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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:25 am 
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By Hal Habib

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

DAVIE —

The look on his face told a story, but only part of it. This was Mike Wallace, opening up. He’s never shy with the media, but Saturday, he was reflecting on his initial season with the Dolphins and skipping the sugarcoating.

And while it’s one thing to admit what everyone else has been thinking — that there’s more to Mike Wallace than what we’ve seen in a Dolphins uniform — the most important words Wallace uttered were directed toward 2014.

“I think you’ll see a big difference from Year 1 to Year 2,” he said.

Wallace no longer is the newcomer who’s the prize catch of the free-agent class, the game-breaker who was going to replace Tony Sparano’s fist-clenching field-goal celebrations with joyous spikes in the end zone. And while Wallace’s first season in Miami was respectable (930 yards, five touchdowns), it wasn’t what anyone — especially Wallace — considers anywhere near his potential.

Toss in that Miami spent a second-round pick on receiver Jarvis Landry this year and it’s no wonder the off-season was littered with rumors the Dolphins were considering trading Wallace. It was such that Wallace and new general manager Dennis Hickey sat down to clarify his standing.

“He definitely told me don’t worry about it, that it was never true,” Wallace said. “And I believe him, because I’m here today.”

Here, and a new man, he said.

“I feel like now, it’s kind of like, let’s just play,” Wallace said. “Here, I was worrying about coming in, getting to know the guys, fitting in, knowing the coaches, knowing the system. Just a lot. It was a lot tougher than people think.”

Wallace, who turns 28 Friday, prides himself in staying level-headed, but he admitted he compounded the situation by overburdening himself.

“Coming in on a young team, trying to be a leader on a team that I’m not even familiar with the guys,” he said. “I think this year I feel a lot more comfortable. All my guys are coming, talking to me: ‘How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that?’ I feel the guys have a lot more confidence in me. I always have confidence in myself but I feel like my teammates trust me a lot more.”

Of course, no trust means more than the belief Wallace can win from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Throughout the first two days of training camp, all eyes zero in on the field anytime Wallace is going deep and Tannehill launches one. Sometimes, those plays result in a collective sigh from the stands. But when they hit — and they have a few times — the cheers have been the loudest.

Wallace will earn $15 million in 2014, tied with Denver’s Peyton Manning for the third-richest salary in the league and making him the only wide receiver to crack the top 10. Coach Joe Philbin is seeing signs Wallace is earning those paychecks.

“I thought Mike had a really good off-season program,” Philbin said following mini-camp. “You’ve seen him after practice (doing extra work). Nobody is holding a bat to his head. This guy is out there working.”

Once the pre-season ends, nearly all the team’s work is done behind closed doors. Among those close to the team, there is a belief Wallace didn’t run those extra routes with Tannehill last season to build that cohesion. The fact Wallace is much faster than Miami’s other receivers made it even tougher for Tannehill to get used to Wallace’s change of pace. Wallace said he and Tannehill have put in time this off-season to work out kinks.

So now, Wallace hopes, the Dolphins will see the Mike Wallace who was capable of 1,257 yards in 2010 or 1,193 in 2011. The Wallace who averaged 8.6 touchdown receptions for Pittsburgh from 2010-2012. The Wallace who caught touchdown passes of 95 and 82 yards his final two seasons with the Steelers, as opposed to a long gain of 57 last year.

What did Wallace learn in 2013 that will help in 2014?

“You’re going to have expectations on you, but as a player, I’ve just got to keep my head,” he said. “I can’t worry about anything but the focus and the grind every single day on the field. I can’t worry about the off-field stuff, this person, that person. You’ve just got to focus, man.

“And I feel like I take that with me every day and I learned that. That was a great learning experience for me.”

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sport ... cti/ngn9z/


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:25 am 
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I like it. He's saying the right things & putting in the work.

