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anger 82&95
10-28-2011, 05:44 PM
"Interesting matchup at Heinz Field Sunday in the afternoon game of the day in the NFL, and I don't just mean the Steelers and Patriots. I mean the Steelers ascending wide receiver, Mike Wallace, versus the Patriots' descending cornerback, Devin McCourty.

McCourty was one of my two All-Pro corners last year, finally filling the void left by Asante Samuel when he left for Philadelphia in free agency in 2008. He was a durable shutdown corner; according to ProFootballFocus, quarterbacks had a paltry 61.1 rating throwing against McCourty in 2010 -- that's like playing against Kyle Boller every week. But that passer rating has skied to 123.6 this year. He may think he's the same confident player he was last year, but he's not playing like it.

It's not only Wallace who McCourty and the Patriots will have to worry about Sunday. A 2010 sixth-round pick from Central Michigan, Antonio Brown, gives Ben Roethlisberger a second deep threat opposite Wallace. Together, they're averaging 18 yards per catch. Suddenly, the Steelers aren't your father's Steelers. They're a team happier to throw it deep than to let Rashard Mendenhall bang it into the line.

What I've noticed watching the first half of this season is Ben Roethlisberger is not just playing scorched-earth football. He's happy to have the sub-4.4 Wallace and Brown take the top off the defense and let them run under his high-arcing rainbows. Roethlisberger is working hard to master the touch pass and the back-shoulder pass to his speed guys. I asked Wallace about that, and he bit aggressively, like he was waiting to talk about it.

"I catch 100 balls a day, and they're all with a purpose,'' Wallace said. "I'm working on the precision of my routes every day and getting better. We're getting to the point where we really know each other, and I can read what he wants me to do on a route. It's not like he has to say in the huddle, 'Mike, if the DB's gonna overrun the route here, just hold up and I'll throw it short.' I know when to adjust what I'm doing. That doesn't just happen. We throw every day. We grind it.''

That's what has made Wallace such a dangerous player. He' made enough deep plays to have an AFC-best 20.3-yards-per-catch average. But as Roethlisberger will tell you, he's not a one-trick pony. He's looked like the complete receiver he itches to be this season. And these are the games when the great ones show up big. Even if McCourty is slumping, Wallace has to know the Patriots corner and fellow starter Kyle Arrington will show Pittsburgh different cover designs Sunday -- bumping one snap, playing seven yards off the next. And everything in between.

One more thing about Wallace. I remember watching him in Steeler camp in 2010, and he and a couple of the young receivers were the last players left on the field, 20 minutes after practice broke. I've admired his drive and asked him about it when we spoke.

"I don't play football just to play,'' he said. "I want to be remembered for a long time after I'm gone.''

Well, then, these are the kinds of settings -- with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady on the other sideline -- where great players show up. I'd be surprised if Wallace didn't come up big against New England."



Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/w ... z1c7C6GAI2 (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/peter_king/10/28/week-8/index.html#ixzz1c7C6GAI2)

SanAntonioSteelerFan
10-28-2011, 06:16 PM
^^

Would it not be nice if we beat them through the air, and then when they adjust we beat them on the ground.

I have what I believe is bordering on an unhealthy amount of desire to see the Pats* beat like rented mules. It would be nice to see Marcia* barking at his O-line as he is being squeegied off the turf at Heinz Field. And Wallace prancing into the EZ at the end of a 50 yard rainbow ... twice. And Mendy with a 60 yard TD, and Red with two 1 yard TDs. And HOOD scooping it up after Troy pancakes Marcia*, and rumbling 25 yards into the EZ.

I feel badly for James ... you KNOW he would kill to be in there if he could.

Maybe in January ...

Dee Dub
10-28-2011, 06:22 PM
"I catch 100 balls a day, and they're all with a purpose,'' Wallace said. "I'm working on the precision of my routes every day and getting better. We're getting to the point where we really know each other, and I can read what he wants me to do on a route. It's not like he has to say in the huddle, 'Mike, if the DB's gonna overrun the route here, just hold up and I'll throw it short.' I know when to adjust what I'm doing. That doesn't just happen. We throw every day. We grind it.''

