The Miami Dolphins have made it clear this off-season that they are doing the best they can to swing for the fences. With what most people saw as somewhat of a reach, they selected high-upside defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan with the number three overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. The upside of Jordan seemed to outweigh the risk that comes along with him.
They also made one of the bigger moves in free agency when they signed high-profile wide receiver Mike Wallace, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace is coming off a down year where he caught just 64 balls on 119 targets for just 836 yards and eight touchdowns. There’s no doubt he has the potential to catch 80 passes for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in any season, though.
In acquiring Wallace, they also brought in his enigmatic personality that has been known to make waves at time throughout his young career. He hasn’t wasted much time in doing so as a Dolphin, either, with comments from earlier this week when he said that Miami’s starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has the potential to be as good as Ben Roethlisberger.
Though Tannehill is a young quarterback with little experience that can still grow, that is an absolutely ridiculous claim by Wallace. Wallace’s comments weren’t referring to Roethlisberger’s ability to escape pressure because that would just be too crazy. However, even as a passer, it’s hard to build an argument that Tannehill can be as good as Roethlisberger.
In his rookie season as a starter for Miami, Tannehill started all 16 games and threw the ball 484 times. However, he completed just 58.3 percent of his passes for 3,294 yards and threw 13 interceptions to just 12 touchdowns. He also added five fumbles to the mix, as well. In comparison, Roethlisberger played in just 13 games last season due to injury and still completed 63.3 percent of his 449 passes for 3,265 yards and 26 touchdowns while only throwing eight INTs and fumbling five times.
For reference as well, in Big Ben’s rookie season in 2004, Roethlisberger played in 14 games and was limited in his workload. He threw just 295 passes, but completed 66.4 percent of those throws for 2,621 yards and 17 touchdowns to 11 INTs. He wasn’t thrown into the fire quite like Tannehill, but he was still more effective.
An argument can be made that Tannehill may have Big Ben beat in some aspects of the game. Wallace referenced Tannehill’s arm-strength in his comments, saying that it might be a little better than Roethlisberger’s, which might actually be the case. However, what Tannehill has not shown is the same accuracy, confidence or decision-making that Roethlisberger possesses. Until he shows any semblance of those types of things at an elite level, he’s not going to be in Big Ben’s class.
It’s understandable why Wallace would say these things. He’s a receiver coming to a new team that wants to show that he believes in his team and in his quarterback and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s actually a good thing. However, that doesn’t change the fact that his claims in comments about Tannehill are, simply, wrong.