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The issues with getting the ball deep to Mike Wallace

I shared with you earlier in the week how Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said he was "definitely worried" about his first four games with the Dolphins.

Well, as Wallace is very important to the success of this team, I decided to explore why it is Wallace on the Dolphins is not quite working like Wallace on the Steelers worked for much of his four years there. Now, please keep perspective. We're only talking four games. Things can get better as soon as today's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

But for that to happen some changes have to be made.


Because in studying these issues, I've come to the conclusion everyone involved is partially responsible for Wallace so far not being the dynamic deep threat I know he can be.

Basically, I blame everyone.

In my column in today's Miami Herald, I go through the reasons Wallace isn't succeeding consistently so far. You want to know who I blame most?

The coaching staff.

Joe Philbin, you see, has taken an approach he thinks is right with Wallace and as you'll see, once Joe makes a decision, it is apparently written in stone and even if you question him, as I did, he comes back with the ""that's how we do it" response.

My column explains why the Dolphins should re-think that approach in this instance. They should re-think not moving Wallace around. They should re-think always lining him up on the right side. They should re-think how much production they're going to get out of their deep-threat receiver while lining him out right because their quarterback has issues thowing deep to his right.

Darn, gave part of it away.

By the way, would it be the first time Dolphins coaches misuse talent? Remember they kept insisting Reggie Bush is a between the tackle runner? Detroit puts him out in space and away we go. Remember they told us last year Jared Odrick is a defensive end? No, he's a defensive tackle in a 4-3 or a DE in a 3-4 but not a 4-3. Remember they're still insisting Daniel Thomas is every bit as good as any other RB on the roster?

Remember they took a 3-4 defense that was sixth in the NFL in points allowed in 2011 (yielding 19.6 points per game) and turned it into a 4-3 unit that was seventh in points allowed in 2012 (19.8 PPG) and is now 15th in points allowed (22.8 PPG)? We're going in the wrong direction, here. 

Check out the column. Then come back here and leave your comments.


[Update: By the way, one issue I didn't include in my column or in this post earlier is how the Dolphins practices are set up. I had a club source text me, apparently after he read what I wrote, and told me he thinks the Dolphins don't focus enough in practice getting the ball to Wallace deep and so it's no surprise it doesn't happen that often in games. Interesting.]


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Go figure, cant be so set in your ways that the defense knows what your going to do. Wby not throw bubble screens to wallace and miller , and put in gill, instead of Thomas, gotta help this line out and tanny, he cant throw deep cause he dont have the time.

Not buying that philbin doesn't know what to do or how to handle Wallace. Let's not forget Philbin had Jenning, Driver, Nelson and Findley. He knows how to handle recievers. Sherman does too. O-line and a 2nd year QB who's learning the ropes....this will take time and a big effort from the O line each week.

Fire Sherman, the guy is one dumb OC with all his supposed experience ,the can use Thippen in place of Bush as we saw last monday, but the p[la calling and the line calls are horrible.

The big difference you left out is we are 3-1 despite a very tough opening schedule.

It's pretty simple why Wallace hasn't gotten the ball more.

The defense can rush only 4 guys and still get to Tannehill. He doesn't have time to deliver a deep ball!

The second thing is Wallace slowing on routes over the middle and dropping passes. When you combine the two issues, it's no wonder we don't go to Wallace more!

If it were my decision, I would line Clay up at FB or the #2 TE and make Yeatman the #1 TE.

This would give us 6 offensive linemen to run the ball better and maximum pass protection to let the deeper routes develop. Plus, we have all seen that Miller can't catch, Clay can start getting some big plays out of the backfield.

At the current sack rate and lack of run production, I don't understand why this hasn't been considered yet given Yeatman's background as a TE.

Excellent post, and remember how we mishandled Brandon Marshall ? funny how all these pleyers come here and then leave and are producing big time for other teams. OUR COACHING SUCKS. Agreed with Tony above, fire sherman and Phibin is ego drivin coach, his way or the highway type of guy. Can't win with that, so decision to not bring bush and long back is biting them in the ass, which every analyst predicted.

Posted by: mike | October 06, 2013 at 01:10 AM

Mike, Long hasn't worked out too well for St. Louis so that really hasn't bit us. My guess is he and Martin are grading out fairly similar.

