Mike Wallace suggests he wasn't a big part of Week 8 game plan, reneges three days later

Justin K. Aller

Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace initially suggested he wasn't sure about whether he was a big part of the offense in Pittsburgh's Week 8 win over Washington. He backtracked on those comments Wednesday.

Tribune-Review columnist Joe Starkey mentioned after the Steelers' 27-12 win over Washington how quickly Mike Wallace was dressed and leaving the locker room after the game. Starkey tracked him down and asked him his thoughts on whether he was a big part of the Steelers' offensive game plan after being targeted on nine passes, catching seven, for 62 yards.

It was also discussed by BTSC friend Marc Uhlman of SteelersAddicts.

Transcribed from Starkey's post on Sulia Monday:

Wallace: "I don't know about that. I made a couple of catches and got us a couple of first downs. It's always good to get first downs."

Me: "You don't think you were a big part of the game plan?"

Wallace: "I don't know. I don't know. I had a couple of catches."

Wallace backed off that suggestion in an interview with 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

"Right now...we're not getting the yards per catch we want, but we're still getting opportunities, so we just have to take some short ones, and make them big."

Fortunately, he didn't use the inflammatory phrase "dink and dunk" to describe the Steelers offense, that, through seven games, is averaging 7.4 yards per passing attempt, down from eight yards per attempt in 2011.

It's probably smart of Wallace to back off those statements, possibly made in the heat of the moment immediately following the game. Wallace averaged seven targets a game in 2011, and is averaging 8.2 targets through seven games this season. He's averaging 12.8 yards per catch, which doesn't even rank him in the top 50 in the league, but it's simply a lack of deeper passes causing the decline. He's getting more chances, and he'll eventually break something.

It's not as if he's not contributing; a reduction in targets would be a bit more alarming through seven games. You can't fault a guy for wanting to make plays. His time will come; it's not as if defenses plan their scheme around preventing him from covering underneath routes, and his 36 catches are nothing to scoff either. The issue is the Steelers have three receivers - Wallace, Antonio Brown (40) and Heath Miller (35) - in the top 30 in receptions.

And if he was going to have a breakout game, this one would be a good option. Not only is it huge in terms of the overall direction of the team, but the Giants allow 293.4 passing yards per game - fifth-highest in the league.

They will struggle to cover the Steelers' trio of receivers, and maybe they'll even mix in a deep pass. If not, Wallace can be content with catching seven passes and maybe breaking a tackle for a big gain.


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