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Tannehill, Wallace need to connect more in practice

MIke Wallace caught slant pass from Ryan Tannehill midway through practice Monday and about 40 minutes later caught a deep pass from the starting quarterback over the top of the defense for a touchdown.

That was good.

That was also it.

Tannehill targeted Wallace three times in practice and the duo connected twice. And that's fine except when you consider that Tannehill actually attempted more passes to reserve receiver Brian Tyms. And tight end Dustin Keller. And Brian Hartline. And just as many to Jeff Fuller, another reserve receiver who may or may not be on the team in three weeks.

So if you ask me are the Dolphins feeding the Tannehill-to-Wallace connection a good diet in practice, I would say absolutely not. The fact is Monday's work was pretty much typical of what has happened in all the practices I've witnessed this training camp when counting Tannehill-to-Wallace connections.

Sometimes they hook up twice in a practice. Sometimes three times. Rarely more than that. Sometimes they go an entire practice and don't connect at all. Meanwhile, Tannehill connects with Keller all the time. He has a definite chemistry with Hartline. And he seems pretty comfortable throwing to Brandon Gibson as well.

All that is good -- except that none of those other guys are the caliber of playmaker that Mike Wallace is. None are being paid what the Dolphins are paying Wallace. None are feared around the NFL as Wallace is feared.

So why is Wallace catching fewer passes in practice than his peers? And, incredibly, why on this day was he targeted fewer times than a receiver who is fighting for a No. 4 or No. 5 WR job?

Perhaps I'm making too much of this. But it has happened on a number of days that I've watched practice. And, if you believe like coach Joe Philbin does, that practice is important and eventually will reflect what we see in games, then this trend is potentially alarming.

Tannehill doesn't seem to throw nearly enough to Wallace in practice to suggest this is going to be an elite combination in the NFL this season.

(Return of the peanut gallery here: But Mando, you're just a dumb columnist who never played the game and you're making a big deal out of nothing and, after all, Allen Iverson said this is just practice.)

Fine. So I asked Wallace the simple question: Is he getting enough passes thrown to him in practice from Ryan Tannehill?

"Ahhhh, I think it's going to come," he said seemingly surprised by the question. "Obviously I didn't practice for like a week and a half so that kind of takes away shots I would have had. But I think I get enough balls. Well, I wouldn't say ... We have a lot of periods in practice so you're going to catch a lot of passes. At the same time we have so many guys and there's so much going on so fast that you're not always going to ge the ball."

Stop right there. Wallace is a professional. He's not a troublemaker. But neither is he a liar. So he's clearly hedging his answer. He obviously doesn't want to say something that could potentially make folks look bad. But neither does he want to suggest something that is so clear is not true. He also doesn't want to sound like he's complaining.

So he just talked in circles a little bit.

"You know, there are certain plays that my coach wants to see me in and for those plays I make sure I get the rep and I get extra plays as well," Wallace said. "But there are certain plays he wants to see me run a certain route and I might not get the ball but this is the look we'll look for. I understand what's going on so you're not going to see too much frustration out of me just like I need to do this or that. I feel like I'm doing a great job at doing the things I plan to work on -- just getting in my spots and learning the offense. I feel like I'm a playmaker on the field. That's what I do. I'm not really worried about that. As long as I know where I'm going and I'm able to play fast, I think I'll be fine."

So to recap, does Mike Wallace think he's seeing enough passes from Tannehill in practice?

Ahhhh, at some point that will happen. I was injured for a while. I get enough passes. Well, maybe. We've got a lot of guys on the team and they have to get there's so I'm not always going to get the ball. There are plays I'm just running to see what the defense is doing. I'm not going to get too frustrated about this. I'm not complaining. I'll be fine.


The only reason this is even a minor issue is because Wallace made his preseason debut last Friday and didn't catch a pass. Indeed, Tannehill never looked at him.

Was he open?

"I had a couple of shots out there we could have took," Wallace said. "But there's a lot of things that go into that. Obviously, it's not just me getting open. We have a lot going into that so everything has to flow together and I think we'll take care of it and I think we'll hit those shots I think we have."

