Mike Wallace struggles to focus in Steelers' offense


Fourteen weeks into the NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers still are struggling with Todd Haley's offense. Much was made of how the switch affected quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who called Haley's system dink and dunk.

It's wide receiver Mike Wallace who has disappeared of late, and he admitted the offensive scheme has had an effect.

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"I've never been a guy who dropped balls or just lose focus," Wallace told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "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."

The Steelers were a team that pushed the ball downfield to Wallace, one of the fastest players in the NFL, under now-Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Haley emphasizes quick throws and short routes.

Wallace seemed to adjust early with four touchdowns in the first five games. He had a combined 13 catches for 197 yards in Week 2 and 3. But Wallace has just two TDs in the last seven weeks and averaged 3.2 catches and 31.4 yards in the last five games.

"When I don't get the ball for a certain amount of time, I lose focus sometimes," Wallace said. "It hurts me when it's time for me to make a play.

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"The toughest thing is staying positive through three quarters because you're not going to get the ball every time. You have to be ready to deliver when it comes your way. That's been the biggest thing I've had to learn this year."

Wallace's numbers certainly haven't been helped by the fact Roethlisberger has been out the last three games. The entire offense struggled as the Steelers went 1-2 during that span.

It's wild the Steelers still are having issues with Haley's system. You'd think they would have it figured out by now, but they rank 20th in the NFL in scoring. Steelers fans should hope the return of Roethlisberger can smooth things out for a playoff run.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.