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Brian Hartline – 2012 – Game Tape Part 2 and 3

Here is the second and third installment of Brian Hartline’s 2012 season. You can find the first installment here Brian Hartline – 2012 – Game Tape Part 1.

At this point I will offer my thoughts on Brian Hartline, before moving onto Greg Jennings’s Game-Tape next Monday.

Part 2 and 3


I have spent considerable time looking at Brian Hartline this off-season, and as you all know from my previous article (Why Brian Hartline is Worth 3.5million per year!) I am not one who believes he is worth 6million/yr. But I must say, after going over his game tape again, I am continually impressed by the deceptiveness and accuracy with which he runs his routes. What Hartline lacks in physical tools such as straight line speed and lateral agility, he makes up for it by simply out-thinking his defenders.

Hartline is playing a poker game out there against the defense. Hartline is what I would call a double move receiver, whose main route is the “comeback”, which sets up a double move route such as the “hitch and go” for longer gains, his success depends onhow well he is able to sell his routes, and Hartline does this at an exceptional level. When he gets it right, itsmajestic to watch.

However, this may explain in part his futility in the Red Zone where the field gets shorter and there is less room for the defense to cover. Hartline’s comeback route and double move route combinations requires real estate to effectively put pressure on defenders. When the field is long, defenders have to make decisions about how slack or tight their coverage is going to be and this is what Hartline exploits. Hartline is able to read coverages, read defenders who are playing to conservatively or aggressively and therefore maximize what the defense is giving him with his precise route running ability.

However, when the field is shortened and defenders aren’t worried about being beat over the top, Hartline’s ability to deceive defenders is diminished. Hartline is not a receiver who can plant and make one cut to consistently create separation from his defenders. Hartline simply does not have that elite explosiveness or lateral agility to create immediate separation at the line of scrimmage or on shorter route patterns in the Red Zone where defenders are playing instinctively and relying on their athleticism. Also unlike Red Zone targets such as Marques Colston and Plaxico Buress, who aren’t known for their elusiveness, Hartline does not possess their length, the broad frame or the explosive vertical trait to make up for the lack of lateral agility in the Red Zone area. This to me is one of the main factors why he has not been a scoring threat over his College or Pro Career.

Overall, I have a great appreciation for Hartline’s skill set and how he goes about his job. He has reliable hands and his catch rate can improve as Tannehill’s gets better with his ball placement, but there is a limit to his catch rate since his lack of natural separation skills and outright speed means that he has to compete for a lot of contested balls. Hartline can be a useful asset to second year quarterback Tannehill as they have developed an undeniable chemistry. A big part of Hartline’s game that I like, is that he is able to sense when his quarterback is in trouble, he does not give up on plays and continually moves to provide a target for Tannehill when he is flushed out of the pocket. However, long term, I believe the Miami Dolphins should not commit too much cap space to this relationship, as I don’t see Hartline being a game breaking receiver.

Myth: One misconception that was debunked, is that defenses were double teaming and rolling coverages over to Hartline, this is a total fabrication.


Thanks for watching.

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