Yes, getting the ball to Wallace deep means the offensive line has to block well and give Tannehill time. And then the QB has to feel confident about throwing it to Wallace.

Neither of those happened against Jacksonville.

"There was one where we came out and started a drive with a play," Tannehill said. "I ended up moving around and hitting Gibson over the middle, but going back and looking at it, I could have stayed in the pocked a little bit, just pushed up and kept my eyes downfield. Mike ended up winning on the outside. Other than that, that’s kind of the way the game fell."

The Dolphins studied the tape of the Jacksonville game and say they are committed to improving their ability to getting the ball downfield to Wallace.

"That’s one thing we are working on this week is using the pocket, getting a little bit better protection, but using what I have to do better, stepping up and finding a way to get the ball downfield," Tannehill said.

The irony here is that in a practice where that's a focus, Wallace only caught two passes. In a practice where the idea is to get the ball deep, Tannehill is throwing to Tyms more often. Really?

Obviously, it is still early. The Dolphins have the chance to multiply many times what we're seeing so far. But how that's going to happen in games, particularly ones that count in the regular season, if it doesn't happen in practice stumps me.

That has to change. Soon.

Because if Mike Wallace continues to catch only a couple of passes from Tannehill in practice, he's not catching two or three times that many in real games.


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mike, who's the 29 receicers better than Mike Wallace?
He can start for every team in the league except Atlanta.

Wallce has got to be having second thoughts about joining the hapless Fins.

2-6 to start the season see it finishing 7-9 again, offensive line lack of a true running game and yes, if B.Grimes have M.Wallace on lockdown this offense will be in major trouble !! And again you traded up for the 3.rd pick that can't even get on the field. Yet you wouldn't trade for RG3 !!

mike, who's the 29 receicers better than Mike Wallace?
He can start for every team in the league except Atlanta.
Posted by: Sosa | August 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM

check the rankings. he was 30th last year.

Darkoak, now that you put it that way, maybe they should be throwing to Wallace. See if he can develop a way to beat a great corner. It still takes the chance of an injury though, to two very important parts of this football team.

Hard call to make. That is why the coaches get paid well.

Out of 64 Starters.

Most teams in the league would go 2 and 6 with this schedule.

Playoffs = win @ Cleveland, Colts.

Win both division games after bye week.

Beat Pitt and Bengals.

I love that from this guy. "If Grimes is locking down (he isn't) mike wallace then the season is in trouble"

Yeah, if a pro bowl cb is locking down a wr that's shocking. Who would have ever thought Grimes could win some one on one battles with a wr. Locking him down would mean Wallace hasn't got open and that's not true.

Like any other camp battle you win some you lose some. Wouldn't expect some of the stupendous morons in here to understand that though. Don't worry about seeing the complete picture, just keep commenting with your blinders on.

Wallace has got to be having 2nd thoughts about joining the hapless Dolphins.

How can we get Tannehill to throw INTs?

Tell him to concentrate on 1 WR like Matt Moore.

The comments in here meant to incite pages of worthless debate are just about the dumbest crap anyone could write. Could you guys at least try to sound like you know something about football. Maybe then someone will fall for your attention seeking posts.

I thought of that Dashi, but still. Lol

I can't name 29 receivers in the league that opens up the field Wallace does.

Its not always about numbers because everywhere he goes the safety goes.

He gave you 8 TD's every year he's been in the league.

Like Lebron said I ain't got no worries

1.If we throw to Wallace and he fights it out with Grimes they both get better.

2. If we throw to Wallace and he fights it out with Grimes they can both get hurt.

3. we take it easy until the real games begin and have confidence that both of them are already practiced enough.

Philbin chose 3. No brainer.

Don't worry about the fact that it takes 5 to 6 seconds to run 50 yards down the field but our o-line is giving the qbs about 3 seconds to plant and throw. Just keep ignoring everything that is black and white, that's the way to stay hopelessly ignorant.

I'm not helping the trolls with blog hits today, see ya.

Now officially ready for the season. Just ordered my Miami Dolphins polo (I'm too old for jerseys - they are just for framing at this point in my life)and hat with the new logo from the store above on this page.


