Something’s bothering Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace.
And although he wouldn’t say exactly what had him miffed Tuesday, the offense’s struggles in Jacksonville two days earlier certainly played a role.
“We didn’t do nothing,” Wallace said. “Our offense was [expletive]. We’ve got to do better.”
For the game’s first 26 minutes, Wallace was precisely right. Through their first three drives, the Dolphins had run nine offensive plays, had no first downs and were outgained 199 yards to 3 by the Jaguars.
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In all, the Dolphins scored a whopping 13 offensive points Sunday — against one of the league’s most permissive defenses.
If not for two pick-sixes by the Dolphins’ secondary, Miami (4-3) could easily be a game under .500 entering the meat of its schedule, instead of a game over.
Wallace seemed particularly upset about the team’s pesky — and dangerous, in his mind — slow starts. The Dolphins have trailed in four of their seven games this year at halftime, and the offense has endured some baffling stretches of futility.
“We’re not going to get nowhere like that,” Wallace said.
Certainly not with the San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos — who are a combined 22-9 — up next on the schedule.
Wallace is usually one of the most engaging players on the team. But Sunday, he uncharacteristically left the locker room without talking to reporters (he said that he had family to see).
There has only been one other time in his two years with the Dolphins when he has shown this level of agitation — and that, remarkably, also followed a win. He wasn’t happy with his performance in the Dolphins’ 2013 season opener against the Browns (he caught one pass on five targets while covered by longtime nemesis Joe Haden).
Then there are the team’s issues with the deep ball. Few NFL teams are as ineffective throwing deep as the Dolphins, but Wallace finally caught one Sunday, a 50-yarder that sparked a scoring drive.
Yet Wallace had just one other catch the rest of the game. And as a team, the Dolphins managed a mere 178 yards through the air, dropping them to 25th in the league in passing.
The Dolphins don’t throw deep very often, and those are the plays that Wallace likes the most. The Dolphins gave him a $60million contract to take the tops off defenses, but he hasn’t really had many chances to do it. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown the ball 20 more yards just 23 times this year (completing seven).
“That’s what I do; I’m built for that,” Wallace said. “I’m not excited about [catching a deep pass Sunday]. That’s what I do.”
When asked specifically what went wrong against the Jaguars, Wallace responded: “I don’t know. You’ve got to talk to coach.”
Wallace said he hasn’t voiced his frustrations to his coaches, but Joe Philbin must know about them. When told by a reporter last week that Wallace said he wants the offense to air it out more, Philbin laughed it off.
When asked if he wishes offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called more deep passes, Wallace responded: “I run the plays that they call.”
Statistically, Wallace has had a productive year. He leads the team in catches (32) and receiving yards (418), has five touchdowns and is on pace to set a personal record for TDs.
And yet, he said his season has been “not good. It could be a whole lot better.”