Wish it would guarantee success in the games. But at least Philbin is focused on making him a full & complete WR. & this new offense could give Wallace some DeSean Jackson like numbers

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:12 am 
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Steve Zissou wrote:
this new offense could give Wallace some DeSean Jackson like numbers

Catching the ball is essential for a Wr. Wallace's hands are horrible. Fans watch how many times on a deep pass he cradles it with his arms and not go up for the catch with his hands.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:53 am 
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Mike Wallace had a career high in receptions last year..The team would be worse without him opening things up..


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:07 pm 
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I believe he will have a better year, but he and Tannehill are still struggling with the deep pass.

Quote:
### Though none of this should be overstated, Ryan Tannehill is now 1 for 4 on deep throws to Mike Wallace through two days of camp. Both attempts were incomplete Saturday, including one in which Tannehill held the ball too long, thus squandering a chance to hit an open Wallace. By the time he threw it, safety Reshad Jones had good position and made an interception. By the way, Philbin wants to expand Wallace's "route tree."


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:52 pm 
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Big Dave wrote:
By the way, Philbin wants to expand Wallace's "route tree."

There is a reason Wallace is a 5 yr vet with a limited route tree.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:26 pm 
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Wallace is the same WR he was in Pittsburgh, the difference is the QB, Wallace's success relies mostly on Tanne, he's not an elite WR, he's just an elite flanker, blows the top off a D but needs the ball in a certain way, Ben was able to deliver the ball to him the way he needs it, a perfect example of a QB making the WR better.

Wallace made the team better last year but was held back by mediocre QB play, his full effectiveness was not realized, other players benefitted from his presence, and subsequently the whole offense but his full effectiveness was held in check because of Tanne.

Wallace was vastly overpaid by Ireland in a desperate attempt to keep his job, he was not the right fit for our team at that time and simply is not worth the money because he's not a legit elite #1 WR, and he will need Tanne to become much better to get the most out of him.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:48 pm 
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Finster wrote:
Wallace is the same WR he was in Pittsburgh, the difference is the QB, Wallace's success relies mostly on Tanne, he's not an elite WR, he's just an elite flanker, blows the top off a D but needs the ball in a certain way, Ben was able to deliver the ball to him the way he needs it, a perfect example of a QB making the WR better.

Wallace made the team better last year but was held back by mediocre QB play, his full effectiveness was not realized, other players benefitted from his presence, and subsequently the whole offense but his full effectiveness was held in check because of Tanne.

Wallace was vastly overpaid by Ireland in a desperate attempt to keep his job, he was not the right fit for our team at that time and simply is not worth the money because he's not a legit elite #1 WR, and he will need Tanne to become much better to get the most out of him.


If you want better play out of Tannehill, Miami will have to have a better running game and pass protection. The offense's success or lack there of will hinge on how well the o-line plays this year.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:40 pm 
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Finster wrote:
Wallace is the same WR he was in Pittsburgh, the difference is the QB, Wallace's success relies mostly on Tanne, he's not an elite WR, he's just an elite flanker, blows the top off a D but needs the ball in a certain way, Ben was able to deliver the ball to him the way he needs it, a perfect example of a QB making the WR better.

Wallace made the team better last year but was held back by mediocre QB play, his full effectiveness was not realized, other players benefitted from his presence, and subsequently the whole offense but his full effectiveness was held in check because of Tanne.

Wallace was vastly overpaid by Ireland in a desperate attempt to keep his job, he was not the right fit for our team at that time and simply is not worth the money because he's not a legit elite #1 WR, and he will need Tanne to become much better to get the most out of him.

He is basically Joey Galloway. Make a highlight reel play every now & then & people think you are a great WR worthy of big money.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:05 pm 
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A very fair comparison.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:02 pm 
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Matt Moore, who is considered a very good deep ball QB, missed Wallace a couple of times today. If it were so easy it would be completed all of the time.

Its not perfection guys. I'm sure Big Ben missed Wallace a lot but all we read about are the completed passes. Why did Tannehill and Moore seem to have a great ability connecting with Hartline on some deep throws??? Easy receiver to build chemistry with. Wallace has wheels, but it seems like QBs need time to adjust to changing of speed.

