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Mike Wallace adjusting to Pittsburgh Steelers' offense


Mike Wallace went to the Pro Bowl last year running go routes for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That has changed under offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

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Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has called the new scheme "dink and dunk." Wallace said he's run eight go routes all season, including three as a decoy. He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he ran nearly five a game in 2011.

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

A scheme built off short routes and quick passes takes away Wallace's best attribute -- his straight-ahead speed. There's been an adjustment, but the Steelers are the No. 7 pass offense. Wallace has seen his career average of 18.7 yards per reception to 12.8 in 2012, but he is on pace for a career-high in receptions.

"You have to stay positive," Wallace said. "We're winning right now; you don't want to try to fight it or go against it if it's being productive. I'm just trying to adjust what we're doing in this offense.

"You have to go with the offense that you're in. Just do what you're used to doing and you have to be able to adapt, and that's what we're trying to do right now. I get the ball, so that's still cool."

The question is: Will the change affect Wallace's wallet?

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Wallace declined to sign a one-year, $2.7 million restricted free agent tender until just before the season in hopes of negotiating a long-term deal. He'll be a free agent at the end of the season. The new system could show his diversity as a receiver. But it could hurt his numbers.

Either way, the change will be accepted as long as it's successful. If not, people will wonder why Wallace is being misused.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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