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View Full Version : The Steelers biggest playmaker?



Dee Dub
12-05-2011, 01:35 PM
No question that Antonio Brown is emerging as a big time play maker, but as it stands right now, in my opinion, the teams biggest play maker is still Mike Wallace. If we look at his numbers we see that he is actually doing more with less. In fact league wide there are 25 receivers who have been targeted more than Wallace. And even on his own team, he hasnt been targeted the most. Antonio Brown has actually had more balls thrown his way than Wallace (89 to 84). Yet Wallace has more receptions, more yards, and more TD's than his teammate.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/playe ... ingTargets (http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player?stat=receiving&sort=receivingTargets)

Mike Wallace does more with less.

It makes you wonder what Wallace would do if the Steelers made an effort to get him the ball more. And what the Steelers offense would be like.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-05-2011, 04:39 PM
As all these other targets emerge--Brown, Sanders, Saunders, etc.--then shouldn't that make it easier to get the ball to Wallace more?

grotonsteel
12-05-2011, 06:18 PM
Wallace need to hold on to the ball..he had one more drop yesterday. But i must say that 12-yard TD run was awesome.

Young Money are turning out to be really good.

flippy
12-05-2011, 07:01 PM
I think the fact that Ben goes to Brown more means Brown's the better WR. He's the guy with the hands. He's the guy with the quickness in tight spaces to separate.

The big question is if we have the ball on a final drive in a SuperBowl, who's Ben looking for next time? Last year he seemed to be looking for Wallace and things didn't work out.

This time he might be looking for Brown or Sanders. While Wallace is great as a deep threat. Brown and Sanders are guys that can work the entire field a little better imho.

They're all great and all will help each other.

I'm actually most excited about Saunders and think he can become uncoverable and open up everything for everyone.

steelblood
12-05-2011, 07:11 PM
Wallace not only makes big plays, he also forces teams to keep a safety on his side of the field. It isn't always a big play with him, but this helps out the entire team, especially Antonio Brown because he gets a lot of one-on-one match ups.

But, I'd say the biggest playmaker is Ben.

sd steel
12-05-2011, 07:15 PM
Until about 3 weeks ago I would have said no contest, Wallace. But I have to say I thing Brown is making more things happen. No doubt they both are huge playmakers for us, but I trust Brown's hands more than Wallace's. The guy I'm most excited about is Saunders. I think he will turn out to be very similar to Antonio Gates/Rob Gronkowski very soon, and Ben will start finding him more. He is faster and more athletic than Heath, and has soft hands. He creates alot of mismatches.

NJ-STEELER
12-05-2011, 07:27 PM
I think the fact that Ben goes to Brown more means Brown's the better WR. He's the guy with the hands. He's the guy with the quickness in tight spaces to separate.

The big question is if we have the ball on a final drive in a SuperBowl, who's Ben looking for next time? Last year he seemed to be looking for Wallace and things didn't work out.

This time he might be looking for Brown or Sanders. While Wallace is great as a deep threat. Brown and Sanders are guys that can work the entire field a little better imho.

They're all great and all will help each other.

I'm actually most excited about Saunders and think he can become uncoverable and open up everything for everyone.

he's the not not being bracketed by coverage

not that he's in the same class but SNF showed what NO's defense was doing to defend calvin johnson.... you dont think nate burleson is the better receiver cause he got more passes his way, do you?

Dee Dub
12-05-2011, 07:27 PM
Wallace not only makes big plays, he also forces teams to keep a safety on his side of the field. It isn't always a big play with him, but this helps out the entire team, especially Antonio Brown because he gets a lot of one-on-one match ups.

But, I'd say the biggest playmaker is Ben.

Blood, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's because of what Wallace does without the ball (how teams play him), that has created a lot of opportunities for Brown and others.

Teams arent playing a high safety over the top versus Brown.

Dee Dub
12-05-2011, 07:33 PM
I think the fact that Ben goes to Brown more means Brown's the better WR. He's the guy with the hands. He's the guy with the quickness in tight spaces to separate.


