Mike Wallace Blames Haley's Offense for Struggles

Wallace admits he's lost focus in Haley's offense

12/7/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Mike Wallace Blames Haley's Offense for StrugglesSteelers' wide receiver Mike Wallace has been one of the NFL's premier deep threats the past two seasons, but is on pace to put up his worst numbers since his rookie season in this year's campaign. The electrifying speedster came into this season with a career average of 18.7 yards per reception, but is only gaining 11.8 yards per catch this year. Wallace hasn't put the blame on any sort of injury, nor has he suggested that his preseason holdout has anything to do with his uncharacteristically poor play - rather, he's blamed the "spread the wealth" philosophy of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

"I've never been a guy who dropped balls or just lose focus," Wallace told reporters. "The first three years I was always involved, so you just warmed up in games, and you were just into it, but when you don't get the ball for two-and-a-half quarters, you lose focus. But that's the type of offense this is - we're spreading it around, so you're not going to get as many targets."

Wallace is certainly right about being targeted less, especially since he was deemed a "co-starter" with Emmanuel Sanders two weeks ago. The biggest problem for Wallace, however, is that the Steelers are not willing to take as many shots downfield to him as they were the past few years. Wallace isn't a great fit in Haley's dink-and-dunk system, especially considering he can't stay focused without consistently seeing the ball. "If there's been a play that I haven't made this year, it's been in the second or third quarter when I haven't been getting too many passes... and I'm losing focus," Wallace said.

The absence of Ben Roethlisberger has further hurt the production of Wallace, as the Steelers are even less inclined to throw deep when there's a backup quarterback behind center. Wallace has had four of his six worst statistical games this season since Big Ben was injured against the Chiefs five weeks ago. Fortunately, Roethlisberger is expected to return to action this week, so Wallace's production should at least improve slightly.

Wallace has been a terribly disappointing fantasy play over the past four weeks, but his outlook seems much better with Roethlisberger returning. He remains a risky play, however, and it may be worth taking a wait-and-see approach for a week if you have a more reliable option.

Wallace is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, and it seems highly unlikely that he'll be returning to the Steelers under a new contract. He'll draw plenty of interest, but certainly didn't help his market value by stating that he loses focus when he's not getting the ball.
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