Mike Wallace is part of the changing face of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This face likely includes Rashard Mendenhall, who was just suspended one game for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Mendenhall, the former first-team starter and 1000 yard rusher, has managed to likely play his way out of Pittsburgh.
While it’s true that he’s been injured and was lost to the team with a torn ACL since the last game of the 2011 season against the Cleveland Browns, all you need to do is look to the state of Minnesota, Adrian Peterson and his amazing recovery.
It’s true that each individual is different, and everyone heals differently. But you don’t see Peterson fumbling twice against an arch rival like the Browns, and not showing up for a game because he’s not the starter.
As for Wallace–he’s actually starting to resemble all that was bad about Terrell Owens’ lack of focus, minus the sideline yelling episodes. This article by Scott Kacsmar from Bleacher Report.com tells you all you’ll need to know about his past and future with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here’s an excerpt:
…If we can go back to the second half of 2011, Wallace’s production declined heavily after Brown emerged as a very good receiver himself. By year’s end, it appeared that Brown was the preferred target of Ben Roethlisberger.
In the offseason, we examined the catch radius for each receiver based on the type of catches they made in 2011. Brown was more impressive.
Wallace had the incredible three-year start to his career, and established himself as a great deep threat. But can he run all the other routes expected of No. 1 receiver as well? The big question heading into this season was which receiver, Wallace or Brown, would emerge as the true No. 1 in Pittsburgh.
Haley’s goal was to get the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hands more quickly to limit the hits on him. Go figure, Roethlisberger suffered the most significant injury of his career, but that’s another topic.
The change was in the average pass length, which limits what Wallace does best. The offense was dominating on third down early in the season, and a big part of that was their success in the short-passing game.
Wallace started the season with a touchdown catch in four of the first five games. Though he did not put up the big yardage numbers he started with in 2011, he was still playing adequately.
It was a prime time game in Cincinnati in Week 7 when many football fans were able to see Wallace struggle with several bad drops (at least three), and even some of his catches were uncomfortable. This was a sign of things to come.
In his last eight games, Wallace has managed to catch only 38 of his 70 targets (54.3 percent) for 383 yards. It projects to a 16-game season of 76 catches for 766 yards and eight touchdowns.
Does that sound familiar?
In his last eight regular season games of 2011, Wallace only had 29 catches for 393 yards and three scores. He finished it off with a miserable playoff performance in Denver, catching three of 10 targets for just 26 yards, and dropping a 52-yard gain in the second quarter.
Wallace’s recent level of play is definitely not worth over $10M per season to the Steelers, or to any NFL offense.
He’s got much more information and statistics in the rest of his article.
When the legendary head coach Chuck Noll was running the Steelers from 1969-1991, he had an interesting way of telling a player that his time with the team was over.
“[Player’s name] should get on with his life’s work,” Noll would say.
The writing is on the wall, and they’re both likely done with the Steelers organization.
Wallace and Mendenhall should both get on with their life’s work.