Mike Wallace: How Todd Haley's System Spells Doom for Steelers Top Target
Mike Wallace ended his holdout, signed his one-year tender and reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice on Tuesday, but the speed merchant shouldn't expect the same statistical output in the Steel City this season.
While Wallace was sitting at home, or wherever he was, his teammates were acclimating themselves to Todd Haley's offense. Not only does Wallace have no familiarity whatsoever with Haley's attack, but the new schemes will not focus on Wallace's vertical ability.
Haley prefers to lean on the run game. His 2010 Chiefs led the league in rushing behind Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones' efforts.
That's not to say that Haley doesn't like to throw the ball, but his throws are still of the short variety.
However, none of the Cardinals' main receivers averaged more than 15 yards per catch.
That doesn't bode well for Wallace's game. He hasn't refined his all-around skills. His ability to blow the top off the defense is all he has at this point, and he used it to average 16.6 yards per catch last season.
Without those deep looks, Wallace isn't even the Steelers' top option. That honor goes to Antonio Brown.
What do you expect from Todd Haley's offense?
It's tough to gauge how Haley will use someone like Wallace. We haven't had a chance to see it in the preseason, and Haley has never really had someone with his speed at receiver unless you want to count Steve Breaston or Dexter McCluster.
Any adjustment in Wallace's role will spell doom. Unless he polished his route-running without practicing this offseason, Wallace is still a one-dimensional, albeit talented, home-run threat.
Haley doesn't have a history with players like Wallace, and both sides enter the season without really knowing the other. If Wallace had been in camp from the beginning, we may have a very different story here, but he wasn't.
Pittsburgh's offense will still run through Ben Roethlisberger, but don't expect a plethora of high-flying deep balls.
The Steelers have thrown the ball 75 times in preseason action compared to 107 run plays. Preseason is a tough barometer, but it's obvious where Haley's thoughts are currently.
Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch and Chris Rainey will be leaned on as a committee in the backfield. Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and Heath Miller will be utilized, but the routes will be of the West Coast variety.
The Steelers must be happy to have Wallace back. Now they must hope Wallace is happy with his lighter role in the new Steelers offense.
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