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The new-look offense of the Miami Dolphins is going to benefit a lot of players in many different ways. But, the way I see it, no two players will benefit more than Mike Wallace and Charles Clay.
Wallace and Clay are two of the most important playmakers on this offense. But they are also two of the most versatile players. And new Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor is making the most of that versatility.
What Lazor is trying to do is create mismatches and confusion. He does this by changing the pace of the game, by using multiple formations and by rarely giving a defense the same look two plays in a row.
That’s where Wallace and Clay come in. They are so talented, so multi-faceted, that you never know in this offense where they are going to line up or what they are going to do.
“Everybody is playing everywhere,” said Wallace. “You just don’t have one job; you have a lot of jobs.”
Said Clay: “Nobody is waiting for you in this offense. You are always doing something different.”
Let’s look at Wallace first. A season ago, he spent most of his time lining up in the same spot on the right side of the offense. With his speed, there were plenty of opportunities for big plays. But now, even before the first preseason game, I’ve seen him at both receiver spots, I’ve seen him in the slot, in the backfield and in motion. And I’m not sure it’s going to stop there.
“I’ve been lobbying some to play a few snaps at tight end, but I’m not sure anybody is taking me seriously,” Wallace said. “But I love this offense. Coach Lazor introduces something new to us every day. I mean EVERY day.
“We’re going to keep the defense guessing all the time. They won’t know where I’m going to line up or what I’m going to do. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of things up our sleeve.”
As for Charles Clay, he’s coming off a breakout season. Sixty-nine catches. Six touchdowns. Game-winning plays against both the Chargers and Steelers. This is an unusual player who doesn’t look like or play like the prototypical tight end. So Lazor is concocting new ways to utilize Clay’s impressive skill set.
Like Wallace, he was lining up just about everywhere before suffering an apparently minor knee injury early in last Saturday’s scrimmage. I saw him catch a screen pass out of the backfield last week. I’ve seen him split wide. I’ve seen him in the slot. I’ve seen him in motion. I’m thinking the defense isn’t going to know what to make of this. Do they put a safety on Clay? A linebacker? This is what creating mismatches is all about.
“I’m not sure I know everything Coach Lazor has in store for me, but so far it’s been a lot of fun,” said Clay. “With this offense, this is a different type of shape I have to be in. I’m always moving.”
It doesn’t just involve Wallace and Clay. All the skill players are multi-tasking these days. I’ve seen Brian Hartline, for instance, lined up in all sorts of ways. Lamar Miller is another player who will have plenty of different looks in this offense. But Wallace and Clay are the most obvious examples because both attract so much attention from the defense.
“Now,” said Wallace, “they are not going to know where to find me.”
Or at least until it’s too late.
(On Wednesday, AC in the AM plays 10 questions with safety Louis Delmas.)
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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