MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins brought wide receiver Mike Wallace in to blow the tops off of defenses with deep passing maximizing his speed. Through four games this season, Wallace hasn’t been able to use his speed and the Fins are struggling with the deep ball.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has only completed three of nine passes that are 20 yards or more in the air this season. Only the Chiefs, Jaguars, and Lions have completed fewer deep passes, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Wallace only has one catch for more than 20 yards this season on seven such passes. Wallace told the Herald he wanted more deep balls, before the Dolphins whisked him away from reporters.
It’s been a familiar problem for Wallace who has seen his deep balls decline each of the past three seasons, according to the Herald. Still, Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said the Fins didn’t go deep because the Saints took away the deep ball with safeties in deep coverage.
By any measurement though, Wallace is struggling to live up to the high expectations set by his massive free agent contract. According to the Herald, Pro Football Focus ranks Wallace 101st out of 103 wide receivers in the league and he ranks only 53rd in yards through four games.
When Tannehill has thrown the ball to Wallace, it’s not being caught. Part of it is deep passes skewing the numbers, according to the Herald, but Tannehill is still only completing 53.6 percent of his passes to Wallace, which is the lowest of any starter.
Wallace has never shown any diva-like tendencies when he’s not getting the ball, which is good for the Dolphins. But, when Miami targets him and he catches the ball, it’s turned out well for Miami, as evidenced in the Indianapolis game.
But Miami isn’t going to force the ball to Wallace just to throw it to him. That means other players are going to have to make defenses pay for leaving them open. Once that happens, more will open up for Wallace and the Dolphins offense will likely start to move quite quickly.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)