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hawaiiansteel
01-04-2011, 08:00 PM
Mike Wallace a one-trick pony no longer

By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, January 3, 2011

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1144219/33435602E.jpg

CLEVELAND -- The transformation is complete. Mike Wallace has become the Steelers' new Santonio Holmes.

Coach Mike Tomlin's nickname for Wallace -- One Trick, as in One-Trick Pony -- should no longer apply. Wallace is now more than a fast receiver who loves catching the deep ball.

Not that he doesn't still excel at that.

And, sure, Wallace has some work to do to become a knockout blocker, but the Steelers pay him to catch the ball. Give him time. He's made spectacular development in his second season.

Wallace made another big play early in Sunday's 41-9 destruction of the Cleveland Browns that clinched the AFC North for the Steelers.

The coaching staff didn't waste time getting Wallace the ball after safety Troy Polamalu intercepted Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Wallace blew past a surprised Cleveland secondary and snared a 56-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger on the Steelers' first play from scrimmage.

Roethlisberger had every intention of throwing long to Wallace to open the game. The play was a point of emphasis during practice.

"Teams have been really trying to take me away from the deep ball,'' Wallace said. "Since last week we knew we were going to run that play. I was just hoping a safety came down so I could get over top of it. Ben threw a perfect ball.''

Catching the deep ball has been Wallace's calling card. He averaged a team-high 21.0 yards per catch during the regular season.

Wallace and Roethlisberger established a franchise record with eight career touchdowns passes of 40 yards or more. Six have come this season.

"It's just another stepping stone for us. Another building block for me and Ben,'' Wallace said. "Hopefully we can break some more records.''

The question mark, or at least the perception surrounding Wallace's game, was his willingness to sacrifice his body and make tough catches across the middle that had been Holmes' specialty.

According to Wallace, he was always more than willing to make those catches. He said it came down to the coaching staff trusting him in a role that formerly belonged to Holmes.

"All I ran was bombs," Wallace said. "Now I'm getting more opportunities.''

In recent weeks, Wallace's ability to diversify his game has made him nearly impossible to stop.

Since being held to three receptions for 33 yards against Buffalo, Wallace has produced three 100-yard games with no fewer than 76 yards in any of his final five regular-season games.

Less than a minute into yesterday's contest, Wallace sprinted into the secondary to make an uncontested reception. A bevy of Cleveland defensive backs, who were too slow to recover, couldn't lay a hand on him.

"Mike is so fast that I can just throw it out there, and he can do the rest for me,'' Roethlisberger said.

On the Steelers' second possession, Wallace caught a short slant and galloped 41 yards. The play set up Rashard Mendenhall's 1-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

The play showcased Wallace's maturation within the offense. The slant worked because Wallace and Roethlisberger were on the same page and read the defense perfectly.

"It was a hot read,'' said Wallace, who finished with three catches for 105 yards. "We had a screen on one side and a slant on the other side. Coach always tells me they need some yards after catch from me. I'm trying to get touchdowns the fastest way I can.''

In the Steelers' 27-3 win over Carolina on Dec. 23, Wallace caught a 43-yard slant pass for a touchdown. He ran the route as smoothly as Holmes ever did, and he finished it off with a flourish that the explosive Holmes couldn't match.

The slant pass is new for Wallace, who has expanded his game weekly.

Ever so quietly, Wallace, who has a team-high 10 touchdown catches, has replaced veteran Hines Ward as the No. 1 option in the passing game.

Wallace has 60 receptions to Ward's 59, but he has 502 more receiving yards than Ward.

Wallace is no longer a hit-or-miss receiver. There were moments last season that if Wallace didn't go long and make a catch, he didn't have an impact on the game. That's no longer the case. He can impact the game even when Roethlisberger can't find him deep in the secondary.

Maybe Wallace's high level of play will convince Tomlin to coin him a new nickname.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 16396.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_716396.html)

ghettoscott
01-04-2011, 08:36 PM
*whew* i thought he was caught smokin' the ganja....

SanAntonioSteelerFan
01-04-2011, 09:42 PM
*whew* i thought he was caught smokin' the ganja....

:lol: :lol: :lol:

LordVile
01-04-2011, 10:15 PM
*whew* i thought he was caught smokin' the ganja....
:Bow

Flasteel
01-04-2011, 11:21 PM
Wallace is far better than Holmes ever was and he's in his first year as a starter. The only thing we maybe haven't seen is the penchant for clutch plays at the end of ball games...last year's GB game not withstanding. Hard to beat Holmes in that department.

Shoe
01-05-2011, 12:15 AM
Wallace doesn't have the all-around game that Santonio has (at his best). But of course, Walace does have that blinding speed that Santonio and practically anyone else in the league can only dream of. And he also seems to have a better, more humble head on his shoulders. We'll see.

I do hope they DON'T try to make him too much into a "complete" WR. I would prefer they not ruin this Ferrari of a receiver, by dinging him up with a full assortment of over-the-middle routes, etc. Occasionally is fine. And I do want him to have the attitude that he is willing (over the middle). But I don't want him to accumulate the nicks and dings that work to gradually slow down a guy, who as I said, is a Ferrari. You don't take your Ferrari and drive it back and forth to work and such. That duty is for the Hines', the Heaths, the Sanders...

