Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
We all know that Mike Wallace had a tumultuous 2013 season. There were times when he grumbled, wouldn’t fight for the ball, expressed his displeasure with the offense and even publicly talked about the disconnect between himself and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This year though, things are completely different and we’ve seen a new Wallace, who is featured in the new offense under Bill Lazor.
Fans, coaches and others around the league have noticed how different Wallace is in 2014 and Joe Philbin couldn’t be more pleased.
“This may not be accurate, but this is what I see – I go back to the OTAs when the whistle blew in practice was over and he was at the JUGs machine catching 100 passes or 150 passes,” Philbin said. “That’s how my brain works. That’s why I think he’s doing some good things. I think his attitude has been better. His work ethic has been better. Sometimes, good things happen when you’re working at it, when you’re busting your tail. All of the things you said are true, but that’s kind of where my brain is on that.”
Bill Lazor agreed with Philbin and said that Wallace has been nothing but a leader on the offense and has shown the toughness this year that he may have lacked last year.
“When Mike comes to me on the sideline and tells me that he can get open, I guess it’s kind of a cliché that all receivers tell you that all the time, right? Right now, I think Mike is kind of putting his money where his mouth is. I can’t think of something so far that we’ve asked Mike to do that he isn’t able to do. I’ve seen him break tackles on the field. I’ve seen him try to run through people and certainly it was fun to watch him kind of barrel his way into the end zone yesterday. He blocked very well on some of the screens to the other guys. I think you see Mike be a very productive blocker. I’m excited about the leadership by example that Mike is showing.”
Wallace has caught 20 passes for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns, while averaging 12.3 yards per reception. His longest catch of the season has been 30 yards. As the season goes on and everyone gets more comfortable in the offense, his numbers should only improve and he should continue to be one of the top players on the team, if not the NFL.