2013 was a letdown season for Mike Wallace, to say the least. In his first year as member of the Dolphins he had 73 receptions for 930 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Wallace was targeted 142 times the most in his career and his 73 receptions was also the most of his career. His previous reception total was 72, only one less than in 2013 but he caught it on almost 40 less passes.
But the biggest surprise of Wallace’s season was his average per catch. It was at a career low of 12.7, 13.1 was his previous low the year before. The issue Wallace has had over the last two seasons is that he was the number one target, in Mia and even in Pittsburg.
His average was at least 16.6 in his three previous seasons, the change over the last two isn’t because his talent is declining, but because he has been used wrong.
Two years ago in Pittsburg Wallace tried to prove he was a number one receiver and it didn’t work. The same happened in Mia, but this time it was under a bigger spotlight because he was paid like a top five receiver.
Wallace is a fantastic weapon on offense, possibly the best in the league, but he isn’t a number one receiver. The biggest issue wasn’t him an Tannehill not being able to connect on the deep ball or his inability to catch with his hands instead of his chest.
Wallace’s downfall was that he was always lined up in the same spot, on the right side of the offense, never being able to cause a matchup problem by being to move around the field. 130 of Wallace’s 142 targets came from the right side of the offense, that is 20 more than the next closest player.
Wallace barely did anything when not on the left side, 12 targets, 4 catches for 31 yards. This year that number is going to increase drastically. Wallace has talked about how new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is moving him all over the offense, he even caught a touchdown pass out of the backfield. Veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan added that it is the fastest offense he has ever played against.
Wallace isn’t going to earn his contract by being top 5 in the league in targets, receptions or even yards. Instead, Wallace will earn the money by averaging at least 15 yards a catch and being able to use his speed to make his own plays. With Mike Sherman out and Bill Lazor in, Wallace has the potential to be a game changing receiver, even if he and Tannehill still have issues with the deep ball.