Having assessed the worth of Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings in the past fortnight, it's time to turn my attention to the final member of the feted WR trio of free agency, Mike Wallace. Anyone even slightly familiar with Wallace's game would describe him as a deep-threat speedster, a role in which he was most successful under Bruce Arians in the two years of 2010-12.
Given the mini-drama surrounding Wallace last offseason, there was little doubt that his performance this year would be under heavy scrutiny from a variety of teams around the league. Rumours abounded a year ago of Wallace's apparent contract demands, which seemed a tad unrealistic at the time, let alone now. If he could maintain his 2010-12 levels of performance, he'd likely have been paid as a Top 5 receiver in the league - unfortunately for Wallace and the Steelers, 2012 wasn't such a happy time for the wideout. He declined in all major statistical categories (touchdowns aside), while his on-field performance started to incorporate drops and miscommunications which weren't evident in his prior body of work.
Furthermore, questions were raised about his off-field temperment and judgement, with the tense contractual standoff between Wallace and the Steelers - resulting in a holdout last year - augmented by recent reports of lockerroom dissension from fellow receiver Antonio Brown - the guy with the juicy new contract. Add all of the above together and you get a picture of why I don't think the Colts should pursue Mike Wallace - also add in the fact that we have a similarly speedy threat with unlimited potential in T.Y Hilton - though it's only fair to illustrate strengths and weaknesses nonetheless.
The first play I've chosen to illustrate Wallace's main strength is coincidentally against the Colts - though i'd forgive you for having banished the memory, given it comes from the dark days of last year. It's a 2nd and 5 from the PIT 19 with roughly 5:15 on the clock in the 1st Quarter.
I've chosen to circle three important defenders on the play - David Caldwell; Antoine Bethea and Pat Angerer. Caldwell and Bethea are occupying the back end, while Angerer is playing the Mike in the 4-3, and guess which defensive playcall the Colts happened to opt for? That's right, the dreaded Cover 2. Wallace is tasked with streaking across the formation to expose the limitations of the Cover 2 - the opposite receiver is running an out route behind the sitting zone corner, which puts the strong safety (Bethea) in a hell of a bind.