Mike Wallace Admits Lack Of Focus Has Contributted To Drops & Poor Production This Season

The catches are down and the drops are up this season for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace and on Thursday the frustration that has building for the last several weeks resulted in his admission that he has been losing focus in games that he is not involved in early on.

“I’ve never been a guy who dropped balls or just lose focus,” Wallace said, via a report by Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The first three years I was always involved, so you just warmed up in games, and you were just into it.”

“But when you don’t get the ball for two-and-half quarters, you lose focus. But that’s the type of offense this is. We’re spreading it around, so you’re not going to get as many targets. When you get them, you have to make the best of them.”

Wallace, who has 52 catches for 616 yards entering Week 14 of the season, has been limited to just 13 catches for 93 yard in the last 4 games, and also admitted on Thursday that he has had problems staying positive at times this season

“The toughest thing is staying positive through three quarters because you’re not going to get the ball every time,” via the report by Paulk. “You have to be ready to deliver when it comes your way. That’s been the biggest thing I’ve had to learn this year.

Wallace was a restricted free agent this past offseason and tendered at a first round level. After not getting any offer sheets he staged an unsuccessful holdout that resulted in him missing all of training camp. He finally relented and signed his $2.74 million tender late in the preseason likely knowing that this could be his last season in Pittsburgh

Following the loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 Wallace was somewhat demoted on the Steelers depth chart when the name of fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was added beside his as a co-starter. Wallace admitted to the media at that time that he was frustrated, but didn\’t go into specifics as to why until Thursday.

Despite the depth chart shake up, Wallace did wind up starting last Sunday in the win over Baltimore Ravens, but he only played 41 snaps, which were fewer than both Sanders and Antonio Brown played. Although he did catch 5 balls for 44 yards in the game, he did have a key drop on a free play right before halftime that would have the resulted in the offense having the ball right around the Ravens 20 yard-line. That drive ended in the Steelers settling for a field goal.

With 4 games now left in the regular season, and the Steelers still very much alive in the playoff race, it\’s probably good that Wallace now has this off of his chest and out there in the open instead of keeping it bottled up inside. It is time now for some of the team leaders, preferable quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, to step in and try to get Wallace to keep his on the prize the rest of the way.

What Wallace has to keep in mind here is that he is just 21 catches shy of beating his 72 catches of last season, which would set a new career high for him. Sure, he will not get close to the 1,000 yard mark, but he is averaging over 7 targets a game this season, so all he has to do is catch everything thrown his way. Yardage being down aside, the catch totals will ensure that his market value remains high when he heads into free agency following the season. He will increase that value more should he come up big in the playoffs, assuming of course the Steelers make it that far

At this point Wallace can\’t put the toothpaste back in the tube so he better just make the best of the situation right now. The writing is now clearly on the wall that he will be out of Pittsburgh next season just like Plaxico Burress was when his rookie contract was up. The Steelers will not slap him with the franchise tag and he will be the big winner on the wide receiver free agent market just a year later than he was hoping for.

The Steelers just don\’t pay big guaranteed money to wide receivers and they will not break that tradition with their former third round draft pick. They will address the wide receiver position again in the draft and move on, just like they did with Burress.

The drops for Wallace may or may not continue from this point forward, but if he does not get his focus and positive state of mind back, he very well might drop his last opportunity to own a Super Bowl championship ring and you really can\’t put a value on that.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Maurice_hill_district

    So according to Wallace the solution to his dropped balls is, throw the ball to him more? Man thats low, agent has obviously been in his ear spinning dropped balls into throw more at him only so he can get a bigger offer $ after this season. Amazing.

  • TJimmy

    So how many targets per game was he getting last year?

  • steeltown

    Mmhmm.. ok.. well.. thats a little ridiculous, look at guys like Cotchery or Heath or other guys across the league that over the course of their careers or single games have not been consistently targeted and they still deliver when the ball is thrown their way. In other words, DO YOUR JOB!

