The Miami Dolphins certainly brought in a fair share of free agents this off-season but WR Mike Wallace is a name that stands above all of the others. After signing a $60 million dollar contract, fans have been waiting for him to become the player that earned that contract in the first place. Lets take a look at his latest performance against the Baltimore Ravens.
Inside the red zone, Mike Wallace is running a short post. The Ravens are showing heavy pressure but drop back into a zone coverage.
As Wallace makes his break, you can see there is PLENTY of room in the middle of the field.
Now when I saw this live, I blamed Wallace. When running across the middle, you're taught from day one, "If it's zone coverage, you sit down in the open zone and if it's man coverage, you keep running." Well, it was a zone coverage so I blamed Wallace. Upon seeing this angle, it was just not a great throw by Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill threw it like Wallace would sit down as SOON as he got into the zone. Still, Wallace had two hands on it so you'd like to see that caught.
Here's another deep attempt to Wallace. The Ravens are in a Cover-2 Zone except Lardarius Webb is locked on Wallace at the bottom of the screen.
Wallace beats Webb and the safety that is responsible for over the top jumps the post route in the middle of the field.
Unfortunately, Tannehill underthrows the ball which lets Webb get under it and break up the pass. This is in the "bad" section because it ends as an incompletion but I wouldn't blame Wallace for this at all. You would just like to see these two on the same page more at this point. It's getting better though.
This is the playcall for the Dolphins in the red zone. Target is Wallace on the slant route underneath everything else.
Does Wallace score if he catches this? Probably not but you never know. You would like to see him catch this ball.
Ravens are running a Cover-2 Man here against this play. Tannehill is going to look to Wallace on the fly route at the bottom of the screen.
About 25 yards down the field, Wallace has eaten up Corey Graham's cushion at the bottom of the screen but it's just so far down field, you'd think that Tannehill might look to the wide open guy (circled in red) who beat his coverage quick.
Once again, in the "bad" section because of incompletion but this one is on Tannehill. I know he wants to get the ball to Wallace but he doesn't need to force it. Takes too long to get that deep down field and the slot on that side was wide open.
Ravens are in a Cover-1 Man here. The safety is very deep over the top. Notice that L.Webb is not giving Wallace the large cushion at the bottom of the screen. Wallace is running a fly route.
L.Webb gets a good jam on Wallace disrupting his route pretty heavily.
The disruption in the route causes Tannehill to throw the back-shoulder fade. Wallace reads the same thing (same page is good) and catches the ball. Unfortunately, he lost track of where he was and didn't get both feet down.
This is in the 4th quarter. The Ravens are in a Deep Cover-2 here and Wallace is running the comeback that had been successful much of the game (see below).
Webb isn't afraid of getting beat deep because he has help over the top. Wallace pushes up field but Webb doesn't bail like he had been doing. Only way to win on the route now is to box out Webb and come back to the ball.
Whether he thought he had enough space or was tired because it was the 4th quarter, Wallace doesn't come back to the ball, allowing Webb space to come down on route and break up the pass.
Ravens, still in that Deep Cover-2, against Wallace's short post route.
Ryan Tannehill delivers a strike in the open zone but Wallace can't secure the catch.
Ravens running a Deep Cover-2 still (trying not to get beat deep) against this play call from the Dolphins. Wallace at top of screen on short in-route.
Here, I don't know who to blame. Looked like a bad throw by Tannehill AND a bad route by Wallace. Either way, these two were not on the same page again. Incomplete.
On this play, the Ravens are playing Cover-1 Man (defenders are in man coverage with 1 safety over the top). Mike Wallace is running a hitch at the top of the screen.
Wallace does exactly what he is suppose to do. He fires off the line, running like he is going deep. As soon as Lardarius Webb opens his hips, Wallace breaks down, turns around and works back to the ball.
Easy catch in plenty of space. Gain of 9. This was the first play of the game.
Here, the Ravens are dropping into a Cover-3 while Mike Wallace is running that same hitch route.
Mike Wallace runs his hitch route, and comes back to the ball in the open zone left by the LB heading out into the flat. That's how it is drawn up.
The Dolphins have a Trips Bunch Right on this play. This formation is designed to cause confusion in the secondary when 3 pass catchers go in three different routes. It also makes it harder to double or press Mike Wallace. As you can see, he is starting on the outside, cutting inside and running a corner route.
The Ravens actually do a great job picking up each WR but that leaves Mike Wallace in a one on one situation which they don't want. CB Jimmy Smith panics and holds Wallace which results in an automatic first down.
Here, the Ravens are playing a Cover-1 Man again. Mike Wallace draws Corey Graham in man coverage and is running an out route.
Once again, Wallace uses his speed to get up-field in a hurry. When CB Graham bails (turns hips), Wallace breaks to the out route.
Wallace catches the pass on the sideline for a gain of 11 yards.
On this play, the Ravens are running a Cover-2 Man. Tannehill fakes the hand off and then fakes the quick screen at top of screen. The slot WR (who is the blocker on a quick screen) fakes the block and then heads on a fly route. Mike Wallace jogs like he is blocking then runs a fly on the back side.
Wallace closes gap with Webb (whose eyes are in the backfield) while jogging for block and then turns on the burners. Matt Elam stays over top but by the time he recognizes it's a play fake, he opens up his hips and Wallace is already to him. That's a win for Wallace every time.
This should have been a touchdown but Tannehill underthrew the ball. Still, good concentration by Wallace and a gain of 49 yards.
What happens after you beat someone deep? You get respect. Ravens are in man coverage but look at the cushion that Wallace gets even at the 15 yard line. Wallace is running a quick out route.
This ends up as a completion for 9 yards. He was open before the play started.
Here is another play where the Ravens are playing Cover-1 Man and Wallace gets a big cushion at the bottom of the screen. Wallace has a short hitch route on this play so he doesn't even need to close on CB at all.
When Wallace breaks on his hitch route, he has plenty of room because of the respect for his speed.
Easy pitch and catch for Tannehill and Wallace. Gain of 6 yards.
Upon reviewing the tape, it was easy to see what the Ravens gameplan was. They played a lot of man coverage with 1 safety over the top so they could focus on stopping the run and force Tannehill to beat them with his arm. It wasn't until the 4th quarter with the lead that they started playing Cover-2 Zone frequently. All in all, there was far more good than bad from Mike Wallace in this game. He was the deep threat I expected him to be but his routes are better than he is given credit for. With that being said, Tannehill and Wallace need to continue building a repertoire together because, even though Wallace finished with 7 catches for 105 yards, they left yards on the field that could have easily been gained. I want to give a special thanks to Kevin Nogle for giving me the opportunity to do a story here during the Redskins bye week. I hope guys enjoyed this article and the info provided. Good luck this year!