The Steelers have tendered restricted free agent Mike Wallace a sizeable chunk of money with a 2.7 million dollar offer that i hope leads to Mike getting a deal done. The Steelers really need Mike, because he’s got the one thing you can’t coach, speed.
You are right when you say that Mike needs to flesh out his all-around game. Being the long body type that he is, Mike has some problems getting off the jams at the line of scrimmage. Strong cornerbacks with a vicious two-handed punch create some difficulties for the Wallace and tends to disrupt the timing of routes in press-man coverage because the art of hand fighting is a lacking area in his game.
I would most humbly also submit that Mike could improve in his run blocking downfield when he’s called upon to do so.
One of the areas that i’m really interested in seeing this year with the release of Hines Ward is who steps up to lead the way in the wideouts in the run blocking department.
Run blocking amongst WR’s is a work trait best exemplified by a couple de-cleaters which creates peer pressure to ante up with some good work of your own when all the hooting and hollering commences in the post-game film room. Something that could be lacking this year without the guy who turned the tables on the defense and showed what could happen when the prey becomes the predator.
On the other hand, i do believe Mike has made some good progress in running with the ball in broken field, something that prior to last year just didn’t look natural to him.
I enjoy Mike off the field of play too. Once, when i was guest-hosting Hines Ward’s show for Tunch with Mike as a guest of Hines, while we were at WDVE and getting ready to go into the studio, Mike was having a hard time finding the WDVE building and the parking lot entrance. This was Mike’s rookie year and his first real encounter with driving in snow. Hines had Mike on his cell phone and while watching from the studio was trying to guide Mike into sticking a landing. Mike had to make a couple of passes before “touching down,” which of course lead to some guffaws and abuse on the air, as only guys can do.
Still, bottom line is that when you’re so fast that you can make “telephone poles look like a picket fence” you bring the one dimension that makes every route a cliff-hanger and potential quick-six.
Just ask the Indy Colts linebacker Pat Angerer, who attempted to get deep on Mike Wallace’s 81-yard TD catch and run from Big Ben last year in Indianpolis.
I talked after the game with Hines, who ran a little hook route on the same side of the field as Mike. Indy was in their traditional Cover-2 with a soft deep shell. Angerer had the deep middle and Wallace, running through that middle, blowing by Angerer and the two safeties, sucked the air right out of the middle secondary.
Hines, chortling away as he re-told this, said all he could hear was Angerer screaming HELP!!! at the top of his lungs to the safeties as Mike laid down a little scorched earth.
Kind’a takes me back to the good o’l days of my youth and how much i enjoyed watching Wiley Coyote gettin’ his doors blown off by the Roadrunner.
O’l Wiley Coyote could’a used a little over-the-top-coverage too.