  • steeltown

    Ha! so true

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I am sorry to tell Mike this, but his lack of focus has NOTHING to do with catches or targets. The math just doesn’t support this. Look at his career stats:

    2009: 16 GP 39 Rec 72 Tgts 756 yards
    2010: 16 GP 60 Rec 100 Tgts 1257 yards
    2011: 16 GP 72 Rec 113 Tgts 1193 yards
    2012: 12 GP 52 Rec 93 Tgts 616 yards

    So what do these stats tell us.

    The most receptions he has ever had is 72. With 4 games remaining and averaging just over 4 catches per game, he is currently on pace to have….69 catches on the season. Catch just 3 of those drops and he is right where he was last year in # of catches.

    The most targets he has ever had is 113. With 4 games remaining and averaging 7.75 targets a game, he is currently on pace for 124 targets on the year…about .7 targets more per game this year than last.

    So why the drops? IMO, the drops are their simply due to the TYPE of pass. He no longer is running deep on every play. That is what BA wanted. The focus to just run really fast and catch the ball is on a completely different level than running a 4 yard out, where you must be precise and focus on 4 yards and a hard cut out. It is completely different. Sorry man. Your lack of focus….is all on you.

  • r4kolb

    Well said Kenny…well said

  • r4kolb

    As has been said before….1 trick pony… I hear the Raiders love that kind of receiver. Cya Mike. r4 no like Mike..

  • steeltown

    Well said.. and I’m sure it has nothing to do with him holding out in the offseason and training camp or the fact that his mind is on getting paid {sarcasm}

  • kev4heels

    No offense, but I’m ok with Mike walking. His game doesn’t warrant the price tag he is seeking. Great deep threat, but doesn’t fight for balls, run good routes or put forth extra effort.

  • steeltown

    I somewhat agree. I think he would be worth an A.Brown type contract, around $6-7million a year, not $10+million. Also, I’d like to reiterate how I love what the Organization did when they gave Brown his contract extension during Wallace’s holdout, basically saying, Brown comes to work and he practices hard and he is driven to be the best, so we’ll pay him. Hint Hint Wallace

  • James Brown

    In their long-standing tradition of signing Steeler cast-offs, I predict the Jets will sign him to profligate free agent contract.

  • Clint Martin

    He will not be a Steeler next year.THE END!
    He just said it and proved it he is not a big money receiver so why would the Steelers pay him, they won’t.
    A big money receiver get’s on board with the new offense and FOCUSES on his job and catches everything thrown his way.
    He will get better money elsewhere

  • Clint Martin

    Receivers that start dropping the ball or don’t get there feet in bounds get less looks at the ball.
    Let’s face it when Brown got hurt it really affected the offense with Wallace out Sanders would take over his spot in the morning.
    Wallace couldn’t step up his game to be the best receiver on the team when Brown was out.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Last year he averaged 7 targets a game. This year…7.75.

  • JT

    It’s a shame that fans will never let his holdout go. Because really, it looks like everyone held out but Heath. I love AB and I’m glad we got him locked up, but he hasn’t been the playmaker he was last year either. 1 TD and no 100 yard games isn’t enough for me. (Also, somebody tell him that he isn’t ever allowed to try and throw a back shoulder pass again! ) And I’m a Sanders fan, but he hasn’t exactly won my confidence over yet. He still seems fragile and isn’t a mature player yet either. I’d like to see him stay in town, but for the right price. He’s every bit as replaceable as Mike.

    Other than Big Money, I’ve grown a little annoyed by the Young Money Crew. Someone needs to smack that ball out of AB’s hand when he makes a first down at their own 28. Play the game. I think it’s gotten to ALL their heads, and Mike is getting the worst of it. Partially deservedly so, but also not.

  • Clint Martin

    Here I go Justin Hunter 2nd round 2013 NFL draft big hands from Tennessee Vols
    6’4″ 200lbs

  • JT

    Brown hasn’t flourished in this new offense either. I’d like to see what the whole group would look like with a year under their belt. I don’t wanna break the bank for Wallace, but he’s at least worth an AB-level deal and I think they’ll offer him that. We’ll see what the market looks like. But I think he realizes how much better Ben makes him. I don’t see him running to Ryan in Miami, but if the Patriots come knocking he’s gone and I couldn’t blame him for it.

