Posts Tagged ‘Brian Hartline’

#MetLife Takeover Twitter Reaction

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

By the middle of the third quarter of Sunday’s game, MetLife Stadium was half-empty, as thousands of dejected Jets fans filed for the exits. By the the time the fourth quarter started and the Dolphins held a comfortable 20-3 lead, Sections 322 and 323 — along with several hundred aqua-and-orange-clad fans scattered around the stadium — were the only ones left clapping in the stands. 760 DolfansNYC members, plus a few more who migrated to join us, cheered for every first down, sang the fight song after every touchdown (even one that was ultimately called back) and made sure to let the Jets know #MetLifeTakeover was in full effect.

Prior to and especially following the game — along with the support of thousands of fans across the country – dozens of past and present Dolphins stars, front office personnel and media members offered humbling shoutouts to DolfansNYC. Check out notable Tweets and images from CEO Tom Garfinkel, team legend O.J. McDuffie and current players including Brian Hartline, Jared Odrick and Mike Pouncey — all of whom heard their fans loud and clear.

If that wasn’t enough, watch Coach Joe Philbin thank the fans “up in the cheap seats” during his radio show with the Finsiders (12:35 mark in the video) and Brian Hartline point up to us after scoring his TD! (more…)

To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Jake Long & Reggie BushAs every season draws to a close, fans across the country whip themselves up into a frenzy about the approaching offseason and what changes it will bring to their beloved franchises. Wild speculation about who they will acquire in free agency and who will be targeted in the draft fill team forums and heated debates ensue. But the offseason is a process, and although there is a new mock draft available just about every single day at this point, the draft order has more or less been determined. The beginning of this process? Deciding who we resign from our roster and who we let walk.

Until this phase of the offseason has taken place, predicting free agents and draft picks is mostly a pointless exercise…mostly.

The Dolphins are in a great position this year in terms of spending power. Jeff Ireland, a man in need of a Hallmark year, has an estimated $44 million in cap space to work with.

The front office decisions regarding who to retain and who to let go will be a massive determining factor in who is pursued in free agency and who makes the draft board in April.

Lets have a look at the most notable, shall we?

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Live Chat with Sean Smith Highlights

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

On Friday, the Miami Dolphins hosted a live chat with cornerback Sean Smith — the second call of the offseason exclusively for the fan websites invited by the team to attend the annual Web Weekend.

Smith, the 61st overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has started 40 of the 47 games games he’s played during his three seasons in Miami, coming up with three interceptions. Last season, No. 24 tied for second on the team with a career-high two picks and registered 51 tackles. Make sure to follow Smith on Twitter: @SeanSMITH24.

Over the course of the 10-minute call, the 6-foot-3 CB discussed the impact of new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on the secondary, his new role as a mentor and leader, and, like Richie Incognito last week, told DolfansNYC that he takes great pride in seeing fans clad in aqua-and-orange in New York New Jersey and other opposing stadiums.

“It means a lot, because we definitely appreciate the fan support,” said Smith. “Whenever you’re on the road, you’re always the villain — you’re getting booed no matter what you do — so it’s always good to have that one section you can look up to (where) you get the fans screaming in aqua-and-orange.

“When you can only hear your crowd at their place, you know you’re doing something right.”

With long-time veteran Yeremiah Bell no longer on the team, Smith told us he has taken on the role of mentor to not only the younger players, but some of his more-established teammates.

“I’m always trying to pull guys to the side, whether it (is) the young guys, or the older guys like Vontae (Davis) and Richard Marshall,” he said. “We’re always out there trying to help each other get better.”

Smith explained that he doesn’t just want to give himself the title of being the leader of the secondary, but rather earn it on the field.

“I just go out there and do my job the best way I can and try to show the guys the right way to do things,” he said.

Smith also touched on numerous key topics, including his offseason routine, his expectations for the up-and-coming Phins wide receivers, and adjustments to the new defensive scheme.
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Brian Hartline Holds Call with Dolphins Season Ticket Holders

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Miami Dolphins fourth-year wide receiver Brian Hartline, as well as CEO Mike Dee, held a conference call with the team’s season ticket holders tonight, and DolfansNYC had the chance to listen in on their thoughts and expectations with the 2012 season on the horizon.

Over the course of his career, Hartline has caught 109 passes for 1,670 yards and five touchdown passes in 44 games (23 starts). The Ohio State product’s 15.32 yards per catch ranks 15th among all WRs with at least 100 receptions over the last three seasons, ahead of Miles Austin, Hakeem Nicks and Andre Johnson.

During the 40-minute call, Hartline discussed a wide array of topics, including the unique way in which he mastered tip-toeing the NFL sidelines and which Dolphin he’d pick in the first round of a fantasy football draft.