The lack of connection last season was shared between Tannehill and Wallace, not one because of the other. Watch each incomplete pass and you'll see some were on target and dropped while others were bad throws.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:23 pm 
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I am predicting Mike Wallace to have his best year of his career this upcoming season. Speed kills. Lazor will be moving him all over the place and not only going deep, but plenty of underneath get into space crossing routes, which will make him even more dangerous in the open field.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:32 pm 
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Finhead34 wrote:
I am predicting Mike Wallace to have his best year of his career this upcoming season. Speed kills. Lazor will be moving him all over the place and not only going deep, but plenty of underneath get into space crossing routes, which will make him even more dangerous in the open field.



I agree.. And i also think his value is not all on the stat sheet.. Hard working, good blocker and a vet leader with playoff exp.

Something this team lacks greatly. And one thing to remember. Revis struggles vs. this type wr.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:17 pm 
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Kev1321 wrote:
Finhead34 wrote:
I am predicting Mike Wallace to have his best year of his career this upcoming season. Speed kills. Lazor will be moving him all over the place and not only going deep, but plenty of underneath get into space crossing routes, which will make him even more dangerous in the open field.



I agree.. And i also think his value is not all on the stat sheet.. Hard working, good blocker and a vet leader with playoff exp.

Something this team lacks greatly. And one thing to remember. Revis struggles vs. this type wr.


These are solid points, especially the use of Wallace in decoy situations. If defenses have to use assets to cover him on the short routes it opens up deep ball situations for other receivers. We saw Tannehill connect with Hartline, Gibson and Clay downfield last year, and it sounds like he's hit a few with Landry, Williams and Matthews.

You couple these facts with what we're hearing about Wallace's added work efforts this offseason and Tannehill's improved decision making and you have the potential for some explosive stuff. Lets see it happen.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:38 pm 
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He's an elite deep threat. Maybe the best in the game. He is what he is. He's not Larry Fitzgerald...he's not a possesion receiver or a red zone target. He plays like Duper used to, and that ain't too shabby.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:54 pm 
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I hope you are right Swerve.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:07 pm 
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his stats already prove this, not sure why some act like he needs to prove himself. I mean he could get better for sure but It's our quarterback that needs to prove he is Pro Bowl worthy, not Wallace.

Mike Wallace has a career 16.1 yards per catch. That's elite.
Wallace has two 1200 yard seasons in his 5 year career.
He's only played 5 years in the NFL and had at least 8 touchdowns in 3 of them. He's one of the best 10 to 15 receivers in the game, purely based on speed.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:09 pm 
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Finhead34 wrote:
I am predicting Mike Wallace to have his best year of his career this upcoming season. Speed kills. Lazor will be moving him all over the place and not only going deep, but plenty of underneath get into space crossing routes, which will make him even more dangerous in the open field.


I agree, thats the way I envision 2014 for him.
75 catches, 1300 yards and 10 TDs. and tack on 100 rushing yards off reverses.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:07 pm 
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I agree, thats the way I envision 2014 for him.
75 catches, 1300 yards and 10 TDs. and tack on 100 rushing yards off reverses.


:yay:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:58 am 
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Not very encouraging to not have a QB that can hit Wallace deep. That is his specialty. All I can say is ... practice, practice, practice.

Barry Jackson wrote:
Deep throws to Mike Wallace remain problematic; through three days of camp, quarterbacks have connected with Wallace on one of six long balls. Matt Moore threw the only deep balls to Wallace on Sunday, misfiring on both.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:16 am 
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You know this is just like my short putting game...it is in both their heads. Just grip it and rip it, quit overthinking the darn throw. These QB coaches start telling them to loft it, up some air under it etc...just throw it. You're a freaking pro for crying out loud. I could hit Mak 9 out of 10 times after 1 day. All you folks bemoaning protection...what is his flag going to get dirty?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:14 pm 
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Tannehill needs to realize that he cant overthrow Wallace...just sling it.


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