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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:57 pm 
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To attain a 9-7 record or better, the Dolphins offense has to become more consistent and explosive. Many factors will go into this goal, including better offensive line play and more consistent red-zone production from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But the most glaring weakness for the Miami Dolphins offense each week has actually come from the most accomplished Dolphin, Brian Hartline.


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Hartline doesn't get open until after Tannehill is at the top of his drop.
Mike Wallace is by far the best receiver Miami has on the roster, and his ability to stretch the defense always draws the attention of the safety, leaving the other side of the field with one-on-one matchups. That’s where Hartline must win against coverage, and he has to be open at Tannehill’s progression point.

At most, three reads on a five-step drop can happen. For example, that would be Wallace, Clay and then Hartline. If Wallace and Clay are covered, Hartline has extra time to get to his spot on the field and must be in an advantageous position against the cornerback.

Take a look at the table below, which shows every route ran by Hartline through Week 8.


Brian Hartline's Route Productivity Route Ran No. of Times Open No. of Attemps Open Percentage
Quick In/Out (1) 4 11 36%
Slant (2) 8 16 50%
Comeback (3) 7 16 44%
Curl (4) 7 21 33%
Deep Out (5) 1 7 14%
Dig (6) 5 23 22%
Corner (7) 1 12 7%
Post (8) 1 11 9%
Go (9) 6 39 15%


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Miami has worked hard to manufacture opportunities for Hartline to be open.
He’s been able to perform on comebacks, slants and crossing routes this year, but his inability to be a threat past 10 yards has hampered the offense’s ability to push the ball downfield. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Hartline is averaging .90 yards per route run, which ranks 85th out of 87 qualifying players in the NFL.

If Hartline were excellent after the catch, there’d be more credence to why he’s been on the field for 431 plays this season. His 61 yards after the catch rank 150th in the NFL, and he’s tied with Daniel Thomas, who has only been active four games for the Dolphins this year.


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On film, Hartline is neutralized early and often at the line of scrimmage. Cornerbacks are often lined up directly on Hartline, forcing him to either break press coverage or use his feet to get the cornerback to overcommit one direction. Hartline does not have the foot speed or lateral agility to be effective in this regard, and cornerbacks sit until he breaks downfield.

With Hartline having to waste steps to try to win at the line, valuable seconds are wasted, and he rarely is at the apex of his route when Tannehill is looking for his status. Although Tannehill could try to anticipate and lead Hartline open at times, those passes are extremely dangerous when a receiver has one speed and cannot make an athletic play on the ball.

The disappointing part of Hartline’s usage and performance has been how often Lazor has Hartline run deep. The vertical routes help clear out the safety and cornerback so that the slot receiver or tight end has a better chance to be open underneath. But, the receiver should occasionally win those go routes to keep the defense off balance, and Hartline has utterly failed to do so.

Surprisingly, Hartline has not been a good route-runner this season. He’s consistently not sharp in his cuts, instead rounding them off and allowing the cornerback to jump on the inside of his deep in routes across the middle of the field. It’s not fair to say this is a lazy tactic; rather it seems Hartline knows he needs to play faster than he physically can.

When Hartline wins off the line of scrimmage, he’s very good at staying open. But he is so poor at beating press coverage and outmuscling his opponent that he’s taken out of too many plays just as his route begins.


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The epitome of why Hartline was an effective player in past seasons was undoubtedly his hands. He was more dangerous as a receiver and was targeted often because he rarely made a costly drop. Per PFF, his drop rate of 6.17 percent in 2013 was a respectable 19th in the league. 2014 has yielded much different results, as Hartline has four drops and the eighth-worst drop percentage with a 16.67 percent mark.

The official drops statistic is usually more forgiving than not, as Hartline had at least two drops in the Jacksonville Jaguars game alone, so the fact that Hartline has been so unreliable is worrisome. If a possession receiver cannot provide a steady presence, then that player is essentially wasting valuable snaps for an offense.

On the two passes Tannehill has targeted Hartline deep, Hartline dropped a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills and failed to make a play on an interception by Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers. Hartline lacks the athleticism needed to make catches in tight coverage, especially on vertical routes, and it really hinders the offense useless on 3rd-and-long situations.

Hartline’s hands have never been in question like now, so it begs the question of whether these problems are occurring due to concentration issues or a lack of confidence. Either way, for Hartline to be a productive member of the offense, he needs to show that he deserves to be a bigger part of the game plan.

He’s not a legitimate decoy receiver like Wallace was in 2013 since he only requires one cornerback to smother his routes.


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The point of this study certainly was not to scapegoat Hartline for the offensive inconsistency that Miami has had, but rather to figure out why his production has slipped so much. Saying that he is just not a fit in Lazor’s offense is somewhat correct, as he does not possess the speed needed to make defenses give him special attention.

