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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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"So why is Wallace catching fewer passes in practice than his peers?"

One word - Grimes.

what happens when trolls ignore trolls?

I call it T.I.T.S.


I LOVE the Keller signing....I banged the drum for him as much as anybody could on an internet blog....

I want him to do well....and Tanne does have problems with the intermidate to long stuff as far as accuracy goes....

sh@t...why sugarcoat it...he has issues with the short stuff as well...to this point....

I do hope Keller does have thatb kind of year....Much rather see him running down the sidelines after a 10 yard crossing pattern as opposed to Fasano plodding down the center of the feild after a LUCKY 15 yard grab....

Who cares about the crap Dolphins anymore?

m,couzins is pushin' u to be the #1 #2.

0-5 = trade 4 couzins.

Kris, Tannehill had one of teh highest passer ratings in the NFL on passes of 20+ yards I believe. And that was with nobody working the middle of the field last year. Watch this year, you will change your tune on Tannehill.

irecorn will b chitten lava chunks at 0-5 and cheap clueless ross will let him trade away the 2014 1st.

As far as, depth, this is absolutely the greatest overall TE corps since the TE corps of the 70's sb era.
Hell yeah, Im penciling Dion Sims in with Keller.

We can now legitimately threaten a d's lb coverage with this crew.

Egnew and Kyle Miller could possibly be playing for the 3rd and final TE spot. Clay can be officially listed as "H-back". Guaranteeing his roster spot.

Wallace is starting to hate Tanny??

I see 0-5 before the bye week. All 5 of those teams are better than the Dolphins. Brandon Weeden is supposedly playing out of his mind so far in Browns camp...Andrew Luck is a stud...Matt Ryan...Drew Brees...Joe Flacco......OUCH
Posted by: Seth | August 13, 2013 at 09:40 AM

Agree. 1st year of a massive rebuild is always dissapointing.

Wallace is starting to hate Tanny??
Posted by: Could Be | August 13, 2013 at 01:16 PM
.wit an incentive laden contract, u bet db's arse he will.

0-1 aah, the excuses will start piling ^.
0-2 out of the sb/po run already.
0-3 zip in the seats at the next game at the joe.
0-4 and the banner planes are airborne again.
0-5 c 1:13.

Kirk Cousins??? Feels like yesterday we finally got rid of AJ Feeley ...

Overall, I believe this could be the greatest receiving corps in Fin history. Clearly, the Marks brothers are our greatest duo of wr's, but Im speaking of entirety of passing game.

Wr's, slot wr, and TE's.

It maybe fun fun watching Hartline go against #2 cb's one on one without double team help. Watching the bigger faster than Bess, Gibson, in physical mismatches against nickel corners.

Then in 4wr sets, watching the 4th wr outman the d's dime cb. Or a checkdown to speedster rb Lamar Miller in mismatch coverage against a trailing lb.

I do think this has chance to become a very special offense. But, it all depends on Ryan Tannehill and absence of major injury. The oline holding up too.

after 0-5, the bye week will give couzins an extra week of prep.
phinz culd finish 8-8 and back into an away wc.

mark. akz dc how much they luv couzins.the skinz got no worries.

Kirk Cousins??? Feels like yesterday we finally got rid of AJ Feeley ...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 13, 2013 at 01:25 PM

I don't know, I loved Cousins coming out of college, he wa probably the best come from behind qb in the ncaa.

Surprisingly, his college numbers mirrors Joe Montana, even his round drafted, rd3.

believe the Redskins could end up losing him in free agency or trading him in his third season to avoid losing him for nothing.

I think there's great chance Cousins could be a very good starter in this league, but Redskins will never find out while he's a member of their team. Because of one named: RG3.......

they can have him and will most likely need him after RG3 has his leg fly off in a game after Shanahan rushes him back.

In this day and age of the Qb - if a guy goes in the third round, there's a reason.

wilson 3rd.

after 0-5, the bye week will give couzins an extra week of prep.
phinz culd finish 8-8 and back into an away wc.

Posted by: 2 watt | August 13, 2013 at 01:26 PM

I don't believe 8-8 will get you into the playoffs in the afc this year.

None of 2012's afc playoff teams seem to have gotten much weaker. Then teams that missed, like the Steelers, Then teams like the Chargers/Chiefs could be much improved.

It's possible 10-6, just barely gets you into 2013's playoff rd. 8-8 will have you talking next year...

RB looks like a weak spot along with QB and LT. Those are 3 important positions so the offence will continue to struggle. I dont see more then 4-5 wins this season.