I dont buy that. What I do know is that Antonio Brown has been targeted 89 times (primarily one on one coverage), and he has only 1 TD reception to this point. Mike Wallace on the other hand has been targeted 84 times and has 8 TD receptions (with opposing teams now trying to take the deep ball away from him).

I think if Wallace was targeted more (like some of the league leaders), he probably would get that 2,000 yard season easy.

hawaiiansteel
12-05-2011, 07:45 PM
Steelers' Brown goes distance on punt return

By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 5, 2011

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1373219/39167884E.jpg

Antonio Brown wasn't overly thrilled when he was stripped of his kickoff return duties last weekend against Kansas City.

He reluctantly relinquished the job to Emmanuel Sanders. Coach Mike Tomlin made the decision to lessen Brown's workload as the Steelers jockey for a playoff position down the stretch.

Still, Brown wanted a chance to fulfill a preseason goal of taking one the distance. So, he lobbied to continue returning punts.

On Sunday, Brown's persistence paid a huge dividend as the Steelers roughed up the Cincinnati Bengals, 35-7, to keep pace with Baltimore in the AFC North.

The mercurial wide receiver returned a punt 60 yards for a special teams touchdown that gave the Steelers a commanding 28-7 halftime lead.

Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber may have out-kicked the coverage, but the Bengals' defenders simply didn't possess the speed to deny Brown the end zone once cornerback Bryant McFadden delivered a block that enabled him to turn the corner.

Brown, who averaged 27.8 yards on kickoff returns, had only Huber to beat as he tight-roped the right sideline. With nary a Bengals player in pursuit, Huber whiffed as Brown cut back toward the middle of an open field.

"McFadden provided me with that last block that allowed me to get to the edge, and that was the key," said Brown, who had totaled only three yards on two subsequent punt returns. "From there, it was just me and the punter. Nobody touched me."

Brown's return was one of several big plays for the Steelers' special teams. Defensive end Cam Heyward blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt, and Stevenson Sylvester forced a fumble on a kickoff return that Sanders recovered.

For Brown, the return game had been a source of frustration in an otherwise productive season. He had come tantalizingly close several times to breaking through only to get tripped up with the end zone in sight.

Brown's touchdown did more than energize the already fired-up Steelers. It seemingly took the fight out of a young Cincinnati team that has dropped three of the past four games - including a 24-17 loss to the Steelers three weeks ago in Cincinnati.

The Steelers so dominated the Bengals that they didn't need Brown to work overtime. He had two receptions for 67 yards after totaling nine for 186 yards in the previous two wins over Kansas City and Cincinnati.

Instead, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sparked an efficient, error-free offense that methodically rolled up yards. Wide receivers Hines Ward and Mike Wallace had a combined 11 receptions, but Brown's 45-yard catch with 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenhall that put the Steelers up 7-0.

"We were on rhythm," Brown said. "We did a good job on offense, but we have to do this week in and week out."

Brown had the catch of the day a dazzling 22-yard grab late in third quarter with cornerback Kelly Jennings and safety Reggie Nelson draped over his back. He, too, absorbed the game's biggest hit when Nelson delivered a crunching blow to his chest in the fourth.

"It was one of my first NFL big hits," Brown said jokingly. "You have to have the ability to get up. I was trying to find some wind."

At last, he found the end zone a punt return that helped ease the pain.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1fhaLUVpW (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_770410.html#ixzz1fhaLUVpW)

Discipline of Steel
12-05-2011, 07:47 PM
If you take a longer view, Id have to say that James Harrison has consistently been our biggest plymaker of late. Even gets the edge over Troy P. More recently, James Harrison has been on fire the last few games and look at the overall D results.

hawaiiansteel
12-11-2011, 01:45 PM
Run to prominence: Steelers Mike Wallace a big-play threat

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, December 11, 2011


How he stacks up

Mike Wallace matches up favorably with four of the elite receivers in the NFL after the 45th game of their respective careers:

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: 230 catches/3,135 yards/13.6 avg./24 TDs

Calvin Johnson, Lions: 193/3,071/15.9/21

Mike Wallace, Steelers:161/3,047/18.9/24

Greg Jennings, Packers: 187/2,988/16.0/26

Andre Johnson, Texans: 208/2,806/3.5/12


A knock on the door led her to a youth football coach holding her injured son. For Sonjia Wallace, it also slammed shut a different door.