As far as not being able to win with Philbin's approach, we are 3-1. I do believe that Sherman tends to overthink critical play calls and get too cute on critical downs when have obvious success doing something else though.

Monday night the defence coach was way out coached and you can not let the saint wr get off the line untouch the dolphins do have to make ajustments in the bye week look to trade for a top conerback if they want beat the top teams.
Offence needs a Right tackle bad and start run the ball on second down, on 1 down throw short 5,7 yards pass , to keep the ball longer . and to help the tackles use two back as Clay and thigpen.
the deffence can play like they did and win.
when team has turnover it time to stop the other teams offence not let them score at will.......
Wr who have 2 big drop and are part of reason for Int.
can not talk so much ,, just do it...

As far as I can tell from T-hill, he cannot throw bombs. Maybe it was Wallace fault not to catch that pass, the truth is that he had to slowed down.
Henne was the opposite, he always overthrew passes. Both are as bad as the other.
I hope that T-hill bounces back. Specially at home. Otherwise it will be a long month, plenty of doubts and second guesses.
Coaches must also improve about game plans and decisions on the field. And certainly the defense has to be more agresive.
Tough match. One of the most important considering confidence and standings. It can be a turning point, positive or negative.

That's funny. Armando is miffed because the Dolphins Head Coach won't alter his plans to fit with what he and his buddy THINKS.

Hardy Har Har Armando, get over yourself, you don't know 1/5th of what these coaches know.

In short: Shaadap-lol.

We're 3-1 with a young quarterback and team. We got our asses handed to us by a great team and we have issues with our offensive line.

Hardly time to panic. Definitely NOT the time to let a beat writer start coaching the team. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.


Miami's biggest problem has been an overall lack of continuity and turnover in the coaching stafs and personel.

We lose one freasking game to a great saints team and the turds above want to fire the coaches and start all over from scratch.

The thought of Mando running things is bad enough. The thought of you running things is downright idiotic. You know who you are Turd.


Bush has missed as many games as he played so far.

Long did so bad they had to move inside to guard. Then he got hurt too.

But go ahead, spout it loud mang lol.

What is this comedy hour?

I do agree this could be a turning point. Clean up the turn overs and get Wallace involved early.

Take out last weeks frustrations on the ravens and all will be well.

First of all, Jeff Ireland needs to look into a possible tryout of Josh Freeman. He would be a good backup plan just in case Tannehill does not repent of his interceptions sins. Secondly, there appear to be a rift current developing between Wallace and Tannehill. Wallace is use to the deep ball being thrown to him in stride. Tannehill does not know how to throw the deep ball in stride. So they are both upset with each other. Tannehill has decided to throw the deep ball as little as possible, to save face. This is very upsetting to Mike Wallace and understandably so. A simple adjustment in Tannehill's release can solve this issue immediately. Tannehill needs to throw his deep passes with a little more arch so that Mike Wallace can run under his passes in stride. In other words, the deep balls should go upward and drop down in stride with a curve motion. This will solve their in ability to connect down field issue!

Yeah that should do it.

I don't know why our quarterback coach didn't think of it. Or Philbin, Sherman, Matt Moore or Pat Devlin even.

But thank goodness we have bond, david bond that is.

I just hope they start listening to you and armando soon we'll be super bowl bound.

David Bond is overlooking the fact that Freeman had weapons and still sucks.

Just a small point about why the D is ranked 15th at the moment. If you had to play the Colts, Falcons and Saints every week I doubt many teams would be ranked very high, let's see where they rank after playing a couple of less prolific offenses.

you are the worst, most insecure writer out there. "NOTICE ME! I SAID THIS!", etc. will some south beach pretty boy take one for the team and give mando what he really needs?

3-1 and still not happy. Some of you commenters are morons.

Philbin is a rookie coach making rookie mistakes. I'm not sure he's any better than Sparano who remember started off 11-5.

In case some people haven't noticed we are a 3-1 team with wins over some quality teams. Even last week we played with the Saints well in the first half. It was asking a lot to ask T-hill to put this team on his back again and win the game. Other guys have to make plays consistently on both sides of the ball.

But before placing blame on Philbin for not using Wallace correctly, I would look towards Sherman. His play calling leaves me scratching my head at times.

The fact is we can win this game against the struggling Ravens and a lot of others with our defense...