  • steeltown

    I think Sanders could be retained for relatively cheap, he’s a restricted FA next year, so they’ll probably tender him, but he doesnt have eye popping stats to warrant a huge offer, so the Steelers could re-sign him for a good cap friendly price.. hopefully

  • JT

    Who cares if Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich were his QBs then, right? His last good game was his last game with Ben. Wallace’s great catch won that game for the Steelers.
    It’s not an excuse, but it’s a factor.

  • TraceGamble

    He needs a mentor to get his head straight. His attitude is what precipitates a downward spiral: pouting -> lost focus -> dropped balls -> lost production -> demotion -> pouting -> lost focus…
    He doesn’t deserve LFitz money… LFitz fights for catches, and Wallace doesn’t. He’ll let an INT happen and then not try to tackle or tag the defender down. Get rid of him now while other teams think he has value.

  • JT

    I don’t see anyway they can offer him a contract with the resigning and restructuring they have coming this winter. But then you run a risk of him earning a big offer if Wallace is gone and he’s your #2. Tough situation for Colbert.

  • steeltown

    I agree on both fronts, I do think with another year under their belts in the new Offense they’ll be more comfortable, more productive.. and I also think the Steelers will offer Wallace another deal, with the amount somewhere between A.Brown and Desean Jacksons contract

  • steeltown

    Agreed, knowing the Steelers, they’ll tender him in 2013, but then if he has a big year he’ll want more money come 2014

  • JT

    That Desean contract really worked out well! HAH!

  • JT

    2nd round? I’ll pass.

  • steeltown

    Ha! True, his touchdowns are down, but he has 700yds rec. with a 16yds per catch avg, he’ll get close to 1,000yds this year and that’s with Vick and Foles throwing to him

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    I wonder where all the Wallace supports are that were giving me a hard time a few weeks ago when I said this guy had a bad attitude and that he showed his true colors this off season. Good riddance Mike. Take that terrorist sympathizer with you too.

  • Mike Carroll

    GREAT COMMENT. I was just about to post Wallace’s target stats as well. But no need. Sorry to see Mike make a weak excuse that he is not getting the ball enough, especially since it’s not true.

  • Mike Carroll

    I have no problem with Wallace holding out. And I think he should try to earn as much money as possible. I just don’t think he is worth a big contract.

    I do agree all the young money guys have been disappointing to varying degrees this season. Hopefully, letting Wallace walk after the season makes some impression on Sanders and Brown.

  • Clint Martin

    the catch that he initally dropped it then fell between his legs and he rolled on his back and pulled it up? That Great Catch?

    LMAO that was simply luck The best paid receiver on the team catches it in the air at its highest point.

  • TJimmy

    So the facts show that he is getting targeted but he is dropping the ball, literally.

  • Clint Martin

    This new offense he isn’t going to get those big numbers anymore. They use tight ends more and check it down to the running backs.

    Heath Miller has only 3 less yards receiving but has 4 more catches.

    Arians offense was a wide open spread the field and chuck it around the yard

  • Clint Martin

    The other thing he struggles doing is adjusting to the ball and going after it ,He waits for the ball to get to him instead of coming back to the ball.
    I can go on and on.

  • steeltown

    Good point

  • steeltown

    For the record I like Sanders far more than Wallace, he’s a better blocker and a better route runner, just not as much experience due to injury and depth purposes and a half a step slower

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.duncan.77 Steve Duncan

    Just one more thing that decreases the likelihood of his return. As others have posted, the numbers don’t support his claims. Not only that, but he is paid to essentially focus and produce for 60 minutes a week. He is tacitly admitting that he is having trouble adjusting to the new offense, which isn’t likely to go away soon. Not a smart comment on his end in a contract year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.duncan.77 Steve Duncan

    My only problem with that line of thinking is that, at least before last Sunday, Brown, Sanders and Miller all have more plays over 20+ yards than Wallace. Sure, they are less than last year, but if they can get them in this offense, why can’t Wallace?

