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Mike Wallace was 'kind of' underused in Pittsburgh

Despite having more deep targets in 2012 under Haley than in 2011 under Arians, Mike Wallace threw a quiet jab at his utilization in his last season in Pittsburgh. Keeping him in check will be important for the Steelers against Miami in Week 14.

Mike Ehrmann

Never mind the fact Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace had 31 targets of 20 yards or longer (writes Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly) in his lone season in Pittsburgh under offensive coordinator Todd Haley - four more than he had in 2011 under Bruce Arians.

Wallace feels he was "kind of" underused last year.

Many feel he "really" underperformed, more than anything else.

He didn't seem to run as many pure "go" routes as maybe he has in the past, something the Steelers don't do a lot of now, either. Haley's offense is based more in crosses and deep posts, perhaps those kinds of things are what Wallace means.

However it gets sliced, the Steelers have to worry about Wallace's potential on every offensive snap. This will be particularly important Sunday, as the Steelers' defense has been hit with numerous big plays this season.

The Baltimore Ravens know the Steelers as well as anyone, and it's rare to see them not test the Steelers vertically early in a game. They did that in Week 13, having thrown four deep passes in their first two possessions. They connected on one, drew pass interference on another and missed on the other two.

It wouldn't be at all surprising to see the Dolphins implement a similar strategy against the Steelers. Safety Will Allen has been caught out of place a few times, despite otherwise solid coverage. The presence of Brian Hartline gives the Steelers a more difficult overall assignment than they had against Baltimore. If Pittsburgh can get pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill (something that hasn't been hard for most teams), they can eliminate the deep threat, or just play vulture in the deep secondary, waiting for off-balance passes.

That would expose one of Wallace's main flaws, something prevalent under any offensive coordinator - his lack of ability to fight for balls in the air.

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