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Mike Wallace's role changing within Steelers offense

Mike Wallace made the Pro Bowl in 2011 based on his ability to catch the deep ball, but says he's only run eight go routes all season in an offense that tries to get him the ball more often on shorter patterns.

Justin K. Aller

Mike Wallace hasn't been used for the deep ball as frequently as he was in 2011 under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's system, but the Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver is catching balls at a career-high rate – even if it is for less yardage.

Wallace told reporters that he used to run roughly five go routes a game last season, but has only run eight all season this year, including three as a decoy. For Wallace, the different playing style is a bit of a disappointment:

"I used to go deep a lot last year, until eventually I was just clearing it out for AB and Hines. Now, I haven't really gone much deep. Hopefully, we will."

Although Wallace's production in terms of yardage is down – he made the Pro Bowl with nearly 1,200 yards receiving last year, and has yet to hit 500 through seven games this season – he does make slightly more receptions per game. Last year, he had 72 all year, and now less than halfway through the year, he has 36.

The Steelers are in the top quarter of the league in passing, so its tough to say that the strategy isn't effective, but Wallace's best attribute might be being ignored as he enters an offseason where he'll be a free agent.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.