Jets TE Dustin Keller should improve a passing attack that ranked 26th in the NFL last season, averaging just under 200 yards per game. Last season, Tannehill threw 12 TDs. Running back Reggie Bush, who signed with the Lions, caught six TDs, while receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess each only hauled in one each.

Wallace will be an instant upgrade on the outside.

So perhaps the Dolphins will run a sleeker offense in 2013 to match the sleeker logo they released this offseason. Tannehill, the first Dolphins quarterback drafted in the first round since the Fish picked Dan Marino in 1984, had limited downfield resources in his rookie season last year. He figures to bolster his numbers in this, his sophomore year, with guys like Wallace, Keller and Brandon Gibson catching balls. The Dolphins also re-signed Hartline, who showed flashes of brilliance last season.

According to published reports, Tannehill and Wallace had dinner while the receiver was in Miami to sign his five-year, $60 million deal in March.

“It was nice," Tannehill told reporters at a recent celebrity tennis tournament. “He was excited, and I was excited to have a guy like him. I think we're both ready to get things going and start building that chemistry and show it on Sundays.”

And Wallace, no doubt, is excited to prove he is more than just a deep threat.

Just ask the guy who was throwing to him in Pittsburgh.