Brian Hartline is Pretty Freakin’ Good

2 May

What do Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Carolina’s Steve Smith, Ocho Cinco, and Andre Johnson have in common? They all averaged fewer yards per catch than Miami’s Brian Hartline.

The Dolphins held onto the tragic hope that Ted Ginn would emerge as a playmaking wideout for much of 2009. What did they have to show for it? 454 yards (11.9 per reception) and a single touchdown. In fact, in his entire tenure with Miami poor Teddy caught just five touchdowns. Count ’em. Five. Thank heavens the Trifecta pulled the plug on #19. It will be a much needed fresh start for both the Dolphins and Ginn.

Davone Bess was his sturdy, slot receiver self last season, hauling in a team high 76 passes for 758 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Greg Camarillo added 50 catches for 552 yards. However, neither of them averaged more than 11 yards per grab. It was Brian “Crazylegs” Hartline who emerged as the receiving corps biggest playmaker with four total touchdowns and 16.3 yards per reception.

With all the receivers fighting for receptions last season, Hartline never caught more than four balls in a game. It’s what he did with those catches that was impressive. Brian proved that he was more than just a good hands guy. He showed good speed, and a knack for the big play. He recorded the two longest receptions of all Miami’s receivers, with catches of 67 and 57 yards. Hartline also scored four times (one TD on the ground). And though 506 yards may not sound like much, when you look at the limited targets he received it hints that bigger things are in store for #82.

Obviously Brandon Marshall is coming in as our undisputed #1 wideout. So lets take a look at a pair of the NFL’s rising #2 WRs, and how Brian stacks up. I’ve chosen Pierre Garcon (wingman to Wayne), and Jeremy Maclin (wingman to Desean).

Maclin 55rec, 762 yds, 4 TD in 90 targets
Garcon 47 rec, 765 yds 4 TD in 92 targets
Hartline 31 rec, 506 yds, 3 TD in 56 targets

The key stat here is targets. With so many receivers looking for the ball in Hartline’s rookie season, he had only 56 chances to make a play. Both Maclin and Garcon were cemented into their roles in the #2 slot on their respective teams. Both had over 90 balls thrown their way, and both averaged about 8.4 yards per target.

Let’s assume that Hartline becomes the “Bake” to Marshall’s “Shake”. If Hartline reaches 90 targets he would have 813 yards and 6 receiving touchdowns, outperforming both Maclin and Garcon. Not bad, right?

But looking at the target numbers around the league is even more eye opening. If Hartline was targeted as much as Donald Driver (1b to Jennings) he would also be a 1,000 yard receiver. If he received the same targets as Anquan Boldin (1b to Fitzgerald) Brian would have 1155 yards and seven TDs. Boldin only managed 1,029yds and five scores.

Of course none of this is an exact science, but the numbers indicate that if Hartline was given a more prominent role, he’d be more than up to the task. Hell, if we really committed to him opposite Marshall he might put up Pro Bowl numbers. Math is fun, isn’t it boys and girls?

This offseason the Trifecta needs to decide if Hartline is a wingman or a 1b. Either way, it looks like the front office “done good” finding him in 2009’s fourth round.

If you understimate this man, he'll punch you in the neck.


20 Responses to “Brian Hartline is Pretty Freakin’ Good”

  1. Pandarilla May 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Dude, you forgot to mention he rarely drops a ball. I read some stat somewhere where he had only 1 or 2 drops last season, which was among the best in the NFL.

    • EricG May 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Yep — according to Salguero, Hartline dropped 3 of the 34 catchable balls thrown his way (8.824%).

      On the other hand, Teddy Ginn dropped 10 of 48, for a 20.83% drop percentage!!!

      It’ll be nice to have some reliability across the board.