Dee Dub
01-05-2011, 12:43 AM
Awesome!!!....I say it a month ago and get bombarded with the..."he isnt ready yet", "he has a long ways to go", "he has a long way to go on his route running", "he's has to show more than running the deep route".....

Some writer says it and it becomes official in Steeler Nation.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

SteelAbility
01-05-2011, 12:47 AM
I see the potential in Wallace to exceed Holmes for sure. But I just don't think he has the "I can get open with real high percentage when we really need a 3rd down conversion" in him just yet, like Holmes has.

hawaiiansteel
01-05-2011, 01:08 AM
Steelers Team Report

Yahoo! Sports

INSIDE SLANT
While Ben Roethlisberger(notes) focused on turning his life around since his messy sexual misconduct in March that prompted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend him for the first four games of the season, something else happened as well.

He’s become more careful - with the football and with sacks.

Roethlisberger threw a season-low five interceptions and his 32 sacks were fewer than any season since 2005 when he was sacked 23 times. He also only played 12 games this season but it still was not close. In 15 games last season, he was sacked 50 times and intercepted 12.

He wasn’t sacked fewer than 46 times in any of the previous four seasons and his fewest interceptions were nine, also in 12 games in 2005. Last season, they were minus-three in takeaway/giveaway totals. This season they are plus-17, which ranks second in the NFL.

Pittsburgh’s defense swiped 21 passes, their highest total since they had 23 in 1996. Last season, they had only 12. Troy Polamalu(notes) led them with seven interceptions.

“That’s huge,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s a big thing. I don’t know what the percentages are of wins and losses compared to turnovers, but you’re going to win more games when you get the ball. We kind of pride ourselves on that.”

While Roethlisberger cut down on his interceptions and sacks, it did not affect his production. He threw for 3,200 yards, an average of 266.7 per game (career average of 221.8 entering the season). He had 17 touchdown passes in 12 games and his yards per attempt of 8.23 was higher than his career mark of 8.0 entering the season, as was his 97.0 passer rating compared to his career of 91.2.

• Pittsburgh likes its spot as the No. 2 seed as it enters the playoffs with a bye week, and quietly would love to have a return match against the New England Patriots, who embarrassed them in Heinz Field Nov. 14.

Tom Brady(notes) passed at will that day in a 39-26 victory that was not as close as the score makes it look.

They concede, however, that the Patriots are the team to beat to get to the Super Bowl from the AFC.

“They had the better record. I don’t see why they shouldn’t be,” linebacker James Harrison(notes) said.

The Steelers won their past Super Bowl from the No. 2 seed in 2008. Top-seeded Tennessee lost its first game at home and the Steelers then beat Baltimore at home in the AFC title game.

They fell flat last season trying to defend that Super Bowl crown, losing five in a row after starting out 6-2 and did not make the playoffs. They started out 6-2 again this season and went through the second half of the season 6-2 to knock down another AFC North Division championship, their third in four seasons under coach Mike Tomlin.

They have won 20 division titles since the 1970 NFL merger, the most in the league, as are their six Lombardi Trophies.

“I like everything about our team,” safety Ryan Clark(notes) said. “We’re just playing hard, being focused. We went through a stretch with a lot of penalties. We kind of tried to calm that down and play a little smarter. We’re playing well on all three phases of the game.”

All four of their losses have come to playoff teams—Baltimore, New England, New Orleans and the New York Jets. If the Steelers and Patriots each win their first playoff games, Pittsburgh will play in New England for the AFC championship game.

“I don’t’ care where we have to go,” linebacker James Farrior(notes) said.

“They’re a great team,” defensive end Brett Keisel(notes) said of the Patriots. “They’ve got a lot of weapons. We’ll see how it all pans out. They’ve worked hard to get that No. 1 seed and they’ll be a tough team to beat.”

NOTES, QUOTES
• The Steelers’ 2011 opponents: AWAY—San Francisco, Arizona, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Houston and their three AFC North opponents. HOME—Tennessee Seattle, St. Louis, Jacksonville, New England and their three division opponents.

• WR Mike Wallace(notes) tied John Stallworth’s team record, set in 1984, with his seventh 100-yard receiving game in a season. He and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger set another when they hooked up on a 56-yard TD pass. It was their eighth of 40 yards or more in their two years together.

“That was just the play call since last week,” Wallace said of the first offensive play of the game vs. the Browns Sunday. “We knew we were going to run that play.”

• The Steelers’ defense against the run was their most dominant in team history. They led the NFL with a 62.8-yard average, allowing 1,004 yards. That’s fewer than they even allowed in the 12-game season of 1953, the former team record of 1,125 yards. They came within 34 yards of tying the Baltimore Ravens’ record for a 16-game season of 970 in 2000.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Player Notes

• QB Byron Leftwich(notes) finally played in his first game of the regular season when he mopped up for 1 1/2 quarters in Cleveland last Sunday. Roethlisberger’s backup completed 5 of 7 passes for 42 yards and was sacked twice.

