Sept. 30, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) catches a 57 yard reception against Arizona Cardinals in the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins 2012 Player Review: Brian Hartline


It’s no secret that the weakest unit on the Miami Dolphins in 2012 was the wide receiver squad. With a severe lack of targets to throw to, Ryan Tannehill looked to Brian Hartline to step up and become the team’s number one receiver; luckily he did.

After missing most of the preseason due to a calf injury, questions surfaced about whether Hartline would be able to fit in with Joe Philbin’s new offense. Many also wondered if he would have enough time to build chemistry with his rookie quarterback. It didn’t take long for Brian Hartline to quell those doubters. Over the first three weeks of the season Hartline had racked up 202 yards. In week four against the Arizona Cardinals, Hartline had a career game, catching 12 passes for 253 yards (including an 80 yard TD pass).

Following his bust out game against the Cardinals it was apparent teams were game planning around Hartline, trying to get Tannehill to utilize his other receivers. Despite being the primary focus of most defenses the Dolphins faced, Hartline still achieved his first 1000 yard season.

The biggest blemish on Brian Hartline’s 2012 season was an obvious lack of touchdowns. There is no doubt that Hartline was Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target, but down near the goal line he was never a factor. His only receiving TD came on the 80 yard play in the Cardinal game. Hartline has an uncanny ability to get behind defenders, but in the end zone he seems to struggle to get open. As a team the Dolphins didn’t throw for many touchdowns, they could have benefited from integrating Hartline more in the redzone offense.

Hartline isn’t a big yard after catch receiver. He plays more as a sure handed, clutch receiver with deceptive speed that allows him to get open deep. He also has an uncanny ability to draw pass interference penalties on corner backs that try to cover him too physically. Often times this year it came down to a big reception by Hartline to keep a drive alive or extend the dolphins hopes of victory. Most times he delivered.

At the end of the day Hartline made the Miami Dolphins better. He was always able to make the dramatic catch, touch his toes on the sideline, or draw the big pass interference. I hope the dolphins resign him along with a player like Greg Jennings. It will be interesting to see what Hartline can do with an elite receiver opposite him catching passes.

Brian Hartline’s 2012 grade: -A

Tags: Brian Hartline Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I agree with the grade you gave Hartline… I will give him the full “A”, because compared to others around the league, he he held his own and also because he was Miami’s best receiver, so either way he excelled. Could he have gotten open more? Maybe, maybe, maybe but, on the merits of his prerformance, he still deserves the full A in my humble.
    Not really off topic but in a general way as an added, yet very important footnote, I want to see a star (team player only please) WR next year, and I would also like for us to use the screen more and get better at the TE position.

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    PS: The off season sucks doesn’t it?

  • Jacob

    My dream situation is keeping Hartline, drafting Keenan Allen, and signing Jennings. I think that we’d have a COMPLTELY different situation in Miami. A passing game like that would open huge holes for Reggie and Miller. Use the other picks to find a CB and hope for the best on defense.

    • Mattpatrick5

      My only concern with Jennings is his size since he is only 5″11. This team struggles in the red zone. The reason why the falcons score so many TD’s is cuz they have monster WRs (Jones & White) that are tall, physical, and jump up and catch the ball at highest point. That’s why Tony Gonzalez is virtually uncoverable. Matt Ryan can just close his eyes and toss it up to either one of these 3 guys and one of 2 things will happen: They catch it or they draw a Pass interference call. Ryan is spoiled with those guys and it must be nice…. That said, I think Dwayne Bowe would be a better choice for the Dolphins. He’s younger and very physical, and he will draw a double team. He also has about 4 more inches on Jennings. The Dolphins never throw fade routes in the endzone cuz they don’t have the WR personnel to do that. When you have Bowe, you can throw that pass in the endzone. Also, with Bowe, you can afford to under throw a deep pass cuz Bowe is physical and great at catching the ball at it’s highest point. He has demonstrated his ability to out muscle said passes and make those catches. If an under thrown deep ball goes to Hartline, it will get picked off cuz he’s not that kind of WR.