The Miami Dolphins added several pass-catching studs to their offense this offseason with the intention of getting increased talent to surround the franchise, aka quarterback Ryan Tannehill. There is another remaining ‘Phin who will benefit from inking guys like Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller, and that man is Brian Hartline.
2012 saw career highs for Hartline as he was targeted a whopping 128 times, made 74 catches for 1,083 yards, plus earned 48 first downs. The issue for Dolfans was this loveable player only took it to the house one time, an 80-yard catch-and-run versus blown coverage in the overtime loss at the Arizona Cardinals. As a rookie in 2009, Hartline scored three times, but has amassed just three more in the three seasons that have followed.
Hartline does not seem to be a legit red-zone threat, but that should get better in 2013. Five of Hartline’s six career scores came on passes in the red zone, so he has shown an ability to be effective in the scoring area. I would say the ’12 Dolphins offensive roster was poor and opposing defenses found it all too easy to load up on Hartline, so he was prevented from producing points. That changes this season.
Wallace is a guy who demands extra attention on every snap, so not only will teams be unable to load up on Hartline in ’13, but he will also be seeing the No .2 or No. 3 cornerbacks with very little (if any) safety help. Massive change from facing the opponents top CB who often had safety help like was the case last season. This opens Hartline to have opportunities to be effective and to beat his CB for a big play anywhere on the field.
As far as the red zone goes, we are sure to see teams load up on Wallace and Keller. Wallace is that good, and 15 of Keller’s 17 career scores came in the red zone — the other two were both from the 24 yard line, so we see once you get into scoring position, this guy is a legit threat. Word out of Florida these days is that the coaches are liking the looks of Armon Binns, especially in the red zone, so he could be another guy that takes defensive focus away from Hartline in the scoring area. These players will generate attention which will increase opportunities to take advantage of mismatches for the Ohio State Buckeyes product.
Hartline’s career best for touchdowns is three, and his career has just six, I think 2013 surpasses all of that.