How does the speed of Mike Wallace impact a game plan? Plenty when we talk about the top of the route tree, opportunities to flip the field and the amount of stress you can put on opposing secondaries. And until Wallace shows up in Pittsburgh (which I assume will be by the time the first game check is handed out), that’s missing from this Steelers' offense.
Today, I want to take a look at three videos of Wallace making plays in the vertical game, break down some quick coaching points and show why speed sells for the still absent Steelers' wide out.
1. 9 (fade) route vs. off-man coverage
-Off-man coverage with a “bail” technique (zone turn) at the CB position. That’s a coached technique you will see around the league.
- With a free release (and pre-snap alignment at the bottom of the numbers), Wallace can use a slight outside stem (force CB to widen) and then get vertical down the field.
- Check out the cushion (distance between WR and DB) that Wallace eats up here. That’s acceleration speed throughout the route stem that impacts the CB's transition (open and run). Too easy.
2. Post vs. Cover 2 (slot alignment)
- Pre-snap motion to create a free release vs. 2-deep out of a stack alignment.
- How do you attack Cover 2? Run the middle of the field. With a deep, outside breaking cut to the closed side of the formation to occupy the SS, Wallace now draws the matchup of the Mike Backer.
- Again, deep ball speed. The Mike isn’t going to carry a slot WR down the middle of the field. And with an outside 9 route to the open side of the formation, the FS is late and can't close the angle to the post.
3. Post vs. Fire Zone (single high safety)
- I like the deep post vs. any single high safety defense as it challenges the CB to stay in-phase with the WR (playing from an outside leverage position) and the FS to play with depth and technique in the middle of the field.
- Out of the bunch look, Wallace will use a hard outside stem and then break to the middle of the field. Keep the CB wide (plus on the outside) and then go to work on the FS.
- As a deep middle of the field defender you can’t sit short and the “closed angle” technique (baseball turn) isn’t going to win vs. the speed of Wallace. Play with some real depth or risk putting yourself in a position where you can’t help on the post. Exactly what we see here.
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