• RB Mewelde Moore(notes) did not practice on Tuesday after missing his first game of the season last Sunday. He has a sprained knee.

• RB Rashard Mendenhall(notes) became the first back to lead the Steelers in scoring since Franco Harris in 1977. Mendenhall rushed for 13 touchdowns, one short of the record set by Harris in 1976.

• TE Heath Miller(notes), who missed two games with a concussion, finished with 42 receptions, far off his total last season when he set a team record for the position with 76 catches.

• LB LaMarr Woodley(notes) missed a third straight double-digit sack season finishing with 9.5, one behind James Harrison’s team lead.

• WR Mike Wallace, who did not make the Pro Bowl, led the NFL with seven 100-yard receiving games. His 1,257 yards were third most in the AFC. He also caught 10 TD passes.

• WR Hines Ward’s five touchdown catches were his fewest since he had four in 2004. He failed to lead the team in receptions for the first time since he led them in his second season, 1999.

• SS Troy Polamalu, who led the team with seven interceptions, did not practice on Tuesday and is not expected to until next week. He has an Achilles-related injury but came out of Sunday’s game with no further damage.

• CB Bryant McFadden(notes) did not practice on Tuesday. He has an abdominal strain that caused him to leave the finale early in Cleveland. William Gay(notes) replaced him.

• DE Aaron Smith(notes) did not practice on Tuesday and is not expected to play in the opening playoff game Jan. 15. He has been out since his triceps were torn Oct. 24.

• C Maurkice Pouncey(notes) returned to practice Tuesday, showing no ill effects of a hit on the head he took, forcing him out of the game in the third quarter Sunday.

• LB Lawrence Timmons(notes) led the Steelers in both solo tackles with 100 and total tackles with 149, ending a four-year reign by James Farrior.

• WR Antwaan Randle El(notes) did not catch a touchdown pass in 2010 but he did throw two, the first time he has thrown two in a career in which he has thrown six TDs in the regular season and one in a Super Bowl.

Report Card Vs . BROWNS

Passing Offense: A—Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing attack had its best outing of the season, a near perfect performance. Roethlisberger completed his first pass on the first play for a 56-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace. He went on to go 15 of 22 for 280 yards, two TDs and a 141.3 passer rating with no sacks, no interceptions. Antwaan Randle El chipped in with his second TD pass of the season and Byron Leftwich went 5 of 7 for 42 yards. They finished with 325 yards; had they wanted, they could have put up 500.

Rushing Offense: C—This area continues to be one of disappointment as Pittsburgh enters the playoffs. The Steelers increased their total yards this season but still cannot run consistently, particularly in short yardage. They had 100 yards on 30 carries with Rashard Mendenhall getting 36 on 14 carries, although he did score two TDs on 1-yard runs.

Pass Defense: A—Colt McCoy(notes) was 20 of 41 for 209 yards and effective on a few drives. However, he was intercepted three times all in the first half, sacked four times, had a passer rating of 41.6 and his lone TD pass came against a defense of second-stringers in the fourth quarter.

Rush Defense: A—The Browns didn’t try hard against a Steelers run defense that set a franchise record in yards allowed. Cleveland ran 17 times for 43 yards with McCoy the actual leader of the pack because he scrambled four times for 19 yards, five more than Mike Bell(notes) and six more than Peyton Hills. The Browns never had a chance on the ground.

Special Teams: A—Rather than kick off to Joshua Cribbs(notes) the Steelers had Shaun Suisham(notes) squib kick and it worked with great results. The Browns returned eight kickoffs a grand total of 73 yards or just 9.1 yards on average with a long of 17. The Steelers did not get many returns either, but Jeremy Kapinos(notes) averaged 56 yards on two punts and Suisham made both field goal tries, from 41 and 24 yards.

Coaching: A—There was concern that the Steelers might not “take care of business,” as Mike Tomlin likes to say, with a bye on the line. They not only did it, they did it quickly and the first play-call on offense looked brilliant—a deep pass to Mike Wallace for a 56-yard TD. Tomlin started Troy Polamalu instead of protecting him from further injury, which was part message to the rest of them to let them know how important the game was and they all bought into it.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=t ... 11-nfl-pit (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=teamreports-2011-nfl-pit)

JTP53609
01-05-2011, 10:28 AM
Im not just saying this because I am a proud yinzer (who just moved back) but Wallace is better than Holmes from what I see already. His YAC is close to as good as Holmes and I am sure he will only get better, but his routes and lack of key drops have impressed me most of all....

proudpittsburgher
01-05-2011, 10:44 AM
You can tell how good a guy is, or how much potential they have by what their temmates say about them. Watch the locker room video on Steelers.com that was posted on the 4th. Wallace and Sanders . . . things get said about them like "It's time for them to step up and play playoff football." You can tell guys like Ben really believe Wallace and Sanders are the real deal. Last season, when talking about Sweed, there was a lot of "He's taking steps" and "he's getting there". World of difference.

ikestops85
01-05-2011, 12:37 PM
Im not just saying this because I am a proud yinzer (who just moved back) but Wallace is better than Holmes from what I see already. His YAC is close to as good as Holmes and I am sure he will only get better, but his routes and lack of key drops have impressed me most of all....

