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Dolphins need to let Mike Wallace run up on safeties

The last week of seemingly non-stop coverage of DeSean Jackson got me to thinking about, what else, the Miami Dolphins.

Much like the Eagles a season ago with Jackson, the Dolphins have a lightning-fast wide receiver in Mike Wallace. Unfortunately, the Miami coaching staff failed miserably to maximize Wallace and so he caught 73 passes for 930 yards and five touchdowns.

That's good, but not dynamic player good, not $60 million contract good.

But here's the thing, if the Dolphins in 2014 apply some of the principles to Wallace the Eagles applied last year to Jackson, there is a very good chance Wallace's statistics will grow to dynamic proportions.

And, with new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor coming from his job as the Eagles quarterback coach a year ago, he is perfectly suited to apply those principles to the equally explosive Wallace that Eagles coach Chip Kelly applied to Jackson.

More specifically, I'm talking about how the Eagles moved Jackson around -- sometimes putting him in the slot -- so that he could use his speed against a linebacker or a No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback and then deep against the safety.

If you'll look at the highlights below, you'll see at the 3:30 mark, Jackson in the slot against Tampa Bay. (I'm sure former Bucs personnel man and current Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey loved seeing this). And the Bucs play a zone with a LB under and a safety over the top.

Well, Jackson runs out of the LB's zone in a blink and the safety is not nearly fast enough to pick him up over the top.

The touchdown is caused because Jackson is extremely fast. But it also happens because the Eagles gave Jackson a matchup that allowed his gifts to simply blow away the Tampa scheme.

The Dolphins didn't do that last year with Wallace. He lined up 90 percent of the time on the right side of the line of scrimmage out wide. He rarely went into the slot. He rarely motioned.

Look again at the 5:27 mark of the highlights against the Vikings. The Eagles line up Jackson in the slot and the Vikings answer by matching up with safety Robert Blanton.

How do you think that went?

Jackson ran up on the safety and left him in the dust.

Lazor saw this time and again last season. He has a player on the Miami roster that offers exactly the same kind of explosion as Jackson.

If he's smart, Lazor will give Wallace the chance to run up on safeties in 2014 as Jackson did last year for his Eagles. The results could be dynamic.

 

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