At the crux of Hartline’s issues is that he is not a gifted enough athlete to be what the Dolphins so desperately need, which is an alpha-male wide receiver (like Dez Bryant). Hartline has a role on any roster when he’s running better routes and catching the ball, but the reality is that role should be the third- or fourth-best receiver on the team, not the No. 2.

Miami will have to improvise and rotate between other options at Hartline’s position. He’s deserving of some role and snaps, but as long as he continues to receive the majority of snaps as the X receiver, the Dolphins will struggle creating explosive plays.


http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2247 ... n-hartline

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:50 pm 
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Yet he still has that catch or two in games that is a critical first down. Maybe you make him the slot guy and see what happens.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:57 pm 
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Seems he has slipped into the abyss, either not fitting in Lazor's style, or maybe the leg is catching up... Either way, his contract would have made this decision at the end of the year. Even with 1k and a couple TD's, that 7 mil salary is too steep...

I like Hartline, hoped for more.. But same can be said for Bess and Camarillo...

Like to see Mathews get more reps tho, at least get an idea before the end of the season. Surely Hartline's contribution this season shouldn't be hard to match..

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:58 pm 
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NFLJunkie wrote:
Yet he still has that catch or two in games that is a critical first down. Maybe you make him the slot guy and see what happens.


He doesn't have the quickness to play the slot and with the success Landry has had there, it makes no sense to move him outside and put Hartline in the slot.

I think it makes more sense to promote Matthews or Gibson to the X receiver and have Hartline come in to get them a breather.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Time to give Matthews a shot, Hartline is giving pretty much nothing so how could it hurt, just throw Matthews in there and see what happens...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:03 pm 
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I like Matthews but he's another guy that is hot one game and then absent for a few weeks. I'm not sure there's a nickle's worth of difference between 2-5 on this team.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:06 pm 
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Rich wrote:
NFLJunkie wrote:
Yet he still has that catch or two in games that is a critical first down. Maybe you make him the slot guy and see what happens.


He doesn't have the quickness to play the slot and with the success Landry has had there, it makes no sense to move him outside and put Hartline in the slot.

I think it makes more sense to promote Matthews or Gibson to the X receiver and have Hartline come in to get them a breather.


Gibson was an animal out of the slot last year. Landry has the ball skills to be an effective 2. Long arms and he catches in traffic.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:08 pm 
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NFLJunkie wrote:
Rich wrote:
NFLJunkie wrote:
Yet he still has that catch or two in games that is a critical first down. Maybe you make him the slot guy and see what happens.


He doesn't have the quickness to play the slot and with the success Landry has had there, it makes no sense to move him outside and put Hartline in the slot.

I think it makes more sense to promote Matthews or Gibson to the X receiver and have Hartline come in to get them a breather.


Gibson was an animal out of the slot last year. Landry has the ball skills to be an effective 2. Long arms and he catches in traffic.



But Landry is succeeding in the slot. So why change that when the issue is Hartline?

Why potentially create two problems when trying to fix one?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Didn't Gibson have 6 TDs out of the slot before his injury last year?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:17 pm 
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NFLJunkie wrote:
Didn't Gibson have 6 TDs out of the slot before his injury last year?


I think he only had 2 or 3, and two of them came in the same game.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:18 pm 
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NFLJunkie wrote:
Didn't Gibson have 6 TDs out of the slot before his injury last year?


No, he had 3.

30 catches for 326 yards in 7 games.

But he played the X in St Louis and Landry hasn't played the X in the pros so why put the rookie in a different position when he is getting good at the one he is learning now?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:47 pm 
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Rich wrote:
NFLJunkie wrote:
Didn't Gibson have 6 TDs out of the slot before his injury last year?


No, he had 3.

30 catches for 326 yards in 7 games.

But he played the X in St Louis and Landry hasn't played the X in the pros so why put the rookie in a different position when he is getting good at the one he is learning now?


Hartline like numbers . Bench him!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:18 pm 
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Brian Hartline caught 1-of-4 targets for 19 yards in Miami's Week 8 win over the Jaguars.


http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5191/brian-hartline

Bench him and promote Gibson or Matthews ... or both (split the snaps at WR2).

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:39 pm 
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From the Palm Beach Post yesterday...........Lazor is asked about Hartline, he says he has pretty good confidence Hartline will will be more productive........not exactly overwhelming support.

"Q: Is Brian Hartline fighting it?

A: I think Brian is a guy that is used to having a lot of production and he wants to contribute. He has confidence in himself and his ability to contribute and I have confidence in him. It’s a long season, so sometimes you go through little waves, up and down. If he’s frustrated with certain things right now, I have pretty good confidence that he’ll be able to channel that into being more productive. I think people around here have known Brian long enough. I don’t know if we have a harder worker on the field, at least in my history of football that’s the most important thing that will translate into production. I think it will show up.

