Prior to his final season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace missed all of training camp because of contract dispute and as a result, he said Wednesday during his media conference call that he thinks then-new offensive coordinator Todd Haley misused him in the offense last year..
“I think it was a little bit of a challenge for him to use me,” Wallace said. “It was (his) first year, and I wasn’t in training camp, and he got a chance to see other guys and what they were able to do.”
Wallace, who according to Pro Football Focus caught 10 of 27 passes for five touchdowns on balls thrown 20 yards or more down the field in 2011, only caught 6 of 31 passes for four touchdowns on balls thrown 20 yards or more down the field in his final year with the Steelers. It should be noted that Wallace also missed the season finale last season with an injury as well.
While there’s not much of a difference between those two sets of deep attempt numbers, it was quite obvious that Haley’s offense was a lot less vertical in nature than the one ran by previous offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. In fact, only 10.5% of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s dropbacks in 2012 included passes thrown 20 yards or more down the field as opposed to 13.3% in 2011 and 13.9% in 2010.
While only 10% of the dropbacks this season by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill have resulted in passes being thrown 20 yards or more down the field this season, Wallace has been targeted 24 times with the deep ball. Those 24 passes, however, have only resulted in five catches and one touchdown and only seven of those passes were deemed catchable.
35 of Wallace’s 56 receptions this season have come nine or less yards down the field and that has been on 43 pass attempts. However, Wallace only as a 54.9% catch rate of the 102 times that he’s been targeted this season and that equates to a dismal 35.6% catch rate on balls thrown 10 or more yards down the field to him. That’s only slightly better than the 33.9% catch rate that he had last season with the Steelers on passes thrown 10 or more yards down the field.
Here is something for you and Wallace to chew on. Fellow Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline has caught 63.3% of the 98 passes thrown his way this season. In addition, Hartline has caught 27 of 51 (52.9%) of the passes thrown to him that have traveled 10 or more yards down the field and five of 10 passes (50%) thrown 20 or more yards down the field.
While I am busy piling on, here is one other stat you might find interesting. Of the 16 third down passes thrown to Wallace so far this season, only three have resulted in first downs. Of the 23 thrown to Hartline, 10 have moved the chains.
Maybe Wallace wasn’t misused by Haley after all. Instead, maybe Wallace is just a bubble screen wide receiver that can deliver the occasional deep homerun ball on the right side of the offense as long as his quarterback doesn’t over or under throw him.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was wrong all along about Wallace. He’s not a one-trick pony, he’s a one and a half trick pony, who parlayed those one and a half tricks into a five-year, $60 million contract with the Dolphins. Hartline, however, who has multiple tricks, was given a five-year, $30.775 million contract this past offseason. Sounds like some misuse is going on down in Miami right now with Wallace and it’s a misuse of money that was paid to him.