I fully admit that I’ve been critical of Mike Wallace since mid season last year. I didn’t care for the holdout or the apparent reasons behind it. I think he’s an absolute amazing talent with the capability to be one of the best to ever play the game. However, that’s what drives me bananas watching him play, the constant underachieving, seemingly lack luster effort on the field, and now this…
Now it all starts to make sense, Mike Wallace doesn’t make the plays because he can’t stay focused on the football. The place where he’s paid millions of dollars to catch passes and help the offense in every way possible. So just because you’re not the focal point of the offense, you just go out and not put your full focus into every play, every time?
Didn’t Hines Ward have this talk with Wallace shortly before the Steeler legend officially hung up his cleats? As I recall the most important thing that Hines said when speaking to Wallace was to just catch the ball; catch everything you can because that’s your bread and butter. Do that and the Steelers will take care of you.
Don’t do that and the Steelers will think twice about giving you the money you think you deserve.
Well so far it appears Wallace hasn’t gotten the message. Blame the holdout during the offseason and in training camp but we’re now in December, he’s more than in game shape and more than capable of catching everything that comes his way (assuming it’s not the occasional mile high end zone toss).
As Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes: “I’ve never been a guy who dropped balls or just lose focus,” Wallace said somewhat apologetically. “The first three years I was always involved, so you just warmed up in games, and you were just into it.
“But when you don’t get the ball for two-and-half quarters, you lose focus. But that’s the type of offense this is. We’re spreading it around, so you’re not going to get as many targets. When you get them, you have to make the best of them.”
“When I don’t get the ball for a certain amount of time, I lose focus sometimes,” he said. “It hurts me when it’s time for me to make a play.”
This is what drives fans to boo every time Wallace doesn’t catch the ball, regardless of whether it’s catchable or not. You don’t see Heinz Field booing, or social media blowing up if Antonio Brown misses a catch, or Jerricho Cotchery because more often than not they do their job.
The only thing I could say in Wallace’s defense is that we all are human, and sometimes you do “drop the ball” in your daily life. However, after this long into the season, you better be able to adjust your game and pick yourself up for the sake of your team.
There are no excuses in the NFL, you can be the biggest talent in the world but not giving your team 100% of your mind and body while out on the playing field shouldn’t sit well with anybody. If the lesson that #17 says he’s had to learn this year actually appeared to sink in then things might be different. Through the first 3 months of the regular season though, that doesn’t appear to be the case.