There would be no more football for her son, not after someone had stepped on his eye, leaving it swollen and in need of medical care.

It took several trips to the doctor to fix the eye. It also took years before Wallace allowed her son to play organized football again. When she finally relented, she told him, "OK, Michael, you can play, but you make sure you run. Don't let nobody catch you."

Mike Wallace has done his best to follow through on an impossible mandate from his nervous mother. And if his sublime speed gets the New Orleans native where he ultimately wants to go, that anecdote may well become part of Wallace's lore.

In his third NFL season, the Steelers receiver has established himself as one of the NFL's premier big-play threats.

Wallace on Thursday night eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for the second consecutive season, and he already has a dozen 100-yard receiving games to his credit. Hall of Famer John Stallworth had 25 such games during a 14-year Steelers career.

Wallace has everyone's attention on the field. His blistering early-season pace has slowed -- he has gone six consecutive games without going over 100 yards receiving -- but the 6-foot, 199-pounder still has an outside shot at Yancey Thigpen's franchise record for receiving yards in a season (1,398 in 1997).

"I believe we're watching something special," said quarterback Byron Leftwich, who is on injured reserve with a broken arm but is still a regular presence at the Steelers' South Side headquarters. "I believe when all's said and done, he'll go down as one of the best ever from a numbers standpoint. People don't even call him one of the top 10 wide receivers in this league, but he's got a chance to have better numbers than a lot of people."

There are 10 players whose statistics Wallace checks regularly. They are the receivers taken ahead of him in the 2009 NFL Draft. That teams passed over him for more than two rounds stokes Wallace's inner embers.

Asked if he doesn't get his due, Wallace shrugged and smiled.

"I think we're public enemy No. 1. People want us to fail, but we're going to keep pushing," he said. "People don't have to tell us we're good. We know we're good. The world will find out eventually when we hold up that Lombardi (Trophy)."

Unearthing a gem

The assignment offered a chance for Randy Fichtner to return to Tennessee, where he had spent two coaching stints at Memphis.

But the opportunity to see family and old friends was not the only reason Fichtner embraced the idea of representing the Steelers at Memphis' Pro Day workout. Timing and proximity also allowed him to attend Pro Day at the University of Mississippi -- and get a firsthand look at Wallace, who had intrigued him at the NFL Scouting Combine by running a 4.28 in the 40-yard dash.

The Rebels were flush with NFL prospects, and their headliners were offensive tackle Michael Oher -- his story inspired the best-selling book and movie, "The Blind Side" -- and defensive tackle Peria Jerry.

As Fichtner took note of how many NFL coaches, general managers and scouts were at Ole Miss' Pro Day, something struck him: He was the only receivers coach.

The receivers attending the workout were such a low priority that there was no quarterback to throw to them. Fichtner ended up running drills for the wideouts, many of whom were from schools that did not have Pro Day workouts.

He also got a chance to put Wallace through a personal workout and interview him. He came away impressed with Wallace's ability to do more than just run.

"Believe me, I threw some bad passes, and it wasn't on purpose," said Fichtner, who is now the Steelers' quarterbacks coach, "and he was adjusting and catching."

When he returned to Pittsburgh, Fichtner looked up Wallace's college statistics. He noticed his production generally spiked late in seasons, something Fichtner chalked up to Wallace playing for different coaches and quarterbacks.

That was enough for the Steelers to put Wallace on "our radar," Fichtner said.

Not that Wallace had any idea they were interested. He had not interviewed with the Steelers at the combine or made a pre-draft visit to Pittsburgh. When the Steelers took Wallace with the 20th pick in the third round of the draft, 84th overall, it surprised him.

It moved his brother, Reggie, to tears.

"He said, 'Ma, do you realize that was my favorite team? And my little brother is going to play for them?' " Sonjia Wallace said.

For two brothers who had been separated by the streets of New Orleans, it provided a connection on which both still thrive.

Rising above

Reggie Wallace, the oldest of five kids, gave Mike the nickname "Rock" as a toddler because he never cried when he fell.