Yes, Mike "The Missile" Wallace has done a great job replacing Holmes and I think he will only get better. He is more consistent than Holmes and has better hands. I don't think he is as good as Holmes at running with the ball after the catch but it is close. He still has to prove he can step up in the big game which Holmes was very good at doing. I think Wallace will.

Oviedo
01-05-2011, 12:42 PM
Im not just saying this because I am a proud yinzer (who just moved back) but Wallace is better than Holmes from what I see already. His YAC is close to as good as Holmes and I am sure he will only get better, but his routes and lack of key drops have impressed me most of all....

Yes, Mike "The Missile" Wallace has done a great job replacing Holmes and I think he will only get better. He is more consistent than Holmes and has better hands. I don't think he is as good as Holmes at running with the ball after the catch but it is close. He still has to prove he can step up in the big game which Holmes was very good at doing. I think Wallace will.

Stupidio who?????

Wallace is an upgrade in every way. What are the odds Holmes doesn't get busted for pot again. IMO zero!!!!!

NorthCoast
01-05-2011, 01:54 PM
2nd Year Stats Receiving
Team G Rec Yds Y/G Avg
S. Holmes 2007-08 Pittsburgh 13 52 942 72.5
Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD
18.1 83 5 42 8

M. Wallace *2010-11 Pittsburgh 16 60 1257 78.6
Avg Lng YAC 1stD TD
21 56 6.3 48 10


Looking at 2nd year stats, not even close. Wallace has accomplished more sooner than Holmes in every way. And most agree he hasn't even reached full potential yet. The only thing I would like to see more of is fight for the ball. That will come with experience and confidence.

hawaiiansteel
01-05-2011, 04:06 PM
Mike Wallace: NFL's Best Big-Play Wide Receiver?

By Adam Gretz

http://www.blogcdn.com/nfl.fanhouse.com/media/2010/12/mikewallace.jpg

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets this past offseason, the biggest question for the offense was who would replace him as the its big-play threat in the passing game. Holmes, for all of his problems off of the field (two suspensions: one by the team in 2008, one by the NFL in 2010, a now infamous and probably forgotten Twitter meltdown) was an impact player on it. A Super Bowl MVP and an explosive wide receiver capable of turning any pass into a touchdown.

The answer for his replacement was an easy one, coming in the form of second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace. Fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him finish with the highest yards-per-catch average in the NFL, he's emerged as not only the Steelers biggest impact player on offense, but also the best big play wide receiver in the NFL.

As a rookie in the Steelers offense in 2009, many of Wallace's catches came as the result of him using his freakish speed and simply out-running defensive backs down the field and hauling in bombs from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That is very different from the type of player that Holmes was for the Steelers. Holmes excelled at turning the 10-yard pass into a 60-yard gain. He was at his best after he already had the football in his hands and was making people miss. Wallace simply managed to run past everybody and pick up all 60 yards at once.

Over the course of his sophomore season, Wallace's game has started to round into shape. He's no longer the guy that simply runs "9 routes" down the sidelines every play (though, he still does that) and gets behind the secondary. He's also starting to improve his route running and become more of a factor on the short and intermediate routes and turning short passes into big gains.

During the Steelers' Week 16 win against Carolina, for example, he took advantage of a Carolina blitz, hauled in a hot route, and sprinted through the entire Panthers secondary for a 43-yard touchdown.

Head coach Mike Tomlin, who has at times this season called Wallace a "one trick pony," referring to his ability to burn secondaries down field, was asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday what improvements Wallace still needed to make to become a more complete receiver. Tomlin pointed to attention to detail in route running and reading coverages. When asked if the touchdown against Carolina was what he had in mind, Tomlin simply smiled and said he liked what he saw on that play. Tomlin is big on talking about how there's always room for improvement, even in victory, so it's not a surprise that he'd like to see even more from his still raw -- and extremely talented -- second-year receiver.

So far this season Wallace has scored on plays of 41, 46, 29, 53, 39, 33, 52 and 43, and has two additional plays of 50 yards or more. No player on the NFL has more catches of 20-or-more yards entering Week 17 (24), and only DeSean Jackson of the Eagles averages more yards per catch. He's currently sixth in the NFL in receiving yards, despite only being targeted on 95 passes (catching 57), which ranks 40th in the NFL. Basically: even though he's not targeted as often as some other receivers, when the ball is thrown in Wallace's direction, big plays tend to happen.

The advanced statistical metrics at Football Outsiders rank Wallace as the No. 1 receiver in the NFL in 2010 both in terms of total value and value per play. He's also managed to catch 61 percent of the balls thrown his direction, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how many of his passes are deep down field and lower percentage plays.

