Miami Dolphins Land Big Fish as Mike Wallace Takes Talents to South Beach

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Mike Wallace to Miami Dolphins Is A Wonderful Thing

Mike Wallace to Miami Dolphins Is A Wonderful Thing
Jonathan Brownfiled-USA TODAY SPORTS

From day one in the 2012 season, literally referring to preseason game no.1 vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I was taken aback as I noticed every opposing defensive-back paying extremely little attention to the Miami Dolphins receiver they were covering. Instead all eyes were locked on Ryan Tannehill as it was crystal clear all season that the Miami offense was going to rely on short and quick passes primarily (if not exclusively). DBs were uber tight to the line of scrimmage all season long waiting for the inevitable short drop to look for Davone Bess or Brian Hartline on a short pass. The results, as we know, were a poor rookie season from Tanny. As of Tuesday March 12 the entire make-up of this offense has changed, and for the better.

I also recall regular season opener vs the Houston Texans where Tanny tried a deep ball to Anthony Armstong that would have gone for at least 20-30 yards, but the pass was off and AA could not come up with it (AA would have had a chance to score if he made the only DB miss). In 2012 Miami trotted out AA, plus auditioned guys like Clyde Gates, Jeff Fuller, Legedu Naanee, Chris Hogan, Rishard Matthews, Marlon Moore, Jabar Gaffney, and most recently Armon Binns as players they wanted to be successful running deep routes that would allow Bess and Hartline to do their thing underneath. It did not work out.

Enter Mike Wallace...

This slideshow article will look at M-Wall as a player, what he means for the 2013 Dolphins, plus what Dolphins players benefit from his signing, and also things like how has he fared vs AFC East foes. As you click through the pages if you enjoy the read please do pass it on (much appreciated).

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Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace
Don McPeak-USA TODAY SPORTS

The 26 year old is one of a handful of NFL WRs who require added attention on every snap. He has the wheels to get behind defenders to stretch the field, plus contrary to some reports out there he has developed into a fine WR who is significantly more than just a deep-ball threat. I think Tanny-to-Wallace will be massive on deep balls, yes, but also on screen passes and underneath routes.

Even if I am wrong about Wallace being effective all-around his deep-ball capabilities at the very least open things underneath for Hartline and company (Bess may be traded - I doubt it but the rumors are out there...and who knows at this point what the TE situation will be for Miami in 2013). The same DBs who crept up to the line and had both peepers locked on Tanny in 2012 are the same ones that will be having a word with their defensive coordinator when they return to the bench having been beaten in 2013.

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Brandon Marshall

Brandon Marshall
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY SPORTS

Many "Dolfans" may point to the fact that when the team had Brandon Marshall, it did not translate to wins. True, but in his two seasons in Miami the Beast totaled only nine touchdowns, while in his four seasons as a pro Wallace has averaged eight touchdowns . The last time a Miami player caught that many scores was Chris Chambers way back in 2005. Also, keep in mind Wallace has a career average of over 17 yards per catch while Marshall has never been near that gaudy number (for his career Marshall is at 12.7).

Another tidbit for you, and this one took a long time for me to check as I had to go through season after season, but in the last two years Wallace has multiple catches that went for 82 or more yards. The last time a Dolphin broke a catch-and-run for 82 or more yards was on November 2, 1986 when Dan Marino hit Mark Duper for an 85 yard score in a 28-7 victory over the Houston Oilers.

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Mike Wallace vs AFC East

Mike Wallace vs AFC East
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY SPORTS

The Dolphins are desperately trying to become relevant again in the National Football League, but step one is becoming relevant in the AFC East. Here is a breakdown of Wallace's career production vs the division...

vs Buffalo Bills: One game, three catches for 33 yards (meh, nothing there to get excited about, but we can surely anticipate more in the future).

vs New York Jets: Wallace averages six catches for 88 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game vs the Jets.

vs New England Patriots: Wallace averages 7.5 catches and a lofty 103 yards, plus a touchdown per game vs the Pats (Yay! Give me some more of that s'il vous plaît!).

Also worth noting is the 2013 Dolphins will play the AFC North so Wallace will surely have tidbits on how to combat the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and of course the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In addition to that the 2013 'Phins also have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts on their schedule and Wallace has torched those teams in the past.

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Lamar Miller Will Benefit From Mike Wallace Signing

Lamar Miller Will Benefit From Mike Wallace Signing
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SPORTS

New Dolphins lead dog at running back Lamar Miller will now have his success tied to Wallace as teams will not be able to stack the box regardless of how well the University of Miami product does. This is an exciting scenario for "Dolfans" as Miller will be healthy in 2013 and is a home run threat. If Miami can shore up their offensive line then Miller would only need to get to the next level in order to break off a big run. Having Wallace command extra attention means less second-level defenders for Miller to beat en route to a big play.

Reggie Bush averaged a whopping 4.7 yards per carry as a Dolphin, and he scored a dozen rushing touchdowns combined in his two seasons with them. For the most part Bush made things happen despite teams ganging up on him, but Miller is more explosive and should see more open field opportunities than Bush ever did. I cannot go all the way to say that Miller will be a 4.7 ypc RB in 2013, but he won't be far off that average and he has a chance to eclipse Bush's average of six TDs annually as he will benefit from today's Dolphins news.

As mentioned earlier we may see personnel changes at slot-WR, and possibly at tight end, but any Dolphin skill player taking the field going forward will be assisted greatly by the attention that Wallace commands.

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Mike Wallace Signing Gets Two Thumbs Up From Me

Mike Wallace Signing Gets Two Thumbs Up From Me
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY SPORTS

As you can tell I love this signing. Many will point to the contract terms as a reason to not like the addition, but for me I understand the want to add a rare talent like Wallace at any cost. The organization has the money for such a splash, plus Stephen Ross is desperate to bring winning back to South Beach (football-wise of course as the Miami Heat are doing a-okay).

Even if it is true that Miami overpayed for Wallace, did they overpay by $10 million? No way. $5 million, I personally doubt that. $3-4 million? Perhaps, but a team with money to spend and an absolute need for his specific talents should be pulling this sort of trigger.

Tannehill is the 17th different QB for the Dolphins since Dan Marino so I love the idea of trying to surround him with mega talent as this fan-base has had enough of the QB futility and are ready to explode their support behind a legit NFL QB. Wallace has perhaps never even met Tannehill, but he has instantly become Tanny's BFF.

Quick note, do not believe the hype that Wallace is a drop machine as A) look into it deeper and you will see that is simply not accurate...and B) for every drop he also snags several balls that have no business being caught and he makes plays.

@craigballard77 ... craigballard77@myself.com


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