    Like Kenneth said, it’s the types of routes he is being asked to run.

  • Cletus

    I vomit too much when I drink. If I drank more, this wouldn’t happen.

  • Cletus

    Byron’s body temperature is too high, making the ball too warm. Charlie’s is too low, making the ball too cold. Ben is juuuuust right.

  • Cletus

    Byron throws it too hard. Charlie too soft. Ben is jurist right.

  • Cletus

    [juuust]

  • Cletus

    He needs a mentos to get that foot smell out of his mouth.

  • Cletus

    Not me–I dubbed him Mike Wallet in July. Think Make Wallet is too much? Lets stick with Mike.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Good point. Hines used to always say, that on Steelers a WR isnt going to get many opportunities so u better be mentally ready to catch it the few times it comes yur way.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Seconding the motion. TD celebrations had cost Steelers in field position when games were too close, & it was like our recievers didnt care about the cost. Tomlin then stopped much of that but it could hsppen again.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreed about Mendenhall.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Yep to all.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Good finding. Throwing to him more did not improve his catches. Some balls were way off target this year tho. But the ones bouncing off both his hands were a couple times too many.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dvnwarren Devin Warren

    It’s the offense and the dropped passes that’s the problem. Whatever the problem he got , he need to get over it. This is a team sport

  • mokhkw

    I’m wondering when the mandatory spending of the entire salary cap under the new CBA comes in effect. Is it next year or 2014? I’m thinking this may have an influence on how much the Steelers offer Wallace as the days of “saving” cap money will be over for all teams soon.

    Holding out when a new OC & system was being installed was a mistake, if he’d reported he would likely have gotten the same deal he has now (possibly even more) & his production would likely also be up, putting him in a better bargaining position for FA.

    IMO he’s not a true “No.1″ WR like a Fitzgerald, Johnson, Wayne, Green etc. He’s a deep threat, great at tracking the long ball & faster than anyone on the field but as for the short & intermediate stuff….it’s easy to tell that he’s not keen on getting hit. I put Victor Cruz in the same category; once he gets hit he goes missing and doesn’t run the under-15 yard stuff with any real enthusiasm. No issues with Brown & Sanders on that point as far as I’ve seen.

    In short, he’s not a good fit for Haley’s type of Offense. So what teams would go after Wallace in FA? TBH I can’t see a Manning, Brees, Brady etc. being that keen on getting him as a No.1 WR as he is still mostly a 1-Trick pony with un-reliable hands so I’m thinking that he’ll get the best offers from WR needy teams who have average QBs (Jaguars, Jets, Dolphins come to mind) and not much else around him.

    We all know how this story goes; he’ll get a new contract, won’t perform up to expectations because he doesn’t have a top-tier QB throwing to him & gets cut after 2 years when he refuses to re-negotiate his contract. After that he’ll bounce around a few teams & never earn the awards or $s he could have if he’s stayed in the Burgh with Big Ben in his prime.

    In short, he’ll be Santonio Holmes.

    He’s still young so, if he’s smart, he works out a 4-year deal with the Steelers & has a good chance of topping 1000 yard every season and being a regular to the Playoffs (and hopefully gets a ring or 2). After that he’ll be in his late 20’s ( chances are he’ll have had some sort of knee or leg injury which will slow him down by then) and Ben will be 34 & getting to the age when QBs start to slow down. He’ll have the resume (hopefully) and still be young enough to get a big $ contract to finish out his career for a bottom-tier team.

    Personally, I’d let him walk & draft a bigger target with more reliable hands, either a big WR or a Gronk/Graham type H-Back, both of which are a better fit for Haley’s O.

  • robster013

    Wallace is just too one dimensional for my taste. Granted he’s got great speed, but he does not aggressively fight for passes. It takes a helluva lot more than speed to be a receiver worthy of a monster contract, he needs to earn that contract first.