The Dolphins phrase for this week is not sustainable.
Joe Philbin used those words to make sure his players, stung by a blowout loss to New Orleans, understood giving up sacks at a team-record pace and yielding turnovers, including four last week, is not sustainable over an entire season.
We are 3-1 at the present time, Philbin said, but some of these things arent going to lead to continued consistent success.
Well, heres something else that is not sustainable for the Dolphins:
Using Mike Wallace as he is currently being used which is to say not nearly enough and, indeed, often misusing him to the point he is disappointed and worried about his first four regular-season weeks with his new team.
Im definitely worried about it because its Game Four, Wallace said. Im not paranoid or anything, but in Week 4 its not the way I imagined my first four weeks going. Definitely not. Im pretty sure its not the way anybody imagined it going.
When the Dolphins signed Wallace to the biggest free agent contract they ever have offered, the idea was to have the proven deep-threat receiver bring a dimension to the offense that has been lacking since Irving Fryar in the early 1990s.
The Dolphins correctly believed they were getting a player who could blow the top off the defense, as people in the league say, and would do that consistently because he had done it for the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous four seasons.
But these first four games havent quite gone as planned. Wallace, a career 17.2-yards-per-catch receiver before he arrived, is averaging 11.7 yards now. The man who averaged eight touchdowns per season from 2009 through 2012 is on pace for four touchdowns this season.
I know one thing were not going to be able to go through a whole year like that, Wallace said. We have to make big plays. We have to back defenses up. Thats what we have to do. Extra film work, different plays, extra practice, whatever it is, whatever its going to take, we have to do it to get it done. We have to make big plays.
I got to make big plays. Thats my main thing. Ive been used to making big plays. And I definitely, definitely can make big plays. Thats what I do. Thats why I came here. Thats why they signed me. It just hasnt happened so far for one reason or another.
There are a handful of reasons the Dolphins are not maximizing Wallace, and everyone involved is responsible for the problem. That means coaches, Wallace, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and some other players.
Start with Wallace. He dropped a couple of passes against New Orleans, including one that might have been a long gain, if not a long touchdown. He acknowledged that.
Thats me, he said.
But that one opportunity for a long play aside, its otherwise not on him. Some is on the protection, because Tannehill, often under an angry rush, doesnt have time to let deep plays develop.
Some is on Tannehill and Wallace as a battery because they have not developed a chemistry to rival that of Tannehill and Brian Hartline or even Tannehill and Brandon Gibson.
And a lot seems to be on Miami coaches, who simply are not tapping into Wallace as the resource he previously has proved to be.