The ending to this season wasn’t anything close to what Mike Wallace and the Miami Dolphins had in mind when the team started their journey back in April. It was a season filled with high highs and low lows, culminating in a way which no one wanted it to end, losing the final two games when Miami was in control of its own playoff destiny. And now with the season over, on comes a period of reflection.
In a candid interview with the Finsiders, Wallace looked back on this year, talking about the areas in which he had some success, the areas in which he needs to improve, and what the offseason holds in store for him.
First, Wallace looked back on the good. After all, he did have 73 receptions on the year (the most in his career), four 100-yard games, and showed NFL fans some of his devastating speed. He also became part of a Dolphins receiving corps that has a lot of talent, and will only get better according to Wallace.
“I think we have a deep group, especially when you consider Gib (Brandon Gibson) getting hurt, and (Armon) Binns got hurt in training camp. We have a lot of guys, and everybody brings something different to the table. It’s not just a deep group, it’s a versatile group,” said Wallace. ”We’ll come back so much stronger next year.”
But for all the success that he had during the year, he’s calling his first season in a Dolphins uniform for what it was: average.
“It was okay. I feel like my expectations of myself is always higher, but we did okay,” said Wallace. “I was average, just like everybody else for the most part. Our season, our record, tells all of that.”
The season was a frustrating one for all involved, and just one frustrating part of it for Wallace was he and quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s lack of ability to connect downfield on deep balls. All season, the two came close on a lot of throws of 30+ yards, but never seemed to hit it perfectly. But Wallace knows that the two can get on the same page, and that eventually it will click.
“I’ve done this plenty of times on my own, I know Ryan’s done it on his own. We just have to hit it together,” said Wallace. “When you just go back and look at how many touchdowns (missed), it’s gotta be 12, 13, 14 touchdowns we left out there easily. More than that. It’s very manageable plays that we can hit, but it’s lot easier said than done. These plays are easily within our capabilities of hitting so we gotta be able to go out there and make those plays.”
On some of those deep balls, balls were underthrown, and Wallace admitted that he struggled coming back to the ball. According to him, that’s the number one thing he has to work on this offseason.
“I get open pretty deep often, but I feel like I need to come back and jump over a couple guys for sure,” said Wallace. “If I can pinpoint one thing, it’s to come back and jump over a couple guys when the ball comes short.”
Wallace realizes that he has to take what the defense gives him sometimes, and not get greedy always looking for the home run ball.
“I always want to make everything a touchdown instead of knowing that the ball is a little short, and that sometimes I have to attack it,” said Wallace. “Sometimes I need to know that this is not about to be a touchdown, it’s just going to be a big play for my football team. Like a first down, maybe a pass interference. I just got to stop trying to want to score so much.”
He’ll certainly have time to work on that this offseason, with the season ending prematurely for Miami. With the way the season ended, Wallace says the final two losses this year will hang over this group for awhile, but it will be great motivator to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
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