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2 posts from October 2, 2013

October 02, 2013

Dolphins' Mike Wallace: 'I'm definitely worried'

When the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace to the biggest contract in their team history -- $60 million over five years -- they bargained for a deep threat receiver who would blow the top off defenses with regularity.

It is something Wallace did often with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But as the first quarter of this season is over and those big plays have not happened, Wallace is now concerned.

"I'm definitely worried about it because it's game four," Wallace said Wednesday. "I'm not paranoid or anything but in Week Four it's not the way I imagined my first four weeks going. Definitely not. I'm pretty sure it's not the way anybody imagined it going. So for myself, and starting with myself, [quarterback] Ryan [Tannehill] and coaches, we all got to do a better job and find a way to make it work."

This is not to suggest Wallace being on the Dolphins isn't working. He's caught 15 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. But his longest play was 34 yards and his 11.7 yard per catch average is well below the 17.2 yard per catch average he had before he arrived in Miami.

"I got to make big plays," Wallace said. "That's my main thing. I've been used to making big plays. And I definitely, definitely can make big plays. That's what I do. That's why I came here. That's why they signed me. It just hasn't happened so far for one reason or another."

Wallace is proven after four NFL seasons. He works hard. The talent vampire didn't suddenly drain him of his skills in the time since he left the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But the Dolphins' system doesn't seem to be a fit and his chemistry with Tannehill isn't the best. Indeed, Tannehill seems much more comfortable throwing the football to Brian Hartline and even Brandon Gibson, who also came to Miami in the offseason.

No one outside the Dolphins knows why that is. And if the Dolphins know why, they're not saying. But this much is clear, the current trend is not acceptable for Wallace.

"I know one thing, we not going to be able to go through a whole year like that," he said. "We have to make big plays. We have to back defenses up. That's what we have to do. Extra film work, different plays, whatever it is, whatever it's going to take, we have to get it done. We have to make big plays."

This current big-play drought doesn't mean Wallace is suffering from a sudden lack of confidence. He doesn't lack for that at all.

"I know I can do it," Wallace said.

But how fast it's done is now important for him as it should be for the Dolphins because the season is starting to leak away. So I asked Wallaced if his current worry would indeed grow to that "paranoid" state he mentioned if things don't change in the coming weeks and certainly by the middle of the season.

"Definitely," he said. "Then definitely something's wrong. And we're almost there. We only have four more games before that. We're already four games in. We don't have too much longer to figure it out. We got to make it happen. I don't know what we have to do. Hard work, I guess, by everybody."

A look ahead and PFF look back at Saints game

This is a short week for the Dolphins and this blog so let's combine a look ahead with a look back, shall we?

Looking ahead to the Ravens, the Dolphins are practicing today. Well, most of the Dolphins are practicing today.

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson is not practicing. Indeed, he's not even rehabbing his groin injury on the sideline. He comes out for the stretching portion of practice and leaves when the practice or rehab work begins.

Not good.

Linebacker Jason Trusnik and defensive back Don Jones -- two special teams stalwarts -- are not practicing but working with trainers off to the side. With Trusnik's injury, now you understand why the team signed Austin Spitler today.

Defensive end Cameron Wake is working. He was working at his usual position with starters during the open portion of practice. So that suggests he'll be available against the Ravens barring a setback.

Now a bit of a look in the rear-view mirror for the final time this year. Here's ProFootballFocus.com's study of the Dolphins loss to New Orleans:


WR Brandon Gibson got his highest grade (+2.4) this season and played the most snaps (49) he has seen in 2013.

WR Mike Wallace had his lowest graded performance (-3.3) since his very first game as a pro in 2009.

RT Tyson Clabo (-2.5) had another poor performance, allowing 4 hurries, 2 hits and a sack.

Tight ends Dion Sims (7 snaps) and Michael Egnew (6 snaps) didn’t see much playing time, with the Dolphins employing their 11 personnel for much of the game.

The Saints were able to generate pressure without blitzing. Against the blitz, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 3-for-3 for 78 yards, including his 50-yard checkdown to Marcus Thigpen.

All four sacks of Ryan Tannehill came when the Saints did not blitz. That does not speak well of the Miami protection.

The Dolphins gained 75 yards on 9 designed rushes to the left side, and just 18 yards on 7 carries up the middle and to the right.

Brandon Gibson and Charles Clay caught at least one pass against five different defenders.

The Dolphins’ receivers had 150 yards after the catch on 22 receptions.


OLB Philip Wheeler had another poor game, but did not miss any tackles. He missed six tackles last week. Wheeler allowed all seven targets against him to be completed. They came against Kenny Stills, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, and Darren Sproles, who had two.

Dion Jordan played 23 snaps as a nickel defensive end. He rushed the passer 17 times and dropped into coverage twice.

DT Marvin Austin played 18 snaps in his Dolphins debut, showing well against the run (+1.3).

CB Jamar Taylor was forced into action due to injuries and saw 29 snaps, primarily at right cornerback for Nolan Carroll. He was beaten for a TD and three first downs.

Taylor was picked on by Drew Brees, giving up Jimmy Graham’s 27-yard touchdown, and two Colston catches for a total of 60 yards.