The FO metrics aren't perfect, nor are they the end-all, be-all, but they're no more flawed than simply looking at total receptions or total yards without any context. A receiver that plays on a dreadful team that is constantly playing from behind and forced to throw the football in an effort to play catch up is going to make a lot of catches (Santana Moss and his 84 catches for the Redskins come to mind as an example of this). But hauling in a bunch of passes when your team is fighting a lost cause down by 20 points in the fourth quarter isn't as valuable as making big plays to put your team in a position to win. The Steelers rarely play from behind and have run the ball over 440 times this season, which doesn't give a receiver like Wallace as many opportunities to rack up huge reception numbers. But that doesn't take away from his overall value to the offense.

For as good as Holmes was for the Steelers (and still is for the Jets), Pittsburgh hasn't missed him due to the meteoric rise of Wallace, as well as the late-season development of rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike ... g-play-wr/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike-wallace-nfls-best-big-play-wr/)

flippy
01-05-2011, 04:23 PM
Hope he gets at least 1 TD catch in every playoff game.

feltdizz
01-05-2011, 06:27 PM
I agree Flippy... I'll wait until the playoffs to crown Wallace.

NorthCoast
01-05-2011, 07:12 PM
Mike Wallace: NFL's Best Big-Play Wide Receiver?

By Adam Gretz

http://www.blogcdn.com/nfl.fanhouse.com/media/2010/12/mikewallace.jpg

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets this past offseason, the biggest question for the offense was who would replace him as the its big-play threat in the passing game. Holmes, for all of his problems off of the field (two suspensions: one by the team in 2008, one by the NFL in 2010, a now infamous and probably forgotten Twitter meltdown) was an impact player on it. A Super Bowl MVP and an explosive wide receiver capable of turning any pass into a touchdown.

The answer for his replacement was an easy one, coming in the form of second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace. Fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him finish with the highest yards-per-catch average in the NFL, he's emerged as not only the Steelers biggest impact player on offense, but also the best big play wide receiver in the NFL.

As a rookie in the Steelers offense in 2009, many of Wallace's catches came as the result of him using his freakish speed and simply out-running defensive backs down the field and hauling in bombs from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That is very different from the type of player that Holmes was for the Steelers. Holmes excelled at turning the 10-yard pass into a 60-yard gain. He was at his best after he already had the football in his hands and was making people miss. Wallace simply managed to run past everybody and pick up all 60 yards at once.

Over the course of his sophomore season, Wallace's game has started to round into shape. He's no longer the guy that simply runs "9 routes" down the sidelines every play (though, he still does that) and gets behind the secondary. He's also starting to improve his route running and become more of a factor on the short and intermediate routes and turning short passes into big gains.

During the Steelers' Week 16 win against Carolina, for example, he took advantage of a Carolina blitz, hauled in a hot route, and sprinted through the entire Panthers secondary for a 43-yard touchdown.

Head coach Mike Tomlin, who has at times this season called Wallace a "one trick pony," referring to his ability to burn secondaries down field, was asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday what improvements Wallace still needed to make to become a more complete receiver. Tomlin pointed to attention to detail in route running and reading coverages. When asked if the touchdown against Carolina was what he had in mind, Tomlin simply smiled and said he liked what he saw on that play. Tomlin is big on talking about how there's always room for improvement, even in victory, so it's not a surprise that he'd like to see even more from his still raw -- and extremely talented -- second-year receiver.

So far this season Wallace has scored on plays of 41, 46, 29, 53, 39, 33, 52 and 43, and has two additional plays of 50 yards or more. No player on the NFL has more catches of 20-or-more yards entering Week 17 (24), and only DeSean Jackson of the Eagles averages more yards per catch. He's currently sixth in the NFL in receiving yards, despite only being targeted on 95 passes (catching 57), which ranks 40th in the NFL. Basically: even though he's not targeted as often as some other receivers, when the ball is thrown in Wallace's direction, big plays tend to happen.

The advanced statistical metrics at Football Outsiders rank Wallace as the No. 1 receiver in the NFL in 2010 both in terms of total value and value per play. He's also managed to catch 61 percent of the balls thrown his direction, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how many of his passes are deep down field and lower percentage plays.

The FO metrics aren't perfect, nor are they the end-all, be-all, but they're no more flawed than simply looking at total receptions or total yards without any context. A receiver that plays on a dreadful team that is constantly playing from behind and forced to throw the football in an effort to play catch up is going to make a lot of catches (Santana Moss and his 84 catches for the Redskins come to mind as an example of this). But hauling in a bunch of passes when your team is fighting a lost cause down by 20 points in the fourth quarter isn't as valuable as making big plays to put your team in a position to win. The Steelers rarely play from behind and have run the ball over 440 times this season, which doesn't give a receiver like Wallace as many opportunities to rack up huge reception numbers. But that doesn't take away from his overall value to the offense.

For as good as Holmes was for the Steelers (and still is for the Jets), Pittsburgh hasn't missed him due to the meteoric rise of Wallace, as well as the late-season development of rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike ... g-play-wr/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike-wallace-nfls-best-big-play-wr/)

The video in this link showed me all I need to know about Mike Wallace. Watch his actions after each of his touchdowns. More often than not, complete humility....nothing like show-dogging from Holmes. Wallace will be a Steeler for a very long time....

phillyesq
01-05-2011, 07:57 PM
Wallace has elite speed, and he accelerates like nobody else that I can remember watching. He is already very good, and has the potential to continue improving. As mentioned by a few posters above, his humility is very refreshing, especially at a position that seems to breed prima donas.

