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Playful Mike Wallace Says He Needs the Rock, Baby


Quarterback Joe Flacco said wide receiver Mike Wallace hasn't come to him asking for the ball yet.

Well, Wallace playfully got his message out via the media a couple hours later.

"I haven't really messed with him yet," Wallace said with a wide smile. "But this week, we need the rock. Let him know. You all tell Joe when you see him."

Wallace has two catches for 15 yards in two games this season. Fellow wide receiver Breshad Perriman has one catch for 5 yards.

It's certainly not the kind of production that was expected after Wallace led the team in receiving last year with over 1,000 yards and Perriman looked to be on the cusp of a breakout season.

Two of the Ravens' chief big-play threats have been virtual non-factors in the receiving game thus far as the team has leaned on its stout, turnover-happy defense and a ground-and-pound rushing attack complemented by a short-to-intermediate passing game.

While Baltimore's running attack has been a major positive, and the offense has operated well overall, Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated that the Ravens will need to sort out their deep passing game at some point, even if it's worked well without it so far.

"We are going to need to attack people every different kind of way," he said. "Those are two playmakers. I think we have some real playmakers at wide receiver. Those guys being involved and making plays is really important for us."

Flacco preached patience. He said he'd like to get Wallace the ball more early on because he feels Wallace plays better throughout the course of the game when that happens, but he isn't going to force the ball down the field.

Flacco was kicking himself after Sunday's 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, in which the quarterback was an efficient 25-of-34 for 217 yards, because he tried to force a bomb to Wallace that wasn't there and was picked off.

"We have to let the game come to us – especially in the types of games we've been playing," Flacco said. "We have to play patient, offensive football. Our defense is playing well and we can't try to do too much early on in football games. We have to let the game come to us and pick our spots to take it over."

A big part of the lack of chances taken has been the defense's dominance thus far and the circumstances of the game. With the Ravens defense playing so well, especially getting turnovers, the Ravens don't want to give games back by turning the ball over themselves.

Plus, the Ravens took a 17-point lead into halftime against the Bengals in Week 1 and a 14-point lead into the break versus the Browns in Week 2. Even Wallace said he's known targets will be "kind of slim" in the second half with leads like that. It turns into a field-position, clock-churning, run-heavy approach.

"Our defense is kind of a curse for us right now because they're so good," Wallace said with a laugh.

With all that said, Wallace still has wide receiver blood coursing through his veins. He's never been shy about his desire to have the ball in his hands, and he's never lacking in confidence.

Tight end Benjamin Watson and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin lead the Ravens with nine targets each thus far. Perriman has seven and Wallace has four, which are fewer than tight end Maxx Williams (five).

"We're going to be patient because we have a good thing going and that's all that matters," Wallace said. "As long as you're winning football games, we all know that's first and foremost. But never forget, we need the rock. Wide receivers always need the rock."

"Need the rock" became Wallace's catch-phrase he ended every answer with Wednesday.

"If we keep winning, I could have 16 catches on the year, honestly," he said. "As long as we win the Super Bowl. But if we don't win the Super Bowl, we need the rock."

As Wallace held his comedy show with reporters, safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson jokingly yelled at Wallace to not make his lack of catches into something divisive. From the tenor of the locker room and everyone in it, it's definitely not.

"I'm nice. I can get open," Wallace said. "We've just got to get the right situation. It's going to happen, and when it happens, it's going to be big. It might be this week.

"I will make plays. It's going to happen. It's early in the season and there's no reason to overblow things. But, at the same time, we need that rock, baby."

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