The wide receivers of the Miami Dolphins caught a ton of slack during the 2012 campaign. They were constantly pointed to as the main weakness of an offense that could not get it going with any type of consistency. Despite a rookie quarterback making the throws, a run game that started fast and quickly became inefficient, and practically no assistance from the tight end position, the wide receivers were made out as the culprits behind the Dolphins anemic offense.
The truth is, Miami boasts two extremely talented wide receivers in Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. Neither are what you would consider a number one receiver, but both have proven their worth as important pieces any team would feel lucky to have on the field come Sunday. This is why it comes as no surprise to hear that the Dolphins have started up contract negotiations with the free agent Hartline. It makes sense for Miami to try and keep him in the fold.
Hartline missed all of training camp as he recovered from injury last season, but the chemistry between him and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was evident the first time the two stepped on to the field together. With all of the deficiencies littering the Dolphins’ offensive unit, Hartline and Tannehill were able to connect 69 times for a not-too-shabby 1,014 yards. The biggest area of concern was in the lack of touchdowns, but that was not just an issue for these two, but one that the entire offense suffered from.
Another knock on the crafty wide out is the way he would come up huge in a game and then disappear when defenses keyed in on him. This seems like it is true of most receivers not named Calvin Johnson. It is a basic fact, if you torch a team on Sunday; your next opponent is going to game plan to make sure you do not repeat the performance on them. Hartline fading out on the stat sheet has as much to do with the offensive game plan and play calling as it does anything else. True Hartline needs to be able to get separation when teams are on him like white on rice, but the plays need to be drawn up in a way that helps to make that happen.
The constant assessment that the wide receivers in Miami were garbage and Tannehill could never succeed without a true number one had hung over Hartline’s head the entire season. It motivated him then, and is motivating him now. He knows he has a chance at a decent amount of money, but don’t be surprised if he gives the Dolphins a bit of a deal so that he can stay on and prove the people wrong.