Why Mike Wallace Will Escape Revis Island for Big Performance Against Buccaneers

Thomas GaliciaContributor IINovember 8, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Mike Wallace #11 of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a game  against the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We now interrupt the usual Miami Dolphins news of the last week for something all of you should be interested. 

Football, X's and O's and explaining why the Miami Dolphins will beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. More specifically, explaining why Mike Wallace will have a big performance against Buccaneers stud cornerback Darrelle Revis. 

One could make the argument that Wallace and Revis have something in common: both were among the biggest new acquisitions for their respective teams who would disappoint in their first seasons in their new zip codes. 

Better days for both Wallace and Revis: 2010 AFC Championship game back in January of 2011
Better days for both Wallace and Revis: 2010 AFC Championship game back in January of 2011Al Bello/Getty Images

With Wallace, the issues have been how he has been used by the Dolphins (not ideally) along with his propensity to drop a pass at the worst possible time (which you could say is any time when you factor in his contract). 

With Revis, the issues range from him still recovering from a knee injury he had suffered last season (ironically against these Miami Dolphins), to how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers use him. 

How Tampa Bay uses Revis is exactly why Wallace will have a big performance against the Bucs. 

At his best with the Jets, Revis was allowed to play man-to-man defense on his receiver. The result was the reputation of being the best cornerback in the league from 2009-2012, which caused the Buccaneers to give up the huge bounty they gave to the Jets in exchange for Revis. 

Now with the Buccaneers, Revis is used primarily in zone-coverage. Some cornerbacks (like Miami's own Brent Grimes), thrive in zone coverage. Revis doesn't. 

This controversy caused the Buccaneer's defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan to invite fans to "come to the facility and show him how to properly use Revis", an offer taken up by some Buccaneers fans (per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com). 

Really, a YouTube search of "Darrelle Revis highlights" would've done the trick. It only took me a second to find this video of highlights that show how Revis was able to anchor a Jets defense that went to two consecutive AFC championship games. 

Here's Revis now, and the statistics aren't pretty. In eight games with Tampa Bay, Revis has one interception to go along with six defended passes and 22 tackles. That doesn't sound bad (one can say they haven't thrown the ball Revis' way), but he has usually been tasked with facing each team's best wide receiver, and those players played well against him. 

Against the Saints, Marques Colston caught four passes for 63 yards against Revis. Here's a look at how Revis played Colston. 

Not bad, only about four yards off to start the play.
Not bad, only about four yards off to start the play.

Against Philadelphia, his performance allowed DeSean Jackson to catch six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson wasn't covered by Revis alone (he wasn't covered by Revis on his 36-yard touchdown reception), but he was covered by Revis on his 12-yard touchdown reception. 

Here's how far back Revis played Jackson. 

Revis was seven yards back of Jackson, meaning when Jackson ran his route across the middle, Revis had to run to catch up to him. 

Prior to the game Jackson told PhillyMag.com that Revis "couldn't keep up with him", which he proved on that touchdown reception. 

Compare this to his time with the Jets, when he would've been a yard away from the line of scrimmage on Jackson and would've been able to jam him at the line of scrimmage like you've seen in most of his highlights. 

Wallace is perhaps as fast as Jackson, giving Revis the same challenge. 

Wallace does better when players are playing off of him, which you can see in his best game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Here's a look at a play that the Dolphins should run more: a screen pass. With Indianapolis' corner sitting back 11 yards on Wallace, this gave the Dolphins time to get some blockers in front of Wallace, allowing Tannehill to pass it out to him, leading to his first touchdown as a Miami Dolphin. 

Here's another play where a team played zone against Wallace. This was the beginning of a 49-yard Wallace reception against the Baltimore Ravens. 

Sure, they're only separated by five yards, but then Wallace went in motion prior to the snap, and as the ball was snapped, Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb was seven yards off of Wallace, not counting the additional yard he would have to run diagonally to cover Wallace. 

Speed kills, which is why your best bet against Wallace is to attempt to jam him at the line of scrimmage. Only occasionally do the Buccaneers allow Revis to do that, yet that has been what has kept receivers on Revis Island for years while it was in New Jersey. 

Since Revis Island became a part of the Tampa Bay region, it has become a top vacation stop, and one where Wallace will have fun on Monday Night if the Buccaneers continue to play him the way they do. 

Check out Dolphins Central Radio, where we talk to former Miami Dolphins cornerback Patrick Surtain as they discuss the Dolphins' next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and some other Dolphins' news that might be in the headlines.