Our take: You have to think Hartline will improve but if he doesn’t turn it around quickly the Dolphins will have to readjust. Hartline is being paid like a top-tier No. 2 receiver and Miami doesn’t have a ton of options if he doesn’t improve. Rookie Jarvis Landry is playing well in the slot but he’s likely not the answer on the outside right now. Brandon Gibson would be an option but he hasn’t been the same since tearing his patellar tendon last year. Rishard Matthews had a touchdown Sunday and continues to be solid. But what the Dolphins really need — and they likely can’t address until the offseason — is a skilled outside receiver with height. Miami doesn’t even have much height at the tight end spot. Charles Clay, who is also struggling, is one of the league’s smaller tight ends."


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:28 pm 
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Brian Hartline is a #3 or #4 WR being paid like a quality #2. He gives you no YAC, and he is dropping more passes than ever. He has had had some BIG drops at bad times and I don't really consider him clutch.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:34 pm 
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phinsfansc wrote:
Brian Hartline is a #3 or #4 WR being paid like a quality #2. He gives you no YAC, and he is dropping more passes than ever. He has had had some BIG drops at bad times and I don't really consider him clutch.


I agree Tony. The beat writers keep saying he only has 4 drops but I swear I've seen more this year. The worst was the deep pass that him in the stomach and would have been a TD. Would have changed the entire game versus Buffalo.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:32 am 
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4 drops...Such a witch hunt.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:51 am 
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Kev1321 wrote:
4 drops...Such a witch hunt.


If you read the article, you'll see he is having trouble getting open against single coverage. So forget the drops. He is wasting his side of the field. If you have a player who can't get open against single coverage then defenses are not forced to give Wallace those one on one opportunities.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:31 am 
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Rich wrote:
Kev1321 wrote:
4 drops...Such a witch hunt.


If you read the article, you'll see he is having trouble getting open against single coverage. So forget the drops. He is wasting his side of the field. If you have a player who can't get open against single coverage then defenses are not forced to give Wallace those one on one opportunities.


I've always been a big Hartline supporter over the years, so, I was never on board with all the criticism that he would get from some fans. He has a skillset and he did it well (just like Wallace's skillset is mostly the deep pass). This year, however, he has not played well and he is actually hurting the offense. He is not fitting in well with this new offensive scheme and he is dropping passes that he normally catches. Just take a look at PFF's evaluation of him this year vs last year. It is a major drop in performance.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:35 am 
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He's horrible.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:37 am 
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Makchell wrote:
He's horrible.


Wait, I thought it was "he sucks"...?
:haha
Or are you just showing your diversity?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:39 am 
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Wait, I thought it was "he sucks"...?
:haha
Or are you just showing your diversity?


He sucks is the bottom. He's horrible means there is a chance..lol


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:39 am 
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I feel like he should be feasting in this offense. With Wallace and Clay drawing a lot of attention Hartline's bread & butter shoulder be underneath & across the middle

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:49 am 
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Makchell wrote:
Wait, I thought it was "he sucks"...?
:haha
Or are you just showing your diversity?


He sucks is the bottom. He's horrible means there is a chance..lol


:haha So I guess we can mark that down as a positive comment, nicely done Mak. :yay:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:52 am 
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lol


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:00 am 
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Steve Zissou wrote:
I feel like he should be feasting in this offense. With Wallace and Clay drawing a lot of attention Hartline's bread & butter shoulder be underneath & across the middle


Indeed, but it looks like Landry is getting fat on that bread and butter, the thing is though, Hartline's bread and butter mostly came on intermediate routes in the past and he's just not getting it done this year.

I think the thing is with Hartline, he's not fast enough to make a lot of hay on deep routes, not quick enough to make a lot of hay on short routes, which left him doing his thing on intermediate routes for the most part.

I think the injury from last year is hampering his cut/fake ability.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:08 am 
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I can tell you Hartline will get another chance to redeem himself, before any replacing happens. He will be in the starting lineup against San Diego. If he has a big game that will squash this.

However, he starts out struggling and dropping passes, look for Matthews to be inserted.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Finhead34 wrote:
I can tell you Hartline will get another chance to redeem himself, before any replacing happens. He will be in the starting lineup against San Diego. If he has a big game that will squash this.

However, he starts out struggling and dropping passes, look for Matthews to be inserted.


I agree with that. He has too much experience and rapport with Tannehill to be suddenly benched.

The average skill/talent that he has doesn't bother me because hes shown he can be productive. Its when he is looking like hes barely trying that becomes frustrating to watch, especially when there are others with similar talent who can't wait to prove themselves on the field.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:24 pm 
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Finster wrote:
I think the injury from last year is hampering his cut/fake ability.