Imagine that. There are some Steeler fans who think that Ben doesn't really work on his craft. That he doesnt take the time to work at getting better as a QB.

His teammates know differently. :wink:

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

SteelCrazy
10-28-2011, 06:53 PM
"We're getting to the point where we really know each other, and I can read what he wants me to do on a route"

I wish that were true on blitzing downs. Wallace didnt get Ben's discreet gestures at the line on at least 4-5 different occasions when he should have cut off his route because the D blitzed. Other than that he is smokin'!

hawaiiansteel
10-30-2011, 03:12 AM
Pats could have had Wallace, opted for Tate

Thursday, October 27, 2011
By PAUL KENYON


FOXBORO In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Patriots and Steelers both decided to take receivers with third-round selections. The Pats were directly ahead of Pittsburgh, so they got to take the guy they wanted most.

They went with Brandon Tate from North Carolina with the 19th pick in the round, the 83rd overall. The Steelers, with the 84th selection, opted to go with Mike Wallace out of Mississippi.

The choices have worked out very differently.

Tate was rated by many as a first-round talent who fell because he was coming off a torn ACL, an injury that would carry over into the start of his pro career. Still, most praised the choice by New England since Tate was praised as a major deep threat with big-time speed. He also had been among the national leaders in punt returns and returned kickoffs, as well, which added to his versatility, a trait Bill Belichick wants in his players.

Tate never got going with the Patriots. He did have two kickoff returns for touchdowns in 2010, but had only 24 career receptions and was cut in the final roster reductions in September. He is now with Cincinnati. He has not caught a pass for the Bengals, but is among the NFL leaders in punt returns with 21 for 222 yards. He also has a 24.2 average on 14 kickoff returns.

Wallace was viewed as more of a gamble, a top talent but an unrefined player, according to some of the scouts. Like Tate, he has blazing speed, but his route-running skills were called a work in progress. He has turned out to be a great choice.

Wallace is blossoming this season into one of the top deep threats in the league. He had 30 receptions as a rookie, then 60 in 2010 for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns. He already has 36 catches for 739 yards and five touchdowns this year, including a team record 95-yarder from Ben Roethlisberger in the victory over Arizona Sunday.

Containing Wallace will be one of New Englands biggest goals this Sunday at Heinz Field.

Hes a fun guy to play football with, Roethlisberger said. Hes just got a contagious smile and hes fast and hes fun to throw it to. When you throw him the ball and he gets it in his hands and hes behind defenders, you know no one is going to catch him. He does some great things for opening up other guys on our offense as well.

Belichick is impressed with Wallaces development.

Hes a big-play receiver. Hes really fast, Belichick offered. Nobody is going to catch him, so you have to be careful about how much space he gets when he catches the ball. I think hes improved a lot from when we played them last year, just as a football player, his patience and route technique.

He stretches the field, but he can also take a short pass and turn it into a long run, so you have to defend him from the line of scrimmage to the back of the end zone and from sideline to sideline. Hes a tough guy to match up on. Hes done a good job.

Obviously hes worked hard and hes being well-coached and hes got a good quarterback and other good receivers to complement him. Hes part of their very productive offense, Belichick concluded.

The Patriots have already seen Wallace in action. Wallace had eight receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns when the two teams met at Heinz Field last season.

The Patriots are doing just fine in the passing game. Tom Brady is on a record pace and New England leads the league in passing yards, thanks in large part to the work of Wes Welker. Still, it would be interesting to imagine what the New England passing game might be like if they had taken Wallace rather than Tate with that third-round pick three years ago.

http://www.providencejournal.com/sports ... afb0a.html (http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/patriots/content/Patriots_Steelers_Wallace_Tate_10-28-11_UFR6I_v2.22afb0a.html)