Playing with a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh brought out the best in wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Ravens hope playing with Joe Flacco will make Wallace a lethal weapon again.
Check out Wallace’s statistical averages during his first four NFL seasons, all with the Steelers:
Average yards per season – 1,010.5
Average TD’s per season – 8
Average catches per season - 58.7
Compare that to Wallace’s averages the past three seasons – two with the Dolphins and one with the Vikings:
Average yards per season – 755
Average TD’s per season – 5.6
Average catches per season – 59.6
Critics would say Wallace has lost a step, and that defensive backs have figured out how to counter his best moves. However, neither Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) nor Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings) has deep-ball throwing ability comparable to Roethlisberger or Flacco.
Wallace is looking forward to catching passes from Flacco, and to being utilized a variety of ways by offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
“I’m looking for a fresh start,” Wallace said at mandatory minicamp. “I’m here, and this team gives me a chance to do the things that I like to do and the things that I’m best at. We have the team, we have the play-calling to do it here – more of an aggressive play-calling style. That’s why I chose to come here, because I felt like it gave me the best opportunity to make big plays like I want to do.”
Asked about losing a step, Wallace disputed that notion. He has only missed one game in seven seasons, and has never had a serious injury. Wallace does not turn 30 years old until Aug. 1.
”I’ve probably run about 10,000 post routes and go routes since when I first came into the league, so maybe just a step, a half a step,” Wallace said. “But I can still get it done. Do I think I was a better player than I was before? I just try to get better every day, keep working.”
Wallace’s role could become even more important if Breshad Perriman’s recovery from his most recent injury takes longer than the Ravens hope. But Wallace is focusing on his own preparation, while hoping that Perriman returns as quickly as possible.
“I welcomed the challenge even before Breshad got hurt,” Wallace said. “That’s my guy. I envisioned us both making plays and us both being a threat for this team. So, my plans don’t change.”