That never occurred to me before.

Seems like another legitimate reason he should have a lessened role, if thats the case

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:34 pm 
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Rich wrote:
Kev1321 wrote:
4 drops...Such a witch hunt.


If you read the article, you'll see he is having trouble getting open against single coverage. So forget the drops. He is wasting his side of the field. If you have a player who can't get open against single coverage then defenses are not forced to give Wallace those one on one opportunities.


iI have seen him open in the end zone 3 times. once was a throw behind him that should have been picked the other two the ball was thrown to another player..Just an example.

He is not being targeted alot at this point. There are only so many balls to go around and Clay and Wallace are 1 and 2 in the offense. With Miller being more of a target.

And the poster above was making reference to drops.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:44 pm 
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phinsfansc wrote:
Brian Hartline is a #3 or #4 WR being paid like a quality #2. He gives you no YAC, and he is dropping more passes than ever. He has had had some BIG drops at bad times and I don't really consider him clutch.

He has also had some huge 1st downs. Including last week.


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Kev1321 wrote:
He has also had some huge 1st downs. Including last week.


He was clutch the last two years, but this year is a different story. He only caught one of 4 passes thrown his way last week. The last three games he has only caught 4 passes. You are going to have to admit that something is just not right about him this year. Injury? He is not playing like himself. he is living off past work right now in this offense.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:01 pm 
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Kev1321 wrote:
have seen him open in the end zone 3 times.


Cool.

But here are what the stats say.

He has run 156 routes and gotten open 40 times. Getting open 25% of the time is a big reason why his targets are down.

Tannehill loves him some Hartline. If he were open, Tannehill would more than love to throw him the ball.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:05 pm 
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Kev1321 wrote:
He has also had some huge 1st downs. Including last week.


He's tied for 81st in the NFL for first downs. That means there are back up WRs that have more first downs than him. He has an amazing 14 first downs in 7 games. So he is on pace for 32 first downs. Last season he was 21st with 53 first downs.

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Big Dave wrote:
He was clutch the last two years, but this year is a different story. He only caught one of 4 passes thrown his way last week. The last three games he has only caught 4 passes. You are going to have to admit that something is just not right about him this year. Injury? He is not playing like himself. he is living off past work right now in this offense.


I think people are over-looking the obvious here.

Brian Hartline's abilities are MAXED OUT as we saw his ceiling the last couple of years. He's good for one thing only - sideline routes, typically on double-moves.

The only reason he's still here is because he's been our young QB's security blanket. Fortunately new ones will inevitably take his place i.e. Landry.

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Rock Sexton wrote:
Fortunately new ones will inevitably take his place i.e. Landry.


I think that has already begun


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Big Dave wrote:
Kev1321 wrote:
He has also had some huge 1st downs. Including last week.


He was clutch the last two years, but this year is a different story. He only caught one of 4 passes thrown his way last week. The last three games he has only caught 4 passes. You are going to have to admit that something is just not right about him this year. Injury? He is not playing like himself. he is living off past work right now in this offense.


I understand some of this is on him and he is not having a great year...IT would be great to have Megatron on the other side of Wallace..Just like last year with Wallace if Thill had hit him on a few plays his stats don't look so bad at all.....I have seen him open in the end zone.Thrill couldn't throw an accurate pass. Not always but you have to hit those more often.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Rich wrote:
Kev1321 wrote:
He has also had some huge 1st downs. Including last week.


He's tied for 81st in the NFL for first downs. That means there are back up WRs that have more first downs than him. He has an amazing 14 first downs in 7 games. So he is on pace for 32 first downs. Last season he was 21st with 53 first downs.


And his avg. Targets are like 4 a game.

I don't wanna hear Thrill is scanning the field looking for the open guy.....!st he locks on one guy most of the time and don't have enough time the other half


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:23 pm 
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Kev1321 wrote:
I don't wanna hear Thrill is scanning the field looking for the open guy.....!st he locks on one guy most of the time and don't have enough time the other half


Have to wonder if Hartline's struggles have caused Tannehill to look elsewhere first. Also have to wonder if Hartline's inability to produce consistent YAC has him as the 3rd or 4th read.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Phinfever Blog Writer - Post Game

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:59 am
Posts: 26850
Location: Miami, FL
Kev1321 wrote:
And his avg. Targets are like 4 a game.


If he was open more than 25% of the time, I am sure his targets would go up.

Quote:
I don't wanna hear Thrill is scanning the field looking for the open guy


Of course you don't because it doesn't fit nicely with your argument. But again, he's only getting open 25% of the time and he is usually facing one on one coverage. That is atrocious.

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