Today, Ben Roethlisberger talked to thefinsiders.com about their recent free-agency signee, WR Mike Wallace. Unfortunately, he said what most fans and followers already knew.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to miss Wallace, who signed with the Miami Dolphins for $60 million at the beginning of the free-agency period.
Surely, one player does not make an offense. His statistical production during his four years in Pittsburgh speaks for itself, but even with all of his speed he failed to elude the dreaded one-trick pony label bestowed upon him by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Roethlisberger disagrees with the one-trick label.
"Mike is way more. It’s to Mike’s credit. Mike is really focused on becoming a better receiver. So he’s focused on his route running. He’s focused on running out-routes, and curl-routes, and in-routes and doing all the little things that’s required to become a great wide receiver. That’s why he, to me, is one of the best in the league, because he not only has that speed – he can run by anybody – but he can run routes and he can get open. That’s why we’re going to miss him, and the Dolphins are lucky to have him."
While Roethlisberger's comments are accurate in their portrayal of Wallace's desire and drive to elevate his game above the equestrian stereotype, even Wallace admitted to a struggle with focus amidst the 2012 regular season, when irregular drops and fumbles by the entire receiving corps contradicted any offensive progress or momentum.
If Wallace is able to remain focused, the Dolphins offense could be come a young force to be reckoned with. With Ryan Tannehill entering his second full season as an NFL starting quarterback, Wallace's speed could afford the Dolphins enough space to put Tannehill's talents to task.
In Pittsburgh, it has yet to be determined if the job of replacing Wallace will be left solely in the hands of Antonio Brown and possibly Emmanuel Sanders, or will the team use the draft to address future years when veterans Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery will no longer be around.
While the organization may not miss Wallace from a salary cap standpoint, any team is going to miss a player with his type of production, physical talents and veteran experience.