Paging...Starks, Vernon, Shelby, Ellerbe, Wheeler, Solai, Jordan, Misi and Wake. You guys need to.. no matter who plays to step up this week and get to the QB. 11 sacks over the first 4 games is less than ideal with the Pro Bowl credentials of this talented veteran defensive front 7.

3-1 you fans are not happy!!! One bad game everyone has bad days!

C'mon, man, another stubborn trabuco!?

One of the hallmarks of great Coaches is flexibility, they let their Players participate in the decisions. That fake spike by Marino was called at the suggestion of Don Strock. That intentional safety taken by Griese which sealed the win was Larry Seiple's idea. And etc.

You throw it where they ain't(vacated), Terrell and Elvis, I mean.

Facts are that Tannehill has trouble throwing the deep ball. He never did it last year and so far this year it isn't there. Were 3-1 , 4-1 after today. We have to use Wallace in a way that works in our system...the deep ball doesn't look like that part of it. Throw him screens and little dump offs and let him use his speed. Go Fins!

You have trouble throwing deep to your right, son? Then, godda-mit, throw it to your left!

Good morning and welcome to Club Mando!

Home of the moron.

Sorry Oscar you are wrong....Strock was gone...that was Bernnie Kosar you were thinking of

ok, Paco.

Armando, their you go again you should be a football coach . Librial meda knows all . amazing your a newspaper man and not a nfl coach. you are so smart how did that happen.

"club source" yikes



A win today erases all the Dolphins problems. It's that simple. Bounce back today at home where you are supposed to win anyways and all is well in south Florida. If you had told me we could be 4 and 1 going into the bye week I would have signed a contract immediately. PHINS UP !!!!

Posted by: THE REAL DON SOLDY | October 06, 2013 at 09:09 AM

aka the real DICKK HEAD of this blog.

Throw the deep ball to Wallace! Throw the deep ball to Wallace! Good lord has anyone here ever watched a football game???

1) they are taking that away with man coverage + a safety over the top (interceptions/or incompletion on all but the most perfectly thrown ball)BTW people talk about THill underthrowing the deep ball Monday, which he did... Brady did it against the Falcons.. diff? His ROOKIE WR MADE THE PLAY OVER A PROBOWL SAFETY.. not every throw is perfect make a PLAY
2)There has to be time.. which means need to go max protect.. which means the D sees it coming
3) You don't throw the ball deep just for the sake of doing so or to appease a diva WR.. It is low % for the BEST QBs
4) Better ways to get Wallace involved.. medium range slants in stride.. then out run the D.. YAC YAC YAC, bubble screens, slip a tackle... YAC YAC YAC... Seems most of his routes allow the sideline to be a 2nd/3rd defender, which leaves little room for?...u guessed it YAC YAC YAC

The offense they run is closer to West coast which doesn't suit Wallace. But I have to agree with many of the posts that Sherman's play calling is weak. Use Thigpen more, keep more protection in for your QB, get Wallace in space, not over the middle. I still see a win today, Dolphins should roll!

Bernie was always a smart one. Don't really know what has happened to him to put him in that disastrous condition he is in now.

One thing I'll be watching today is if Tannehill turns things around from last week's game. The only thing that really, really bothered me from the Saints game was that after Tanne fumbled, his play seemed to regress to that of last year's - inaccurate passes, locking onto receivers, uncomfortable in the pocket, the interceptions. I thought I was watching him from last year! He has to recover from that, and play like he did in the first 3 games or things could go downhill really fast.
Ravens are still a good team, it will be a fight today.

And the wheels will start to fly off.
As usual.

I also want to see how Jordan does today. So far this year, he has one sack that was really negated by his facemask penalty. He made his presence felt against Atlanta, only to disappear against New Orleans. The Browns took Barkevious Mingo a few spots after we took Jordan, but Mingo has had more of an impact so far this year. He should be over his shoulder injury by now, has now had plenty of practice time, and even playing time, esp. at a position with a relatively small learning curve (compated to other positions). It's time he steps up.

Where do we go now,,,,,,,,,,,,,,guns and roses should perform pregame just like Metallica played for mo Rivera ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

We need to go back to basics blocking,tackling ,running without fumbling,no pick offs

We are far from a great team we need to do the little thing right

Fools gold.

2 adays, SCRAP the CBA.

Mando, you are correct again! This coaching staff acts like they won three Super Bowls in a row and are very reluctant to change their ways. They seem very penny wise and dollar foolish. One other thing, they are very poor at clock management and also are frequently without enough time outs at the end of the half/game.