With all that said, I still think Holmes, right now, is better than Wallace on 10-15 yard routes. To my untrained eye, he seems to have a bit more eshake and precision in his routes. It's looking more to me like Sanders is going to be the guy to fill the Holmes role more than Wallace.

This isn't a criticism of Wallace at all -- I think he's very good, with the potential to be great.

hawaiiansteel
01-06-2011, 08:12 PM
Steelers WR Wallace Has 2 Speeds: Fast & Faster

January 6, 2011 2:58 PM

http://cbsdallas.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/107776367.jpg?w=420

Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the game on December 23, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)


PITTSBURGH (AP) – When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger steps into the pocket and looks downfield for Mike Wallace, he’s knows one thing for certain.

He’s not overthrowing one of the NFL’s fastest players, unless he somehow launches the ball 10 yards beyond the end zone.

“Can’t do it,” Roethlisberger said.

When the Steelers drafted Wallace in 2009, they knew they were getting a fast receiver. They had no idea the third-round draft pick from Mississippi might find himself being compared to receivers such as Hall of Famers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann so early in his career.

In two seasons, Wallace has 16 touchdown catches, including 10 in his first year as a starter this season. By comparison, Stallworth and Swann both had career highs of 11 touchdowns.

Wallace also averages 21 yards every time he catches a pass, and 12.7 yards whenever a pass is thrown his way — whether he catches it or not. His seven 100-yard games tied Stallworth for the most in a Steelers season. He also ranked second in the league with 17 catches of 25 yards or more.

No matter who the Steelers play in the NFL divisional playoffs next week, defending Wallace will be a priority for their opponent.

“Last year, I was just happy to catch the ball, just trying to make sure I didn’t drop the ball,” Wallace said. “This year, I wanted to score more, try to get up the field a lot faster when I catch the ball.”

Wallace was mostly the Steelers’ No. 3 receiver last season, playing often in extra-receiver sets. Yet, he averaged a league-high 19.4 yards per catch. This season, he was topped only by the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson at 22.5.

Wallace won’t say he’s the fastest wide receiver in the league. But he also can’t name anyone faster.

“If he had the amount of catches (the NFL leaders had), he’d have a ridiculous amount of yards,” Roethlisberger said. “But you know what? Maybe that gives him the motivation to improve and try to get up there.”

Wallace’s ongoing development has lessened the impact of former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes’ offseason trade to the Jets. The Steelers have a better record (12-4) than they did last year (9-7), and part of that is the chemistry that Wallace and Roethlisberger have developed in an increasingly uptempo offense.

Roethlisberger constantly kids Wallace. He calls him Burn. Not because of his speed, but because of his first name, which is Burnell. At the same time, Roethlisberger is pushing Wallace to get better, to add this trick or this move or this skill to his resume.

“To be doing all the things he’s doing at a young age is amazing,” said wide receiver Hines Ward, who also works extensively with Wallace. “But people don’t always see the stuff he’s getting better on — the route running, the getting in and out of cuts. He can push a guy now and get separation. The more he develops, the better he’s going to make everybody because it’s going to be very hard to defend him. You’re going to have to worry about negating his big-play ability, and that’s going to open up plays for other guys.”

On Sunday, the Steelers planned to target Wallace in man-to-man coverage to start their game in Cleveland, regardless of field position. Roethlisberger delivered a perfectly placed pass to an open Wallace for a 56-yard touchdown, and the Steelers went on to win 41-9, secure the AFC North title and a first-round playoff bye.

The game before, Wallace had a 43-yard catch for Pittsburgh’s first touchdown in a 27-3 victory over Carolina. Five of Wallace’s touchdowns this season are for 40 yards or longer, and he and Roethlisberger already have connected eight times in two seasons on scoring pass plays of such length.

Wallace’s growing confidence is evident, too.

Asked about going against Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis last month, Wallace said, “I don’t care about nobody. He’s just another guy. He’s a really good player, but I’m a real good player myself.”

Wallace’s rapid improvement, and the addition of rookies Emmanuel Sanders (28 catches for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Antonio Brown (16 catches, 167 yards), provide an element of speed the Steelers haven’t always had.

“We understand that this is the playoffs, and we expect things to happen pretty quickly there,” Wallace said. “I just want Ben to know I’ll be ready for him when he needs me. I’ll make the big plays, just like I did during the regular season. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t been in the playoffs before.”

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/01/06/stee ... st-faster/ (http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/01/06/steelers-wr-wallace-has-2-speeds-fast-faster/)

hawaiiansteel
01-07-2011, 08:07 PM
Defending Wallace a priority for any opposing defense

January 07, 2011 01:21 AM

By: HERALD STANDARD STAFF
Herald Standard


PITTSBURGH (AP) - When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger steps into the pocket and looks downfield for Mike Wallace, he's knows one thing for certain.

