Lack Of Deep Balls Might Be Helping Mike Wallace More Than He Thinks

Sure, the deep passes to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace are down so far this season under the direction of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but he is still on pace to have a solid season, and the process might just be increasing his market value as well.

Despite the lack of deep receptions, the Steelers fourth year receiver has 36 catches on the season and that equals the most in his career through the first seven games played (36 receptions in 2011).  In addition, the player that most still like to refer to as a one-trick pony has tied his career high of eight receptions twice this season and he has now done that five times in his career.

What Wallace can do deep is well documented on tape and every defensive coordinator that the Steelers play going forward has that in the back of their mind. That threat alone is part of the reason why Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller all have 22 or more receptions so far through the first seven games.

Despite some comments that Wallace made following the game against the Washington Redskins that can be interpreted as him not feeling like he was part of that game-plan, the receiver said on 93.7 The Fan this week that he understands that the opportunities for him to make plays is still there.

“Right now, we’re not getting the yards per catch that we want, but we’re still getting opportunities, so we just have to take some short ones and make them big,” Wallace said.

Sure, Wallace has had some drops this season, but despite those and the lack of the deep ball, he is still on pace to record 82 catches, 1050 yards, and 9 touchdowns. That is nothing to sneeze at when you consider all of the weapons that this offense has and the way that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likes to spread the ball around. It also shows that Wallace can put up consistent stats no matter how he is used and it will forever dispel the notion that he is a one-trick pony in the process.

In the end, Wallace might just be able to ride this new shorter passing game of Haley\’s to an even bigger payday following the season. This assumes of course that he is allowed to walk as an unrestricted free agent following the season and is not hit with the franchise tag. Both scenarios are equally possible at this time.

As far as the deep ball goes, Wallace will have those opportunities going forward and they could come as soon as Sunday against the New York Giants, a team that has already allowed 7 passing touchdowns of 25 yards or more and 35 passing plays of 20 yards or more.

In the end, it is realistic that Wallace comes close to matching his totals of 2011. He will likely just go about doing it a different way. How is that bad? The proof will be on the tape and Wallace for one should be excited about that.

  • Cols714

    Wallace is a great player. I don’t know why Steelers fans have soured on him so much. Maybe it’s because of one unsubstantiated rumor that he was asking for super big bucks. Heck maybe he was, but really fans, why sour on a player as good as Mike Wallace. He’s still very good with a 60% or so catch rate which also very good.

    Let’s try to cheer him on instead of knocking everything he does.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Wallace returning to Pitt will all be about the numbers. For instance, if he wants 10 million per year and Bowe wants 8 million per year for the same length….I probably would allow Wallace to walk and go get Bowe.

  • Don

    Would they even need to do that? If they decide not to shell out the money for Wallace, I’d guess they’ll just try to find another inexpensive gem. They’ve definitely shown a knack for it.

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    So its okay that he didn’t show up for any training camp while all the other players and coaches were there? Then when it comes game time he drops numerous passes that are considered “easy” by the NFL standard. Yeah, thats why I am sour toward him and will continue to be until his attitude changes.

  • Steve Duncan

    I think any gains in his FA Value will be offset by the drops and reluctance to get hit, unless he changes those in the second half of the season.

  • Cols714

    Wallace and Brown have about the same exact catch rate. Where on earth did this myth come that he drops tons of passes and is reluctant to get hit?

    He had a bad game vs Cincinnati. Is that all that people remember? Or do the previous seasons of being a great WR matter as well?

    And yes, who cares if he missed training camp. He showed up in shape and hasn’t been running the wrong routes and seems to know the playbook just fine. If I was a veteran NFL player I’d want to miss training camp too. I have no problem with this at all.

  • snarf

    For some reason I have a feeling you did not sour on Ward after his holdout. What was the difference?

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    I actually felt that Ward was underpaid and needed a new contract. I also felt Wallace deserved a new contract – but should have handled it better. I am not sure but I think Ward also did show up to training camp (though he did not take part until a new contract was agreed to). Wallace was nowhere to be found – unless you were in Louisiana or Florida. Plus Hines Ward wasn’t learning a new offense, he had already established himself as a star player who put up numbers the entire season. His stats didn’t take a nose dive during the second half of the season. Not to mention you are comparing a future hall of famer to a pretty good player.

  • Cols714

    Wallace showed up in shape and hasn’t missed a beat with knowing the playbook. I really don’t understand this critique of him.

    Do I think he should’ve signed the offered contract? Sure I do, I’m not sure he’s going to get a ton more than that on the FA market. I also completely understand that he wants to be paid as much money as he can get. Football players tend to have short careers they need to get while the getting’s good.

  • SteelSpine

    Nice job, I had to think reading that. Intuition like that is what people dont get on mainstream sports sites which just debate the generic “which team’s QB would you rather have”.

    Was funny that after Wallace missed all camp & preseason, Wallace came right out of the shoot to be the receiver who caught TDs for us in our first several regularSeason games. I admit I did not expect that.

  • Steve Duncan

    Keep voting me down while Wallace keeps dropping balls or screwing up routes. In the end, a depressed value only helps the Steelers if they want to re-sign him anyway.

  • Steve Duncan

    I agree, I can’t see them going for Bowe.

  • Steve Duncan

    I wouldn’t say he hasn’t missed a beat. His timing with Ben has been off, and his route running hasn’t been all that good even by his standards.

  • Steve Duncan

    Catch rate are drops are two different things, for starters. Second, anyone can see that Wallace doesn’t like contact. Does it always affect his play on the field? No. But he clearly is not a fan of contact.