While Mike Wallace might be known as the $60 million dollar receiver on the Dolphins, his recent early season play has not been anything close to warrant his contract.
Today during media access with the Dolphins players, Mike Wallace was asked if he wanted to see the Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill throw more deep passes. His response? "Yeah…" as Dolphins PR staffers hurried him away before he had a chance to say anything else.
This idea of Wallace not getting the deep ball, is accurate. Since the first game versus the Browns, Wallace was targeted and had 2 receptions, all within 15 yards. His coming out game was in Indianapolis, but even if that was the case, he didn't catch any deep passes. The deepest pass in that game went to tight end Charles Clay, who with a stroke of genius caught a pass between two defenders and raced down to the 10 setting up the games first drive score.
Versus Atlanta, Wallace appeared to be more of a decoy and didn't see many passes thrown in his direction.
Which begs the question, versus a not as impactful defense in New Orleans and the Dolphins ripe for a big splash on Monday Night football, Wallace came up empty versus his childhood friend and former high school and NFL teammate Keenan Lewis at cornerback. Lewis went toe to toe with Wallace, plenty of smiles were exchanged. However Wallace dropped the pass that had to be the best pass Tannehill has thrown to him all season long. Grant it, it's possible Wallace had to slow down to get the pass, but he just flailed for hit thinking he was going to catch it.
After the Dolphins had a chance to make an impact on that drive, the Dolphins offense became unraveled and Tannehill to Wallace became more of a side show for reporters to ogle and talk about.
What's not working about this Tannehill to Wallace combination is that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who's been around some pretty good quarterbacks, is not dialing up the deep pass frequently enough to Wallace's liking. In terms of what Mike Wallace could have done down 25 points versus the Saints is catch the ball even if it meant contorting his body to make catches over the middle and take a hit.
When Mike Sherman's philosophy is that the Dolphins don't need to take those deep ball chances to score points, it's difficult for someone like Mike Wallace who has the gift of lightning speed and can supposedly take the top off a defense. Dolphins fans have yet to see the Mike Wallace they are dying to see. The one that they play in Madden whenever the cornerback has tight coverage and he sheds that coverage for an easy score. That's the one fans want to see. The one that can actually score more touchdowns than previous Dolphins receviers.
Can he get the ball in the end zone more than once this season? Time will tell.
It remains to be seen if this is the same 60 million dollar man that the Dolphins believed they were getting or the "one trick" pony the Steelers believed they could under pay.
In any case, if the Dolphins don't fix this issue of chemistry with Wallace and Tannehill, teams will just stack the box and dare the Dolphins to throw to him. Hopefully, on his next opportunity he makes that catch and waves good bye all the way to the endzone.