Your making to much of this.

If this is still an issue as the season progresses I would hope the coaching staff gets it corrected.....if it requires correcting. I suppose the question is can the Dolphins enjoy a successful passing game this year if Wallace does not produce numbers that are head and shoulders above the rest of the receiving core? Does Wallace's presence alone, regardless of his production improve the overall passing game? I believe that the coaching staff will make whatever adjustments are required to insure that Wallace is a vital piece of the Dolphin offense.

wallace doing great job. long as he takes double coverage and gets others open i could careless about his stats

Mark are you serious about Keller being smart to sign here...especially ONE YEAR.....

NO FA has EVER flourished here in my memory...

I expect Keller to do well....but if he works this into a MEGA CONTRACT here...o somewhere else....then he will be the FIRST FIN FA to do so....

Phins78 pay attention

Wallace runs 50 yards in 5 seconds--
Tannehill releases the ball in 3 seconds--


Hopelessly ignorant, I think so.

mw = 60m$ decoy.

kris bush came here on short deal and prved he could be an every down back to least one team in the lions who gave him cash

Armando is the best Dolphin writer on the planet. Its hard for anyone to be positive when the team loses every friggin year yet keeps the same crap GM.

keller no doubt should have very solid year here if he stays healthy

Kris, having seen them play for the first time on Friday coupled with every practice report I read, the same name comes up again and again - Keller. heck even Armando who hands out compliments like they are made from pure gold said that tannehill and Keller have great chemistry and they are ready to roll for week 1.

he will have a Hartline type year if he's healthy. I see upwards of 80 receptions for the guy.

if dk has 80+ along wit 7/8 td's and da phinz finish 4-12.
dk will split 2 any team he wants.

pats would sign him, harder to franchise tes now with gonzos over priced one year deal

armando 1
omar 2.
the rest suxx.

Armando - great post.

I'm sure as fans of the Dolphins we are all concerned, and want to see something great happen this year too...especially with a talent like Wallace. Can't just ask Wallace his thoughts though...need to ask Tannehill what he's seeing in practice and in preseason games, and find out if he even realizes he's not connecting with Wallace much. Asking the coaching staff is a must as well. These guys are drawing up the plays and having the players execute what they have drawn up. If they are not stopping practice and speaking to Tannehill about missing a wide open receiver down the field, that could be what we are in for this season. The Dolphins were great last year between the 20's - they need to get into the end zone - Wallace knows how to do that...build around that fact...I'm sure they will.

Thx for the idea Mark.
I'm looking thru the menu, they even have Miami Dolphin dress shirts.
Good job my brother.

c dat 78, dey have some phinz dresses 4 u 2 wear on game day.

If the Dolphins develop a pattern of throwing down the middle in the preseason, maybe 1 or two of those first 5 teams we play will think like Armando and not cover the outside.

Well, we can hope can't we?

heck even Armando who hands out compliments like they are made from pure gold said that tannehill and Keller have great chemistry and they are ready to roll for week 1.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

"Pure Gold". That was pretty funny Mark. By the way, I'm not doing the jersey thing either this year, just got a Wallace t-shirt with "Miami Dolphins" on the front (not the logo) with the new colors. That should hold me until/unless we move up the ladder to a contender.

I ordered my Dolphins toilet paper for the season.

I think it's all about Tannehill's lack of confidence in long passes . It's clear he has more confidence in short to mid-range passes.
But the most disturbing fact was he didn't even look Wallaces way in the game. Tells me 2 things: 1)he had made up his mind before the pattern developed and 2) he hasn't learned to look off a safety.

don't get any thenne stuff,
it will be worthless after the bye.

Keller's last full year he got 65 receptions, 112 targets, and a 12.5 YPC, 5 tds. And that was with stinker Sanchez who Tannehill is already better than. He should be able to match those big numbers I think at least.

2 watt is not a very bright bulb, huh?


Great Bruce, you can wipe your opinions with them.

Yeah DC, I don't want to be one of those OG's who look kind of dumb in a jersey. Polos is more my style now I guess. I went with all orange...

