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drprwnap
10-02-2009, 09:18 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09275/1002516-66.stm


On the Steelers: Wallace the next receiving star? Friday, October 02, 2009

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peter Diana/Post-GazetteSteelers wide receiver Mike Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards Sunday in Cincinnati.Lost in the Steelers' loss in Cincinnati, in the dropped touchdown by Limas Sweed, in the pick-six wrong route taken by Santonio Holmes, in the defense blowing another fourth-quarter lead, there appeared a gem.

Rookie Mike Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards in his third NFL game.

A little perspective on that: It took Hall of Famer John Stallworth until his seventh NFL game to reach 100, Hall of Famer Lynn Swann and Plaxico Burress their second seasons, and Troy Edwards not at all with the Steelers. Hines Ward did not get his first 100-yard game until his fourth season.

The only one faster? Louis Lipps with 183 yards on six receptions in his very first game as a pro.

Could Wallace become the next receiving star for the Steelers?

"He has all the potential and makings to be great," declared Ward.

Wallace has the size, speed and apparently the doggedness to do so. Ward once said he had to remind Burress often to hit his playbook. He does not have that problem with Wallace.

"He's a great student of the game," Ward said. "It's rare you have to tell him something over and over. He's one of the first ones here. He wants to learn. When you see a talent such as his, I want to make sure I go out and enhance that and he becomes better. Then when I'm long gone and I'm watching him on TV making plays, I'll know I had an impact on his career."

Wallace, a third-round draft choice from Mississippi, has 12 receptions for 147 yards after his big day in Cincinnati. It might have been bigger had he not stepped out of bounds at the 10 after catching a 51-yard pass in the open to start the second quarter.

"I focused on the ball so much I wasn't paying attention to where my momentum was taking me," Wallace said. "I didn't know I was that close to the sideline."

But, and listen up, Sweed ...

"You can't go anywhere without the ball. The main thing is catching it. Hopefully the next time I can catch it and stay in bounds for the touchdown."

Wallace was first placed at the flanker spot, where Ward plays. Then he learned split end, where Holmes plays.

No rookie ever reached 1,000 yards receiving with the Steelers and that would be a stretch for Wallace as their No. 3 man. But he has the ability to get yards in big chunks. In Chicago, he streaked open deep and would have had a 62-yard touchdown had Ben Roethlisberger not been hit as he threw, resulting in an interception instead.

The quarterback is aware he must release the ball quickly when he's throwing it to the speedy Wallace.

"You don't want to underthrow him, so you've got to get it out and let him run under it," Roethlisberger said. "If you overthrow him, it's a rarity but it's better than underthrowing him."

His coaches want to see how Wallace responds against San Diego, and they're looking for a better outcome than Rashard Mendenhall's last week.

"That was a breakout game for him," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "It's kinda like Rashard: What do you do with success? Can you maintain it? He's had a good week of practice. I think his confidence level is up.

"He'll start seeing a little different coverage," Arians said of the San Diego Chargers. "These guys are solid corners; they're really going to test us."

Mendenhall may be in
Willie Parker watched practice again yesterday, and he said his big toe still pains him. Although he will try to practice today, there's a chance Mendenhall will climb out of that doghouse that coach Mike Tomlin does not have and into the starting lineup Sunday.

"Rashard had a great week of practice," said Arians, who indicated third-down back Mewelde Moore could also play there if Parker cannot go.

"We'll see how [Parker] is. I feel very confident in Mewelde and Rashard. We'll see how it plays out. Coach will make that decision as we go along."

One decision already made is that Troy Polamalu will not return to play this week, and that never was the plan. Polamalu, who is still slightly limping after tearing a knee ligament in the opener, hopes to return by Oct. 11 at Detroit.

Center Justin Hartwig, though, did return to practice, as did tight end Matt Spaeth, and both will play Sunday.

Sweed update
Sweed, who declined to speak Wednesday after Tomlin demoted him to the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart, spoke about his drop in the end zone of what would have been a 34-yard touchdown catch Sunday in Cincinnati.

"An opportunity came and I didn't make it. There's nothing more to be said about it. No shoulda, coulda, woulda, no what-if. It's black and white: You have to make the play. I didn't make the play and there's no excuses behind it."

Sweed said there's one way to overcome the series of drops he has had in his two seasons with the Steelers and that is to "just make the plays, plain and simple."

"It's not rocket science; there's no mystery behind it. You just have to make the plays."

steelblood
10-02-2009, 09:38 AM
Wallace looks like a great pick. He'll be a good 3rd receiver for a couple of years and then, hopefully, a starter.

I feel for Sweed. He seems like a good guy. I hope he makes it.

papillon
10-02-2009, 09:40 AM
I hope the Steelers do not rush Troy back in an effort to try and salvage this season should it turn even further south this weekend. If he's still limping I can't see him being ready to go next weekend. Too much football left in that body to risk him returning and ending his season or career. Of course, I'm not a doctor and have no idea his status, but, if he's limping yesterday it seems improbable that it would heal in the next 7 days.

Pappy

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
10-02-2009, 10:06 AM
Ward once said he had to remind Burress often to hit his playbook. He does not have that problem with Wallace.

"He's a great student of the game," Ward said. "It's rare you have to tell him something over and over. He's one of the first ones here. He wants to learn. When you see a talent such as his, I want to make sure I go out and enhance that and he becomes better.

Man, do I love reading this.


"Rashard had a great week of practice," said Arians

And hopefully Mendenhall learned his lesson.

JTP53609
10-02-2009, 10:09 AM
please troy, come back next week or even the week after, do not rush it and put yourself at risk of making it worse.....

wallace will be good, he would have had a complete game if he could have stumbled that extra 6 yds straight on that deep ball..

drprwnap
10-02-2009, 10:11 AM
I hope the Steelers do not rush Troy back in an effort to try and salvage this season should it turn even further south this weekend. If he's still limping I can't see him being ready to go next weekend. Too much football left in that body to risk him returning and ending his season or career. Of course, I'm not a doctor and have no idea his status, but, if he's limping yesterday it seems improbable that it would heal in the next 7 days.

Pappy
:Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree :Agree

You NAILED it, Pappy!

frankthetank1
10-02-2009, 10:52 AM
man i love wallace. this guy was a hell of a pick. how he fell that late in the draft is crazy. everything i read about him is positive and he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. also about troy why have him come back against the lions? maybe put him in a few plays but the steelers can still beat the lions without troy very easily

aggiebones
10-02-2009, 11:34 AM
I think it would be wise to have Troy come back for the Detroit game and play about 50% of his normal plays. Then up to about 75% for he next game. He should be close to normal about when the bye hits, then he can use that 2 weeks off to recover from the previous 3.
We need him and we need him all season, so no sense in rushing him back to full capacity.