Well, at least he’s acting that way. And most recently, he’s saying things that in my opinion should land him there after the first dropped pass this Sunday or even sooner. While doing my early evening interwebs search of anything coming out of the South Side camp, I came across this headline for an article:
‘Steelers WR Mike Wallace admits he’s lost focus at times this season’
Well of course he loses focus. Anyone with half a football brain can see Wallace’s lackluster performance week in and week out. The reasoning for all those drops and the majority of incompletions when targeted is due to laziness or lack of focus or both. Mike Wallace is a talented receiver. We’ve seen him make some fairly impressive catches over his 3.5 seasons with the Steelers. The hands can indeed catch the ball. So it must be effort or focus that attributes for such a poor completion rate.
What’s amusing with Wallace is that most players (if not all) tend to scream up and down that they are trying their hardest and giving 110% out on the field. Why Wallace decides to publicly state that he loses focus during games is simply mind boggling. Here’s what he said:
I’ve never been a guy who dropped balls or just lose focus. The first three years I was always involved, so you just warmed up in games, and were just into it. But when you don’t get the ball for two-and-half quarters, you lose focus. But that’s the type of offense this is. We’re spreading it around, so you’re not going to get as many targets. When you get them, you have to make the best of them.
Despite he completely misses the boat on why he isn’t getting the ball more, that in of itself is such an elementary excuse for dropping passes. Wallace, dude, you are paid to run routes on the field. You are paid to get open. When you get open you are paid to catch the football. Seems like a fairly simplistic set of instructions and one with Wallace’s talents should be able to accomplish on a regular basis. Yet that is not the case. Now I’m not trying to insult his intelligence, but if you can’t focus for the time it takes to complete a football game, then I think you aren’t good enough for the pros. That’s part of the discipline of playing football – mental toughness and capabilities.
The fact that Wallace admitted to losing focus should land him directly onto a cold seat on that bench. One of the most glaring issues with the Steelers this season is the lack of discipline. Discipline does not just mean refrain from committing penalties. It also means being mentally disciplined to do your job every time the ball is snapped and your ass is on that field.
Tomlin needs to send a message to Wallace – whether they expect him to be with this team beyond this season or not. Play your hardest all the time or find yourself on the bench. Why should he be rewarded with time on that football field while there are others – Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, Miller, Johnson – who work hard and deserve the ball. Cripes, I would rather just hear Wallace say, ‘I don’t get the ball much. Just give me the damn ball!’ At least it shows assertiveness. Maybe a little benching will knock the cobwebs out of that head of his and help keep him focused.
I know that this weekend I’ll be doing a bit of benching myself by putting Wallace in the Reserves slot on my Fantasy Football team. Tomlin should do the same.