It has been a long four months since Mike Wallace took his talents to South Beach, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are still being asked about him.
Most recently, NFL Network's Solomon Wilcots caught up with Roethlisberger after the team had wrapped up its first padded practice of training camp. During the interview, Wilcots brought up Wallace and asked Roethlisberger what his departure would mean to the offense in 2013.
"You're always going to miss a guy like that - as much a teammate as a friend - but I think the big thing is, we've still got guys here that can make plays. No one is trying to fill Mike Wallace's shoes. They just need to be themselves, and we'll be fine."
While many are quick to dismiss such comments as politically correct displacement regurgitated by highly regarded team leaders when facing such poignant questions, but this isn't the first time Roethlisberger has gone on record as having full confidence in not only his receiving corps, but the entire offense in general.
The world already knows what Antonio Brown is capable of. The Steelers have already exhibited their expectations in Emmanuel Sanders by matching a one-year $2.5 million offer sheet from the New England Patriots for his services. The team re-signed veteran Plaxico Burress, retained the services of Jerricho Cotchery and drafted prospects Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown. Toss in other youngsters David Gilreath, Derek Moye, Kashif Moore and rocket man Reggie Dunn, and a case can be made for the 2013 receiving roster to be one of the team's deepest in recent memory.
It has yet to be seen exactly how much Wallace's departure will affect the Steelers offense, or how his arrival will affect the development of a young offense with his new team, the Miami Dolphins. However, as coordinator Todd Haley and new receivers coach Richard Mann continue to work with their current group and Roethlisberger to produce smoother communication and execution of the offensive gameplan, the team may really be fine without Wallace, who had his worst stat production in Haley's offense since becoming a full-time starter in Pittsburgh.
Whether Roethlisberger was simply being congenial or was truly sincere, the Steelers will need to learn to exist without Wallace's services during training camp if they want to contend for another championship in 2013.
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