Miami Dolphins: 5 Reasons Why Mike Wallace Will Be More Productive in 2014

5 Reasons Why Mike Wallace Will Be More Productive In 2014

Mike Wallace Miami Dolphins
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The Miami Dolphins are rumored to be shopping Mike Wallace this offseason after the speedster receiver disappointed in his first year with the club. It's unlikely the Dolphins will find a trade partner, though, considering the million cap hit a team would have to absorb to acquire him. That means the Dolphins are likely stuck with Wallace in 2014. Here are five reasons why his second year in Miami won't be as underwhelming as his first.

5. Fewer Drops

Mike Wallace Dolphins
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5. Fewer Drops

Mike Wallace Dolphins
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Wallace has never owned the surest of hands, but he dropped a career-high 11 balls in 2013 and forfeited a league-high 195 yards on dropped passes according to Pro Football Focus. In four years with the Steelers, Wallace dropped an average of six passes per season. A similar figure or lower in 2014 would help increase his production marginally if not substantially.

4. Diverse Formations

Bill Lazor
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4. Diverse Formations

Bill Lazor
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Former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman rarely had Wallace line up anywhere but the right perimeter of the formation in 2013. This allowed opposing secondaries to easily dictate the matchup. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will likely bring more creativity to the table after coaching under Chip Kelly's tutelage in Philadelphia last season. Wallace should see more time in the slot and on the opposite side of the formation in 2014.

3. More Play-Action Passes

Ryan Tannehill Lamar Miller
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3. More Play-Action Passes

Ryan Tannehill Lamar Miller
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Tannehill boasted the league's eight highest quarterback rating on play-action plays in 2013. Only 14.8 percent (21st) of Tannehill's drop backs were designed play-action passes last season, though, mainly because of an inconsistent running game. An improved running game leading to more play-action passing would be a great way to free up Wallace downfield more frequently and would allow Tannehill to showcase one of his strengths.

2. Reliable Pass Protection

Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs
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2. Reliable Pass Protection

Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs
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No Dolphins' statistic has been more discussed this offseason than the 58 sacks Miami's much-maligned offensive line conceded in 2013. It takes time for a receiver, even a speedster like Wallace, to separate deep downfield and a clean pocket to step into to throw the deep ball. With a reliable blindside protector in Branden Albert at left tackle, the Tannehill to Wallace connection should have more time to develop.

1. Improved Ryan Tannehill Deep Ball

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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1. Improved Ryan Tannehill Deep Ball

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
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Of those quarterbacks who played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps, Tannehill's deep ball accuracy ranked 32nd in the league last season. Many of his misfires occurred when Wallace was the target and open deep. Tannehill has the arm strength to connect with Wallace more often, but needs to become more in sync with the timing necessary to do so. Even slight improvement would make a huge difference for the Dolphins' passing game in 2014.


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