Going into Monday night, expectations were running high that versus live competition in the scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium, Tannehill to Wallace would become a household name.
However, with the interesting move, albeit a smart one, Wallace was shutdown to join his fellow starting receiver Brian Hartline, after Hartline appeared to grab his calf and was shutdown immediately.
During the scrimmage, it was evident that without Wallace, Tannehill had a difficult time getting first downs versus the Dolphins starting defense. Wallace was brought in as a deep threat, and aside from he and Brian Hartline, there isn’t a receiver on this team that can go deep.
Last season, the receiver position was filled with “4s, 5s, and 6s” according to Jeff Ireland from Hard Knocks on HBO. This team with the acquisitions of Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, and tight end Justin Keller doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins are out of the proverbial woods with their level of talent at the receiver position.
Considering that Ireland’s evaluation of talent is correct, Wallace was a 2 in Pittsburgh, but expected to play like a 1 in Miami. Since coach Joe Philbin is high on making sure a receiver is versatile and can play the X, Y, Z positions, Wallace needs to build continuity within the offense and with Ryan Tannehill.
So then, why not play Wallace in Monday’s scrimmage? Perhaps the Dolphins are fearful of an injury and they want to prevent that from happening in a meaningless scrimmage with so much vested in Wallace financially, the Dolphins can't afford to lose him to injury and become the laughing stock of the NFL.
In addition, the Dolphins, who have kept this secret until now, appear to be satisfied with Mike Wallace's work with Ryan Tannehill during the offseason. Extra work that wasn't reported about until the beginning of the pre-season.
Finally, it seems that the Dolphins are doing little as possible to arise any kind of inkling as to how Wallace will be used on game day. It is possible that by not playing Mike Wallace, teams facing Miami cannot game plan for him based on the pre-season. This idea would certainly be true if Mike Wallace were not available this Sunday in the Hall of Fame game.
When Dolphins fans finally see Mike Wallace donning his Dolphins jersey, hopefully, it will be watching his #11 cross the goal line and leaving defenders in his wake.