Written by James Walker of ESPN.com
Here is the offseason issue with the Miami Dolphins' deep-ball attack involving quarterback Ryan Tannehill and receiver Mike Wallace: The media simply hasn't seen it.
After seven practices open to the media -- including a three-day mandatory minicamp -- Tannehill has yet to prove he's improved his biggest weakness from a year ago. Tannehill tried to connect deep with Wallace on a few occasions during open media sessions and misfired, which is mostly what the rest of the NFL saw last season.
Yet, Dolphins players and coaches say Tannehill has improved his deep ball in 2014. But all the big plays have been on display during the private sessions not open to the media. Is this fact or fiction?
"(You) haven't been here. ... We hit those, about three or four of them so far,” Wallace said of deep passes against Miami’s defense. “Me and him haven't personally thrown that many. If we've thrown like six, we've hit on like four."
"They have, a number of times. ... It's been better," Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin also confirmed.
This is an important part of Miami’s offense and a strong indicator of whether this team will be able to take the next step and make the playoffs this season. The Dolphins' offense missed on plenty of opportunities for big plays last year. Wallace, who is one of the league's fastest players, did his job by getting open deep. But Tannehill often missed Wallace due to poor accuracy or throwing the ball short, which allowed defensive backs to recover and force the incompletion. This was one of the many issues for Miami's offense, which was ranked 27th last season.
The 2013 season was the first time Wallace and Tannehill played together. Miami's power pair spent a lot of time together in the offseason working on their game and their timing. Outside of the deep ball, Tannehill has made other good throws to Wallace in sessions open to the media.
"I feel like we've been doing really well," Wallace said of himself and Tannehill. "Pretty much every day, we've pretty much been on the same page. Might have one here or there, but, for the most part, I think we've been doing a really good job being on the same page."
Wallace, who had 930 receiving yards and five touchdowns last season, appears determined to have a big year in 2014. His offseason participation has been excellent and Wallace put in extra time after each practice to work on catching footballs.
"I thought Mike had a really good offseason program," Philbin said. "You've seen him after practice, nobody is holding a bat to his head. This guy is out there working and doing the little things that can make the difference when the season comes around."
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