First of all:

Mike Wallace(#11) and Charles Clay(#42) should swap jersey numbers.

Which brings to Warfield. These are his reception numbers as a Dolphin wr:

1970-- 11gms 28 rec 703yds 25.1ypc 6tds
1971-- 14gms 43 rec 996yds 23.2ypc 11tds
1972-- 12gms 29 rec 606yds 20.9ypc 6tds
1973-- 14gms 29 rec 514yds 17.7ypc 11tds
1974-- 9gms 27 rec 536yds 19.9ypc 2tds

So as you, even Warfield's best season as a Dolphin, 1971, in a 16gm season it translates to:

49 rec 1,138yds 23.2ypc 13tds

So, if we can get even these kind of numbers from Tannehill/Wallace, we can then call this:

Warfield/Griese Like

Last I checked, this isn't too damn bad......

Wallace doesn't have to be the "feature receiver" in this offense. We just need he and Tannehill to be Griese/Warfield like....

Good job 17!

The problem I have with Tannehill right now more than anything is he telegraph his throws, Ive yet to see him to look to one side of the field maybe throw a pump fake then come to the WR on the other side, his progression reads are a tad slow which is weird because this is the same offense he ran in college.

The kid needs to get better at anticpating when a WR is coming out of his break. Hopefully this comes with more experiece but we need to see some progression this year!

I wonder what Dolphins camp was like during the summer of 1970 after offseason trade brought in Paul Warfield?

Was there the same apprehension that exist in this blog topic regarding Griese/Warfield not connecting enough early in training camp?

I couldn't tell you for sure, but, Im sure it was quite possible.....

Tannehill says he will make a better showing against Houston than he did last year. Different team, different situation, he says.

Being open in College is different from.being open in the NFL.
Agreed, he must anticipate and look off DB's.

Griese/Warfield 1st season together:

1970-- 11gms 28 rec 703yds 25.1ypc 6tds

To me this signals, at least td wise, we may have to be a little more patient during Tannehill/Wallace's 1st season together. Then after that it should be lights out in passer/receiver stats.....

you wont see anyone with that many catches have that kind of average. 20 ypc is insane in today's football..

Posted by: Truth | August 13, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I always thought Bob Griese should have gone into qb coaching, but, went into broadcasting instead. I still wish Griese could spend 2-3 weeks in camp personally working with Tannehill.

Not the occasional pointer, or looking at Tannehill's game from afar....

db, griese was a wr at perdue?

YG, I thought Pennignton was working with Tannehill throughout camp, is that no on anymore?

you wont see anyone with that many catches have that kind of average. 20 ypc is insane in today's football..

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 13, 2013 at 12:41 PM

What makes it even more insane, db's of that era were allowed to absolutely mug wr's going down the field.

Imagine if Warfield had played in this cotton candy era where db's are nearly regulated to playing "flag football"?

Your posts are intelligent and sometimes even insightful, but it is hard to take you serious when you have that filthy name.

bg culd only trow 20yds.
but when u got 12 in da box trying 2 slow czonk,
pw was wide open every play.

YG, I thought Pennignton was working with Tannehill throughout camp, is that no on anymore?

Posted by: Truth | August 13, 2013 at 12:45 PM

I think Pennington was there only like 2-3 days of camp. That's more like a consultation than mentorship....

Oh Armando, how you still have a job as a sports writer is amazing. Your ability to see the big picture is non existent. Of course the third and fourth stringers are getting more balls this early in camp. We have to determine which ones to keep before mandatory cuts happen. Do you have family ties to the Herald? Nepotism is the only way I can see you keeping this job, which you are entirely unqualified for.

2watt have you McNutted recently?

Dion Jordan = Damaged Goods

Thanks Again Irescum


that's debatable @ best...

but when u got 12 in da box trying 2 slow czonk,
pw was wide open every play.

Posted by: 2 watt | August 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Yeah, and after Griese/Warfield would connect on a 75yds td bomb, next offensive possession the defense would have only 7 in the run box.

Then Csonka, Morris, Kiick would eat then alive. One hand washes the other....

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