In this day and age of the Qb - if a guy goes in the third round, there's a reason.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | August 13, 2013 at 01:36 PM

Brady went 6th. As 2watt said, Wilson 3rd. Yes, there's a reason, but occasionally that reason is all the other GM's missed.

Don Shula traded up to #7 to get cb Troy Vincent. Same year the Cowboys drafted hof Darren Woodson. Troy Vincent isn't and never will be a hof'er....

Don Shula could be rated horrible as a gm had it not been for the occasional pearls like Marino.

I don't get all the Cousins hype. He was a 4th rounder I'm pretty sure. I mean he started one game against the Browns and lost. 4 TD's 3 INTS.

If everything goes to hell this year (god forbid) and Tanny struggles I'd much rather the new GM draft a QB in the first than pay a second for Cousins.

What is sad is how many people here confuse facts from opinions, of course we all have one, it would be nice to see things as they are. I would in the case of TH and Mike a list of the people here who have played at the NFL level the QB or wide receiver position, or, the HC position, one would think that they know more then we do, so give them the benefit of the doubt and wait and see how it all works out. Bill

Mando, you are simply amazing, you can ask one question and surmise three different answers, all of which can be right or wrong. Why dont you just quit being like your boy Florio at PFT. He does the exact same thing and it does no one any good let alone us fans. In other words it makes no sense. Ask the question, print the answer and let us decipher it. There are some of us who played the game and probably know more about the game. I remember, in practice, our QB could not hit the WR with a shotgun, but the QB hit him three, four times a game. You dont believe the Dolphin CBs and Safeties know that Wallace is the deep threat.
Go back to throwing the OL under the bus, their the ones who deserve it, along with Ireland for drafting some real slugs at OL.

2 watt, hoping you would say that. Strictly based on size (i.e the reason). You don't see a lot of guys Wilson's size playing Qb and time will tell if he can stand up to it.

I don't get all the Cousins hype.

Posted by: NeMo | August 13, 2013 at 01:47 PM

I would never go as far to call it hype. The guy just performed every time call upon as a "rookie backup qb" to perform.

Look at your average rookie backup qb. They are called "3rd string qb" or "practice squad qb". They are hardly ever 2ndstring backup unless your starter's name is Brady. Then, you never see them in a "real game" their rookie season.

In his rookie season, Cousin more than past the test of being a "legit 2nd string qb" at least. That's a rare feat in itself for rookie backup qb's.

And if one more guy brings up Brady 6th round. That was a fluke, get it? happens once over ... well... ever. When was the last time a qb made 5 super bowls and was drafted that late? NEVER...

Cousins > Tannehill if you disregard games played

If everything goes to hell this year (god forbid) and Tanny struggles I'd much rather the new GM draft a QB in the first than pay a second for Cousins.

Posted by: NeMo | August 13, 2013 at 01:47 PM

Its easy to agree with this based on pot Marino history. It easily places you into the mindset:

"If willing to pay a 2nd rd pick for a qb, then you really need to use a 1st."

i cant wait for week one to take it to the browns but before the business of real football takes place is their any way on gods green earth we can convince the powers that be to sell that hideous new logo back to sea world and get our real logo back please!? and while were at it give those blue raspberry snow cone colored unis back to the jags and get ours back with a little more orange like its suppose to be thanks!!

Also, I believe Tannehill would have to be absolutely atrocious his 2nd season for Ireland to be fired.

If he isn't, I believe Ross gives Ireland at least 1 more season before the hammer falls...

I'm with NeMo - no more backups. Plenty of high end talent in the draft

Looks like Nemo is lost, when is Finding Nemo 2 coming out? BWHAHAHHA

Mike Jones, is it 2004 again?

YG @ 2:01, I think if Ireland/Philbin need to go at least 8-8, maybe 9-7 or better to get another year. I could be wrong though, but I think another bad year will have Ross running out of patience.

Ryan: "Uh...Mike, I need you to go at 80% in practice and the preseason, ok? Save the speed for the real games in the regular season, ok?"
Mike: "Ok, but I AM going at 80%!"
Ryan: "Oh...ok then..."

A few days later...

Ryan: "Uh...Mike, I'm sorry that I've been overthrowing you a little bit. I sort of thought you'd go get it. I mean, Ben was never able to overthrow you and all..."
Mike: "But, I thought you wanted me to go at 80%?"

Getting on the same page isn't easy if you can't communicate...

The heroic return of Pat White to the Redskins will make Cousins tradeable (or Pat White tradeable).