"He always had that love for his little brother and took care of his little brother," Sonjia Wallace said. "He definitely has a good heart. He just did some dumb things."

Reggie learned the Steelers drafted his brother while he was in a Louisiana state jail. He is serving time for selling drugs and is an example of what Wallace overcame while growing up in a West Bank neighborhood of New Orleans.

"He never really talked to me about street life. It was not something I wanted to do," said Wallace, who also lost a half-brother to street violence. "I can't buy my mom a house sitting on a corner selling drugs. I owe her everything."

Sonjia Wallace held down two jobs for about four years -- she worked as a presser at a dry cleaner and a caregiver at a home for mentally and physically challenged people -- and she sometimes only saw her children in the morning.

The sacrifices she made is why Wallace, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, plans to buy her a dream house.

Overcoming his environment shaped Wallace as much as a person as it did a player. That is something Steelers receivers coach Scottie Montgomery learned the more he got to know Wallace.

"If there's something to be done away from here with young kids, he's one of those people with an inner-city situation that understands that," said Montgomery, who is in his second season with the Steelers. "He knows his situation 10 years ago was completely different than it is now. I just didn't realize how much he cared about this opportunity. Now I know."

Not forgetting where he came from includes his brother and the unconditional love they share.

The two remain in regular contact -- they spoke last Sunday before Wallace scored two touchdowns against the Bengals -- and Wallace plans to bring Reggie to Pittsburgh after he is released from prison in 2013.

"He tells me words can't explain it how he's feeling, how good I'm making his time go," Wallace said. "It's never good in jail, but it makes it a lot of easier for him when I'm doing well."

'Extra gear' propels Wallace

Wallace may have world-class speed, but he is not a textbook sprinter.

His feet jut out slightly when he walks and runs -- think of them pointing to the 11 and 1 on a clock -- and his track coach at O. Perry Walker High School tried to change his style.

It didn't stick, and it didn't matter.

"That's just how I am," Wallace said. "Nobody could ever catch me."

Wallace's speed stands out on the football field.

"When he sees the ball in the air, he has that extra gear," Leftwich said. "Mike's like a center fielder, seeing the ball come off the bat. He's just running, and he'll find it later on to make a catch."

"Mike Wallace is an unbelievable talent," said Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a perennial Pro Bowler. "Everybody knows what his skill set is, and he is still finding a way to get it done."

Wallace led all rookie receivers with 756 receiving yards in 2009. He had nearly 1,300 receiving yards last season, his first one as a starter. In between those seasons, Wallace's infamous "one-trick pony" nickname was born.

It happened during an offseason practice in 2010, while the Steelers were taking part in an 11-on-11 drill. As Wallace took his place at the line of scrimmage, free safety Ryan Clark called out, "Just stay back. He's a one-trick pony."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't run with the sobriquet; he galloped with it, using it as away to prod Wallace.

Not that Wallace needs extra motivation, especially as he is the link between the past and a better future for his family.

Wallace is supremely confident, though when he claims he can be the best in the game, he says it so matter of factly that it doesn't comes across as bluster.

That may be because in the next breath Wallace, who turned 25 in August, concedes there is still much for him to learn.

"I want to be one of the best ever," Wallace said. "I want people to remember me."

"He can be great," Montgomery said, "if he just allows it to happen."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1gFGUF86X (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_771477.html#ixzz1gFGUF86X)

steeler_george
12-12-2011, 06:31 AM
As for WR playmaking ability, it is a close call.

Wallace is being doubled and still manages to get open, there have been a few times that Ben over throws or under throws a wide open Wallace. Speed kills and as for his drops, every good Wr does it.

Brown is lightning in a bottle, never know with this kid. He makes the YAC, look so easssssy!

Sanders (wr) is consistent as they come love his over all game. He just need to be healthy.

The thing that worries me is the off season. Are we going to be able to give the money that Wallace commands? In addition, I want them to extend Brown to a longer contract. The WR next year should be nastier than ever with them being healthy and more experienced. Wallace, Brown, Sanders, and Jericho (if he resigns) add in Heath and the potential in Saunders.

Now the question is, if you had to pick between Wallace and Brown, who would you rather have or who is the most irreplaceable?