Wallace Goes Deep In Return To Practice

Posted Aug 7, 2013

Wide receiver catches 40-yard touchdown during team drills.

Mike Wallace had a pretty simple reaction after catching a 40-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill during team drills Wednesday afternoon.

“Finally! Finally got one,” Wallace said. “Just the start. Like I said, I plan on catching a lot of those, not just me but all of us out there. We’re going to connect on those, it’s just a matter of time. Just be patient. It’s going to happen.”

It happened in Wallace’s first full practice in more than a week when he demonstrated for the first time in training camp the kind of big-play ability that convinced the Dolphins to sign him as a free agent in the offseason.

Wallace had caught his share of passes during the first few days of training camp, but he hadn’t had the explosive play that became his trademark during his first four seasons in the NFL.

Even though Dolphins fans were anxious for that big play to arrive, Wallace said there was no frustration that it didn’t come sooner.

“Not at all,” was his quick reply. “I scored a lot of touchdowns on deep balls, so I know how that goes. It’s not going to happen all the time the way you want it. You just have to be patient. It’s football. Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan, but that’s why we have practice and that’s why we’re in camp, to do this every day and work on the timing and get that. I’ve been saying from day one, by the time we get to the regular season we’ll be hitting our stride.”

For certain, Wallace has the track record to feel confident the big plays will happen in the regular season.

Wallace joined the Dolphins with 27 receptions of at least 40 yards over the past four seasons, including four in 2012. Wallace also knows how to find the end zone, with his 32 touchdowns from 2009-12 ranking fourth among all NFL wide receivers behind only Calvin Johnson’s 38, Roddy White’s 36 and Marques Colston’s 34.

On the touchdown play in Wednesday’s practice, Wallace simply used his blazing speed to get behind the secondary and haul in a perfectly thrown pass from Tannehill in the end zone.

“It’s a good, sound football play,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “It looked like it was a good route, good timing on the play, protection was good. Like anything else, there’s usually a lot more than just the quarterback throwing a ball to a receiver. There’s got to be the right landmark, the right timing, the right protection and the right velocity on the ball, air under the ball, all those things have to factor in. It looked like a good play.”

For Wallace and his teammates, just seeing the receiver back at practice on Wednesday was a positive sign. The explosive play was simply a bonus.

“It’s awesome,” said offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. “It’s awesome to see him healthy and see him out there. I hope we see a lot more of that this season.”

Make no mistake, Wallace shares that sentiment.

The Dolphins brought Wallace to South Florida to add big-play capability to the offense, and that’s just what he plans to deliver.

Wallace is hoping that could happen Friday night in the preseason game at Jacksonville, although Philbin said a decision on his status has yet to be made. Regardless, the big play at practice Wednesday was a good start.

“Like I said, we expect to do that,” Wallace said. “That’s the first one we really connected on, but that’s what we expect. That’s why I’m here. That’s why he’s here. We play football. You’re out there to make plays, and that’s what we have to do.”

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