I have played the game, position, flanker. I have no clue why they don't line Wallace up as the "z" receiver, either to the left or to the right. I was smaller and faster than most of the corners in our league back in the day and I used my speed to my advantage. Most of my yardage came across the middle and YAC's, very rare I ran a fly pattern, but when I did our QB also had problems putting air under the ball, but I managed to adjust my route and catch the darn thing anyway, not every time, but most of the time.
I know the comparison is not ideal, but my point is Wallace needs to be moved around and needs to be used on shorter routes, that way he can use his speed to get his YAC's, they will come, he just needs to settle for what we can give him.

@ WashPhinFan 10:05 ... Exactly what I was saying the "Bomb" is not the only way to make big plays (probably not the best way either)... YAC YAC YAC!

Phins by 5 today. I think T-hill responds and plays very well. I can see Miller getting the running game going today as well. Do me a favor Sherm and Philbin put D. Thomas on the sideline. Miller is our starting RB and deserves the bulk of the carries he has earned it. I don't care what excuses I hear..the guy is just not explosive like Miller. Also..Let's get Gillislee some carries and experience.

This team won't win many games following the formula it has usued.

The run game is weak regardless of how many carries any one gets.

We can't drive block...o-line doesn't finish blocks and both backs have poor vision.

We are better off spreading teams out attempting to use the short passing game.

Wrs don't threaten over the top because outside of Wallace no one can get deep.

Teams sit a safety over top of Wallace and squeeze up on Hartline and Gibson and there goes the passing game.

Fins are easy to defend. Aren't multiple on offense..vanilla run game...not many formations...few vertical routes. Just like last year....YAWN

Good column today Mando. I've noticed Tannehill likes to go to the left before but didn't realize (metrics)how much.
I think it's clear that it's a little of everyone's fault with Wallace. But it's up to the coaches to fix it. The truly disturbing part is, they don't think anything's wrong.

What a crappy article...

We said this before. Just throw the darned ball as far as you can and let Mike run under it. He'll get it.

@ Summers 10:11...I hate to say it, but if our coaching staff does not learn how to use or receivers properly, due to our poor line play, this team will not be able to contend for the Division. THill needs time to throw the ball, which he is not getting. I say switch spots with Wallace and Hartline, Wallace as the slot, and Hartline as the deep threat. I played more like Hartline than Wallace. Hartline seems to have a better click with THill and he catches just about everything that is thrown his way. I have no clue as to why this is, but to me it seems he runs better routes and has better focus than Wallace. Wallace just wants to run from point A to point B vertically and just about any track star can do that, but a true receiver can line up anywhere and run the entire route tree, so far I have not seen that from Wallace, maybe his fault or the fault of the coaching staff, but be as that may he isn't getting the job done when given the opportunity. I don't blame THill for looking the other way, if you can get your hands on the ball you should catch it every time or you may end up running sprints the entire game with no looks at all.

@WashPhinFan 10:30 .. Agreed. Don't understand the refusal to move the WR around, give diff looks.. Are they Just stubborn? Is one or all the WR incapable of it? I thought the reason they traded Bess was because he was not very versatile, couldn't run the whole route tree? I thought they wanted guys that COULD move around.. But they don't.. question is why? I can't believe it's the coaches based on the above... So A WR? maybe they think it will confuse Thill? (I doubt this.. he has flaws for sure, but I don't think moving WR around confusing him is one).. Just don't know

The main isssue with this offense is Sherman and Philbin, they need to stop giving so many carries to D.Thomas, he is not talented enough and doesn't produce enough to call for that many carries. Give L.Miller those carries and watch his numbers soar.

Philbin complained about the lack of explosive plays on the running game...LOL...stop feeding the ball to the wrong guy...

On the passing game, its the same slam routes to Hartline and comeback plays for everyone else...If this keeps up Tanny will throw 20+ INT and it will be on the coaches not him...

Yeah, I believe that there should be a contest between our three qbs; Moore, Devlin and Tannehill, to see which one can throw the deep ball best to Mike Wallace. This is worth the effort because when Wallace is able to do what he does best, then we will never be out of a game. The looser should be used as trade bait for another corner back. Wallace and Thigpin should be used together with Hartline or Gibson on the opposite side. This set will always yield good results!

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