He's not overthrowing one of the NFL's fastest players, unless he somehow launches the ball 10 yards beyond the end zone.

"Can't do it," Roethlisberger said.

When the Steelers drafted Wallace in 2009, they knew they were getting a fast receiver. They had no idea the third-round draft pick from Mississippi might find himself being compared to receivers such as Hall of Famers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann so early in his career.

In two seasons, Wallace has 16 touchdown catches, including 10 in his first year as a starter this season. By comparison, Stallworth and Swann both had career highs of 11 touchdowns.

Wallace also averages 21 yards every time he catches a pass, and 12.7 yards whenever a pass is thrown his way - whether he catches it or not. His seven 100-yard games tied Stallworth for the most in a Steelers season. He also ranked second in the league with 17 catches of 25 yards or more.

No matter who the Steelers play in the NFL divisional playoffs next week, defending Wallace will be a priority for their opponent.

"Last year, I was just happy to catch the ball, just trying to make sure I didn't drop the ball," Wallace said. "This year, I wanted to score more, try to get up the field a lot faster when I catch the ball."

Wallace was mostly the Steelers' No. 3 receiver last season, playing often in extra-receiver sets. Yet, he averaged a league-high 19.4 yards per catch. This season, he was topped only by the Eagles' DeSean Jackson at 22.5.

Wallace won't say he's the fastest wide receiver in the league. But he also can't name anyone faster.

"If he had the amount of catches (the NFL leaders had), he'd have a ridiculous amount of yards," Roethlisberger said. "But you know what? Maybe that gives him the motivation to improve and try to get up there."

Wallace's ongoing development has lessened the impact of former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes' offseason trade to the Jets. The Steelers have a better record (12-4) than they did last year (9-7), and part of that is the chemistry that Wallace and Roethlisberger have developed in an increasingly uptempo offense.

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Roethlisberger constantly kids Wallace. He calls him Burn. Not because of his speed, but because of his first name, which is Burnell. At the same time, Roethlisberger is pushing Wallace to get better, to add this trick or this move or this skill to his resume.

"To be doing all the things he's doing at a young age is amazing," said wide receiver Hines Ward, who also works extensively with Wallace. "But people don't always see the stuff he's getting better on - the route running, the getting in and out of cuts. He can push a guy now and get separation. The more he develops, the better he's going to make everybody because it's going to be very hard to defend him. You're going to have to worry about negating his big-play ability, and that's going to open up plays for other guys."

On Sunday, the Steelers planned to target Wallace in man-to-man coverage to start their game in Cleveland, regardless of field position. Roethlisberger delivered a perfectly placed pass to an open Wallace for a 56-yard touchdown, and the Steelers went on to win 41-9, secure the AFC North title and a first-round playoff bye.

The game before, Wallace had a 43-yard catch for Pittsburgh's first touchdown in a 27-3 victory over Carolina. Five of Wallace's touchdowns this season are for 40 yards or longer, and he and Roethlisberger already have connected eight times in two seasons on scoring pass plays of such length.

Wallace's growing confidence is evident, too.

Asked about going against Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis last month, Wallace said, "I don't care about nobody. He's just another guy. He's a really good player, but I'm a real good player myself."

Wallace's rapid improvement, and the addition of rookies Emmanuel Sanders (28 catches for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Antonio Brown (16 catches, 167 yards), provide an element of speed the Steelers haven't always had.

"We understand that this is the playoffs, and we expect things to happen pretty quickly there," Wallace said. "I just want Ben to know I'll be ready for him when he needs me. I'll make the big plays, just like I did during the regular season. It doesn't matter that I haven't been in the playoffs before."

http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_deta ... fense.html (http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_detail/article/1636/2011/january/07/defending-wallace-a-priority-for-any-opposing-defense.html)

hawaiiansteel
01-11-2011, 07:10 PM
Ravens-Steelers III: Is Mike Wallace ready?

JAN 11
By James Walker


PITTSBURGH -- Steelers second-year receiver Mike Wallace said he's heard it all about playoff football from teammate and future Hall of the Famer Hines Ward this week.

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0111/nfl_a_ward_wallace_bl_300.jpg

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
Hines Ward wants to make sure Mike Wallace will be ready for the atmosphere and intensity of a playoff game.
"You know Hines is always ready to tell you a story," Wallace said with a smile.

At every chance during the bye, the 13-year veteran has been telling Wallace about the difference between the regular season and playoff football. Wallace, 24, is Pittsburgh's leading receiver and is playing at a Pro-Bowl level. But Wallace will make his postseason debut Saturday for the Steelers (12-4) against the Baltimore Ravens (13-4).

Ward is doing everything he can to make sure the dynamic Wallace is ready for the increase in intensity, especially in this brutal rivalry with the Ravens. Wallace, as he has for two seasons, is a willing student and says he's soaking in Ward's wisdom.

"You have to take the [important] things out of the story, because you gotta know going in there it's going to be a really long message," Wallace said in jest. "But he's sending me a really good message telling me about his experiences, even though it's going to be an hour or two."