It always seemed like a no-brainer to me that if you are going to run the Mike Vick offense then you should have a back-up capable of running the same offense as the starter.

With Kappe, Wilson, Vick & RG3 Pat White will have a spot on one of those teams.


Tanne does not have sufficient time to throw deep. The so called 'deep threat' is only a threat if the QB has time to throw it deep.

where are Dolpins most tougher game this year? I seen the scedule but all ways it can change like in other years ago so now I think maybe the Patriats games also Baltomore Raven they are the super bowl team? also a man told me the Kansas city Chefs will be good this year do we played them again? so they will be maybe 10 and 6 or 11 and 6 I think if Tanahill is good but he is still very young also, so who will be in the super bowl? I will say the Green Bay Packer and 49ors


c'mon man, seriously, do you really think Miami would invest so much money in a guy come week one and they only plan on targeting him three times in a regular season game..I don't need to be from the peanut gallery to think your overreacting just a bit with that statement...their not going to expose Wallace to anything or force anything that they don't need to in preseason or practice play...they know what their doing

it'll come and I have full confidence that when they go to Cleveland this story will become as dead as much of the thought of this even being an issue!!!!

"Kansas City CHEFS?" lol

Henne > Cousins

And Henne is UFA after this season.

Henne will to return to Miami to fulfill the prophecy of Stephen Ross, "...Chad Henne will be the greatest Dolphins QB of all time...".

The next Dolphin QB to win the SB will automatically be moved ahead of Griese and marino.

I believe we are a good football team. But having watched football all these years and playing a few, I know it takes a little luck too. Injuries, bad bounces, wind gusts, poor calls, players falling down at the wrong time, you can make a list a foot long. And, no, it doesn't equal out over the season. Examples, the tuck rule call, the last touchdown by the Ravens last year.

One play or call can be the difference between also ran and Super Bowl. How many plays would you have to change from last year for us to have made the playoffs? 2? 3?

With this team and a few breaks we're in!!!

The Houston Game

Our starters need to play the whole first half at least this week. We need to see our Oline hold back JJ Watt for at least 40 snaps.

And we need to see Grimes chase Andre Johnson around to see how the glued together achilles holds up.

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

Posted by: Kris | August 13, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Yea, you're right. Fryar, Ingram, Byars, K. Jackson...I'll stop there.

Either you're memory sucks as* or you know nothing about the phins

Good point.
Luck has everything to do with it.
Look how fortunate Brady, Rogers, Brees, Flacco and Ryan are that they went to teams loaded with quality front offices, quality coaches, quality players.

Then you look at the horrible situation that guys like Henne get drafted into (1-15, NoodleArm, Soprano, Ireland, Henning, BACKDOOR football).

The Houston Game

Our starters need to play the whole first half at least this week. We need to see our Oline hold back JJ Watt for at least 40 snaps.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | August 13, 2013 at 02:43 PM

Except for the small problem that there is no way the Texans will be exposing their best player to injury for 40 SNAPS in a completely meaningless exhibition game.

Tannehill to Wallace will be just fine, folks.
It takes a little while to develop trust in the long ball.
Once Ryan realizes that even when Mike is covered he isn't covered (like Big Ben did) then everything will be okay. Hats off to Grimes who seems to be back to his Pro Bowl self and has made Ryan a little bit tentative to throw to that side of the field. Once they're in real games that count, all of that will work towards Miami's favor.

Why some of you continue to call yourselves Dolphin fans while trashing the team 24-7 is beyond me! If Miami sucks so bad and you hate them with every breathe you take, why not find another team? One more fitting with your personality...like the Jets or New England?


Who is our LT if Martin gets injured?

Mark, pretty funny. LOL

In Kris' defense, all of those guys were a pretty long time ago.

ETF, what would the team have to gain but doing this when Houston will be sitting everyone down after a series or two adn in a game that counts as much as the practice they had yesterday?

ahem...is this thing on???

Isn't that the same idea Tony Sparano had by playing Jake Long when he was King Kong in a 4th preseason game against Dallas. He was injured blocking some guy that now works at Arby's and he's been shot ever since. Pragmatism trumps bravado in this instance.

ETF, your backup LT is Will Yeatman. Book it.

In previous years I witnessed the following format for preseason games:
Game 1: Starters 10-15 plays
Game 2: Starters play 1st half
Game 3: Starters play 3 qtrs
Game 4: starters play 10-15 plays

If the format has changed I will be happy to learn the new format.

I thought Yeatman was a TE?

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