Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Mike Wallace: Big plays are coming
By James Walker
DAVIE, Fla. -- At this point, Miami Dolphins No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace has heard the question dozens of times about his lack of deep-ball chemistry with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
So much is the case that Wallace is growing weary of the nearly weekly inquiries.
"Not almost tired," Wallace said with a slight grin. "I've been tired of it."
But Wallace understands why the lack of successful deep balls have been a hot topic among fans, local media and sports-talk radio in Miami. The Dolphins signed Wallace last year to a $60 million contract specifically to bring his world-class speed and big-play ability to Miami. However, the chemistry between Wallace and Tannehill on those "splash" plays remains a work in progress one year later.
Most recently, in last weekend's preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys, Tannehill misread Wallace on a deep pattern and threw the ball inside while Wallace ran freely on the outside. It would have been a big touchdown for Miami's first-team offense, which was held to just three points on six drives.
Tannehill and Wallace also have missed on most deep balls during training camp, which has some wondering if the big play will ever be consistent between this pair. Still, Wallace remains confident.
"It's cool, it's part of the territory," Wallace said of the questioning. "Until we hit it, people have a right to ask that question and that's something we can't avoid until we hit it and get rid of the question. It's not going to be one time where we hit it and then it's over. We've got to continually do it, every day. That's why we work, we keep working."
Wallace is coming off his best preseason game of the summer. He caught six passes for 67 yards -- with each completion coming from Tannehill. But the missed opportunity on the deep pass is the play that stands out most among Dolphins fans.
Most of the deep passing has been an issue with the quarterback. Tannehill's deep ball is arguably the weakest throw in his arsenal. Oftentimes, he leaves passes short where Wallace has to slow down and allow the defensive back to catch up and make a play.
Tannehill and Wallace spent time in the offseason working together on big plays. The pair have the potential to take Miami's offense under Bill Lazor to new heights in 2014 once they prove they are consistently on the same page.
"It's going to come," Wallace said confidently. "It's going to present itself again in two weeks (during the regular season). We're going to have a lot more opportunities. Hopefully, we can cash in and get a lot more touchdowns than last year."