The Dolphins lost Monday, but whatever. As we enter Week 5 officially today, 3-1 is a fine record at the quarter mark for a team that went 7-9 last year, and two of those wins have come against playoff teams from last January (Colts and Falcons). So, everyone is happy and cheerful, right? Ha.
Mike Wallace is having the kind of season thus far that’s the subject of anxiety even during winning times, so you can imagine how much the worry would increase if the Dolphins were losing more football games. He’s of course been a maddening possession for fantasy purposes too, as after widely being drafted to be a WR1, he’s producing at a WR3 level. At best.
We’re concerned, and so is Wallace:
“I’m definitely worried about it because it’s game four. I’m not paranoid or anything but in Week Four it’s not the way I imagined my first four weeks going. Definitely not. I’m pretty sure it’s not the way anybody imagined it going. So for myself, and starting with myself, [quarterback] Ryan [Tannehill] and coaches, we all got to do a better job and find a way to make it work.”
Through four games Wallace has 176 receiving yards on 15 catches with one touchdown. That’s bad enough, and it gets a whole lot worse once we remember that most of his yardage (115 yards) came during what’s now looking like an outlier in Week 2. He’s fourth on his own team in both receptions and yards (behind Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, and Charles Clay), while setting an early pace of only 704 yards overall this season. That’s even lower than his current career low output last year (836 yards) which contributed to his Pittsburgh exit.
And oh, it gets worse, because of course it does. Wallace was also exiled from Pittsburgh because he didn’t fit in Todd Haley’s short passing scheme that largely favors dinks and dunks over bombing. Under offensive coordinator Mike Sherman in Miami, the same fate was feared, and that darkness has consumed Wallace’s soul early. He’s been targeted only 28 times (11 of which came in one game), and there’s been nearly no creativity in his usage.
Former Pitt. OC Bruce Arians motioned Wallace. Put him in slot at times. Dolphins just line him up on right side 90% of time. No movement.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) October 3, 2013
His extreme booming and busting thus far isn’t a fluke then. It’s a trend, and one that will continue throughout the season unless it’s corrected now, and the Dolphins actually intend to use their $60 million toy according to its designed purpose. He’s finished with less than 25 yards in three of Miami’s four games, and please hide your monitor from any superiors, because here’s the most frightening and NSFW pace resulting from that: he’s currently averaging 11.7 yards per catch, and prior to his arrival in Miami, Wallace was clipping along at a much more pleasant 17.2 yards.
In fake football, that’s translated to all of 22.5 fantasy points, and 5.6 per game. Benching Wallace is something you should think long and hard about this weekend against Baltimore.
Where’s Wallace at indeed. That’s all I wanna know.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
I don’t at all see how this could go wrong
It seems you’re only cool in the NFL if you’ve changed your name several times. The cool cachet is then increased that much further if you change your name back, and keep alternating whenever you please.
So, have you met Donte Hitner? Yes, apparently that’s a real thing now. Formerly Donte Whitner, the 49ers safety is pissed about being fined so much for illegal hits (most recently, $21,000 this week for a hit on Chris Givens), so he’s just saying screw it while embracing the whole illegal head hunter thing.
It’s official…The W is being removed from my last name from Whitner to Hitner…GM
— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) October 2, 2013
I get the comedy and commentary here, Donte, and it’s really very witty (not really). But don’t you think this name sounds a little close to a certain evil dictator who history sort of frowns on? No? Alright then.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) October 3, 2013
Ray Rice sucks a lot too
No, that’s a lie. He’s really, really good at football, and in fairness Ray Rice has also been hobbled by a hip injury while missing one game, and part of another. But even with that injury grace period, Rice still rivals Wallace with his crushing disappointment this far, and the hurt with him is multiplied after he was almost universally a first-round pick in fantasy drafts.
Through three games Rice has only 89 rushing yards on 30 carries. That adds up to a facepalm-y average of 3.0 yards per carry, a significant fall from his pace of 4.4 last year. In an offense devoid of other receiving options not named Torrey Smith, Rice has also declined drastically in that area while averaging 14.7 receiving yards per game. Last year, receiving was a major source of his production (29.9 YPG).
But how often he has a football in his hands is far out of Rice’s control. Hear that song in the distance? It’s the same tired refrain we hear every season: the Ravens’ best offensive player isn’t getting nearly enough opportunities to do great offensive things.
Rice had only five touches this past Sunday in a loss to the Bills, and yesterday head coach John Harbaugh said that has to change. Now.
“We need to get Ray involved in every single way. Passing game, run game, every single way. It’s definitely important for us, we want to do that every week, and obviously we did not do a good job of that on Sunday.”
The addition of Eugene Monroe — an underrated tackle simply because he was slowly decaying with the Jaguars — will help greatly in the effort to keep bodies away from Rice, as blocking was a central problem against Buffalo.
You know, if this NFL running back thing suddenly goes south, Rice has a future in children’s television.
Time to make that Zac Stacy pickup?
Generally, I don’t associate with people who have two first names as their full name, because that’s weird (or rather, I’m weird). But this could be a time to make that Stacy pickup for those of you who need a running back, which is most of you.
Stacy is owned pretty much nowhere in any league, and earlier this week Daryl Richardson– formerly(?) the Rams’ lead back — tweeted that he’s now longer the definitive starter. Then Jeff Fisher confirmed that by saying he’ll use a committee approach going forward.
This is what happens when a team that invested heavily in the passing game throughout the offseason (signing Jared Cook, and spending a first-round pick on Tavon Austin) is seeing those efforts anchored down by a sputtering running attack — and I use the word loosely — averaging only 47.2 yards per game (32nd). As ESPN Rams blogger Nick Wagoner writes, there’s a good chance Stacy leads the committee now, or at least gets a sizable bump in his workload. Anything at all is a bump since he’s been given only one carry through four games.
The fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt last spring had two +1,000-yard seasons throughout his collegiate career. Begin obligatory highlight mixtape…