Ward, who has two rings, knows better than anyone that a chance to win a Super Bowl doesn't come around often. The winner will advance to the AFC Championship Game, and Pittsburgh needs Wallace to play well in order to make a deep postseason run.

Wallace was one of the NFL's top breakout players this season with 60 receptions for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"He needs to just continue going out there and being Mike Wallace, and when you get your opportunity, make a play for us," Ward explained. "The intensity will pick up, because there’s more at stake, and each play is magnified. We may not get another chance to make a play, so we need to capitalize on the opportunities. I look for Mike Wallace to have a good postseason and a good ballgame."

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... lace-ready (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/23087/ravens-steelers-iii-is-mike-wallace-ready)

SanAntonioSteelerFan
01-11-2011, 07:51 PM
Mike Wallace: NFL's Best Big-Play Wide Receiver?

By Adam Gretz

http://www.blogcdn.com/nfl.fanhouse.com/media/2010/12/mikewallace.jpg

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets this past offseason, the biggest question for the offense was who would replace him as the its big-play threat in the passing game. Holmes, for all of his problems off of the field (two suspensions: one by the team in 2008, one by the NFL in 2010, a now infamous and probably forgotten Twitter meltdown) was an impact player on it. A Super Bowl MVP and an explosive wide receiver capable of turning any pass into a touchdown.

The answer for his replacement was an easy one, coming in the form of second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace. Fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him finish with the highest yards-per-catch average in the NFL, he's emerged as not only the Steelers biggest impact player on offense, but also the best big play wide receiver in the NFL.

As a rookie in the Steelers offense in 2009, many of Wallace's catches came as the result of him using his freakish speed and simply out-running defensive backs down the field and hauling in bombs from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That is very different from the type of player that Holmes was for the Steelers. Holmes excelled at turning the 10-yard pass into a 60-yard gain. He was at his best after he already had the football in his hands and was making people miss. Wallace simply managed to run past everybody and pick up all 60 yards at once.

Over the course of his sophomore season, Wallace's game has started to round into shape. He's no longer the guy that simply runs "9 routes" down the sidelines every play (though, he still does that) and gets behind the secondary. He's also starting to improve his route running and become more of a factor on the short and intermediate routes and turning short passes into big gains.

During the Steelers' Week 16 win against Carolina, for example, he took advantage of a Carolina blitz, hauled in a hot route, and sprinted through the entire Panthers secondary for a 43-yard touchdown.

Head coach Mike Tomlin, who has at times this season called Wallace a "one trick pony," referring to his ability to burn secondaries down field, was asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday what improvements Wallace still needed to make to become a more complete receiver. Tomlin pointed to attention to detail in route running and reading coverages. When asked if the touchdown against Carolina was what he had in mind, Tomlin simply smiled and said he liked what he saw on that play. Tomlin is big on talking about how there's always room for improvement, even in victory, so it's not a surprise that he'd like to see even more from his still raw -- and extremely talented -- second-year receiver.

So far this season Wallace has scored on plays of 41, 46, 29, 53, 39, 33, 52 and 43, and has two additional plays of 50 yards or more. No player on the NFL has more catches of 20-or-more yards entering Week 17 (24), and only DeSean Jackson of the Eagles averages more yards per catch. He's currently sixth in the NFL in receiving yards, despite only being targeted on 95 passes (catching 57), which ranks 40th in the NFL. Basically: even though he's not targeted as often as some other receivers, when the ball is thrown in Wallace's direction, big plays tend to happen.

The advanced statistical metrics at Football Outsiders rank Wallace as the No. 1 receiver in the NFL in 2010 both in terms of total value and value per play. He's also managed to catch 61 percent of the balls thrown his direction, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how many of his passes are deep down field and lower percentage plays.

The FO metrics aren't perfect, nor are they the end-all, be-all, but they're no more flawed than simply looking at total receptions or total yards without any context. A receiver that plays on a dreadful team that is constantly playing from behind and forced to throw the football in an effort to play catch up is going to make a lot of catches (Santana Moss and his 84 catches for the Redskins come to mind as an example of this). But hauling in a bunch of passes when your team is fighting a lost cause down by 20 points in the fourth quarter isn't as valuable as making big plays to put your team in a position to win. The Steelers rarely play from behind and have run the ball over 440 times this season, which doesn't give a receiver like Wallace as many opportunities to rack up huge reception numbers. But that doesn't take away from his overall value to the offense.

For as good as Holmes was for the Steelers (and still is for the Jets), Pittsburgh hasn't missed him due to the meteoric rise of Wallace, as well as the late-season development of rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike ... g-play-wr/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/mike-wallace-nfls-best-big-play-wr/)

The video in this link showed me all I need to know about Mike Wallace. Watch his actions after each of his touchdowns. More often than not, complete humility....nothing like show-dogging from Holmes. Wallace will be a Steeler for a very long time....

Wow. I guess that is a statistical confirmation of what our eyes have been telling us. THough I have to say I'm a little surprised he comes out on top ... I still think I'd be a good GM though!!