      • Jim May 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

        I agree Ginn couldnt chatch with us and i hate to say this but the main reason he was good for OSU was because he could outrun anyone at anytime but in the NFL he couldnt do that as well but did help us beat the Jets 2 times so I hope he does good wit the 49ers and it will be great to have a player with hands and quickness

      • danewen May 2, 2010 at 11:30 pm #

        I understand why Cam was gaga over Ginn. His highlight reel at OSU was sick. But yeah, he had no peers in college, speedwise. Nobody was jamming him at the line, punching him in the face a little bit. The physicality of the pro game seemed to take him by surprise. Also the ball has a lot more mustard on it.

  2. danewen May 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    I did write that he was “more than just a good hands guy”. No doubt, the dude can flat out catch. The surprise to me (and hopefully to a lot of readers) is his top ten ranking in yards per catch as well. The guy has a lot to offer, and I hope he sees the playing time he deserves. With Marshall seeing all that attention, Hartline could really do some damage.

    Thanks for visiting The Bottlenose, Pandarilla. Hope to see you here again.

    • Michael May 3, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

      Hartline also goes after the ball and is always focused on it. He knows someone is going to tackle him, so he takes it in stride. Ginn seemed to run away from contact.

      • danewen May 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

        I agree. It’s nice to see a receiver that wants the ball, and goes after it. Marshall and Hartline will both fight for the rock. This is a physical league, and you’ve got to get up there and snatch that thing.

  3. Michael May 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Consistency is what Tony requires and consistency is what Brian gives.

  4. EricG May 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Obviously, college-level production is very different from the NFL, but it is interesting to notice Hartline’s stats vs. Ginn, both at Ohio State:

    YEAR Catches Yards YPC TD
    2008 21 479 22.8 4
    2007 52 694 13.3 6
    2006 17 256 15.1 2

    YEAR Catches Yards YPC Avg TD
    2006 59 781 13.2 9
    2005 51 803 15.7 4
    2004 25 359 14.4 2

    Even in a year when Ginn was the featured senior, and Hartline a sophomore, 2006, Ginn definitely had way more targets and catches (and TDs, to be fair), but Hartline had a higher YPC. I know this isn’t a Ginn-vs.-Hartline battle — thank God Ginn’s been banished — but again, it’s just more proof to me that we’ve got dependability and potential in Hartline that just wasn’t there in Ginn. And if we can put him across the field from Marshall, throw Bess in the slot (and Camarillo as the Z on 4-WR sets, old-skool Rams style), it might be get interesting…

  5. Joe in NM May 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Nice comparison and stats info. I’ve got to be honest though, once we kicked Ginn to the curb I was hoping we’d draft a burner to stretch the field opposite Marshall. I consider the beast more of a huge possession receiver with a great RAC (run after the catch, that is, hah), and I thought we could have used a burner to keep the safeties honest.
    This article makes me feel a little bit better now. Thanks!

  6. Jim May 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    I love this rticle and i love Brian Hartline I was really surprised when we got in him in the 4th round but I was relly happy cuz i am a huge buckeye fan,but honestly I expected maybe 200 yards at most depending on playing time.but at ohio state he was really good deep but was only was third or fourt on receptions for the team and for the dolphins he was second but i can see why he wasnt great at ohiostate because the passing game was week .So Im am relly surprised at how good he did and I agree that with marshall taking all the pressure hartline could get big numbers

  7. Jets Rule May 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Dolphins stink and so does hartline

  8. Jim May 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Hey jets rule (not) if your such a big jet fan why the heck are you on a dolphins websit…some fan of the jets

  9. Jim May 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    danewen i agree about ginn just not being tough and not physical because everytime he was about to get hit he just ran away and half the time he ran out of bounds.I mean he was a beast at OSU and he broke so amny tackles there but he couldnt here

  10. Jim May 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Jets rule GET LOST LOSER

  11. Jim May 8, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Danewen who do you think will start with Marshall i think it should be Hartline.

    • danewen May 8, 2010 at 10:09 am #

      I agree. I think it’s Hartline too. With Davone Bess in the slot for three receiver sets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s