On the surface, the Miami Dolphins looked much improved when they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3 on Friday. In their second game of the preseason, Miami moved the ball with ease and suffocated the Jags' anemic offense.
But the Dolphins' newest offensive weapon, wide receiver Mike Wallace, was barely a factor on Friday. He caught no passes while the first-team offense was on the field, and was not even targeted by quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Don't ask Wallace if that is a problem, though. "I'm not really worried about this," he told The Miami Herald on Sunday. "It's preseason. I just want to be in the right spots."
Slowed down by a groin injury that held him out of the first preseason game, Wallace hasn't had much to point to in terms of on-field production during training camp. He and Tannehill have only connected on long throws a few times in practice, making their inability to hook up on Friday possibly more concerning.
Still, the Dolphins' coaching staff echoed Wallace's confidence. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman pointed out that Miami's still-inconsistent pass protection forced Tannehill to scramble often, giving him less time to set up long passes to Wallace.
"Protection wasn't the greatest, and we were scrambling around," Sherman said. "Mike is going to catch his balls. Those will come with time."
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Even so, it sounds like the Dolphins are satisfied to provide opponents with as little game tape on Wallace as possible before the regular season starts.
"We run our core stuff," head coach Joe Philbin said of the team's preseason game plans. "In the preseason we're most concerned about doing a great job evaluating, and executing our fundamentals with plays we know we're going to run during the year. It's not going to be a surprise to people. We're not into trickery or deception right now."
That will likely satisfy fans for now, but if the Dolphins really want to build excitement heading into a pivotal 2013 season, they might want to find a way to get Wallace the ball on Saturday against Houston. It's one thing to tell the fans you've got a flashy new receiver for the offense, but quite another to show them what he is actually capable of.