Wallace and Tannehill not clicking at Dolphins training camp

7/24/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

The Miami Dolphins made a huge splash in free agency this offseason, improving their roster in a number of different areas. Their bold moves have some people wondering if they might have a shot at winning the AFC East, whose perennial winner - the New England Patriots - have a number of question marks on their roster, particularly in the passing game. Interestingly enough, over the past ten seasons, the Dolphins are the only team other than the Patriots to have won the AFC East (2008).

If the Dolphins want a shot at winning the division and dethroning Tom Brady and company, they will need their free agent signings to pan out in a big way. However, their biggest signing of the spring - Mike Wallace - is not yet fitting in quite how the team had hoped.

Jul 22, 2013; Davie, FL, USA;  Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) talks with wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) during  training camp at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY SportsReports from both the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel have suggested that Wallace has failed to make a good impression thus far in training camp. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reported that Wallace "failed to connect" with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who looked "more comfortable" throwing to his other new weapons (Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller). Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel stated that Wallace has dropped "his share of passes," while he and Tannehill also "need to work on their chemistry."

Kelly went on to say that as far as the team's most impressive offseason additions, Wallace "is probably fourth or fifth on the list."

Still just three days into training camp, I would not say that there is any cause for concern at this point, but the Wallace-Tannehill connection is something worth monitoring. Dolphins beat writers have been reporting this lack of chemistry ever since Wallace signed. Kelly said that during 11-on-11's, he hasn't seen Tannehill and Wallace connect on a deep-ball through OTA's, minicamp, and now three days of training camp.

Keep in mind that productive receivers don't always click with their new quarterbacks. Take a look at Brandon Lloyd, who racked up a league-leading 1,448 receiving yards when catching passes from Kyle Orton in 2010. Lloyd had 966 yards in 2011, catching passes from both Orton and Sam Bradford (Lloyd was traded midseason). He then had only 911 yards with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady as his quarterback.

Wallace has plenty of talent and loads of speed, but perhaps he and Tannehill are simply not complimentary of each other, for whatever reason. Reports say that Tannehill has continued to lean on last year's leading receiver - Brian Hartline - thus far in training camp, which is not a surprise. However, the fact that he has looked more comfortable throwing to new teammates Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller is a small red flag for Wallace.

My best guess remains that Wallace will end up being an effective playmaker and key piece to the Dolphins' offense. He is an elite deep threat and Tannehill has the arm to get him the ball downfield. In addition, offensive-minded head coach Joe Philbin should be able to find ways to get Wallace the ball in open space.

Although I'm still hopeful for Wallace, fantasy owners would be wise to keep track of his training camp and preseason performances before targeting him in fantasy drafts.
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