*No. 82, who recently underwent an appendectomy, stopped short of calling himself 100 percent ready to go, but said his rehab from the surgery has gone well.

“I’m feeling pretty good. I think 100 percent is  kind of a lost thing at this stage,” he said. “(I’m) healthy from all of the offseason fun. Life just happens sometimes.”

*Hartline expressed confidence in the team’s coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and explained the West Coast offense relies on quarterbacks and wide receivers being on the same page.

“There’s a lot going on — there’s a lot on the table for the quarterbacks, like usual,” he said. “I think our job is really to try and make it easier for the quarterbacks. Timing is big. They’ve got enough going on — they expect us to be in certain spots at a certain time.”

*Asked about his daily routine, Hartline said he typically works out in the morning, keeps his mind focused on improving and tries to eat healthy “from time to time.”

“I”m pretty much a normal guy,” he said. “(I’m) just tying not to be normal on Sundays.”

*Hartline reiterated several times that he anticipates carrying a large role on offense and being used all over the field, and revealed his personal goals are to be a veteran leader on a young team and to hit a major milestone.

“Most of my personal goals revolve around the team,” he said. “I firmly believe that if you win football games, you play at a high level, the rest of it takes care of itself.

“With that being said, I want to be a 1,000 yard receiver — that’s my goal.”

*Hartline believes that other teams with rookie quarterbacks are not as fortunate as the Dolphins, who have two talented veterans capable of carrying the load until Ryan Tannehill is ready, but confirmed that if the eighth overall pick shines in training camp, it won’t be long until he is named the starter.

“You’re going to play the best guy, and if (Tannehill) really does separate himself and he’s the best guy, then he’s going to play the game,” he said.

*Hartline said the coaches have a very difficult decision to make on the Week 1 starter, which he expects to come towards the end of training camp in order to give the players a chance to work on their timing and communication.

*Hartline acknowledged that while the NFL is a team sport, he has taken some of the criticism the Dolphins WRs have faced in the media on a personal level, and believes the underrated corps will change the negative perception.

“I know what I think of our guys, and I’m impressed with where we’ve come to where we’re at now,” he said. “Definitely, I feel like this  is the best overall group we’ve had.

“I’m not living under a rock and I understand people like the flashy names and numbers, but I think there’s more involved to that than just personnel. Our room is ready and excited.”

*Hartline said that Chad Ochocinco Johnson brings knowledge, experience and familiarity with a lot of defenses, and will help the young receivers react to different schemes.

*When he was asked which player, other than himself, he would choose in the first round of a fantasy football league, Hartline jokingly (I think) asked if Jake Long produces a lot of points, before saying Charles Clay, Anthony Fasano and Davone Bess would be his picks and that Reggie Bush “will be very important with catching the ball out of the backfield.”

*Hartline said the two players who have the most break-out potential are fellow WRs Julius Pruitt and Roberto Wallace.

*Hartline declined to reveal whether he would be one of the main subjects on the “Hard Knocks” cameras, but said he is “excited to see what it’s going to be like.”

*One of Hartline’s most interesting answers came when he was asked about how he learned to tip-toe the sidelines and make his patented spectacular down-the-field catches.
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Miami Dolphins Sign Chad Ochocinco

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Chad Ochocinco is the newest member of the Miami Dolphins.The Miami Dolphins agreed to a one-year contract with six-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All-Pro wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, after the former Cincinnati Bengals star and New England Patriots washout worked out for the team on Monday morning. Naturally, Ochocinco’s own news organization, OCNN, first broke the story.

Ochocinco, a one-time standout at Miami Beach High, certainly bolsters a receiver corps led by Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Legedu Naanee and Clyde Gates, along with a host of even less proven players. Although at this stage in his career, the 34-year-old can’t even come close to replicating Brandon Marshall’s production, he is only two years removed from racking up over 1,000 yards and nine scores with the Bengals, and ranks fifth in receptions (766) and receiving yards (11,059) and sixth in touchdown catches (67) among all active players.

Still, Ochocinco comes to Miami with far more questions than answers, starting with whether he has anything left in the tank after his worst NFL season, in which he caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games with the Patriots.

A player who’s infamous for his off-the-field baggage, Ochocinco could also prove to be an unwelcome distraction for a rebuilding franchise grooming a rookie quarterback and hoping for a breakout year from one of its up-and-coming pass-catchers. The signing also raises questions about head coach Joe Philbin’s confidence in his receivers, after he had previously praised the young group’s collective talent and downplayed the possibility of bringing a high-profile player into camp.

Perhaps the biggest and most important question is how Ochocinco will fit into the newly-installed, complex West Coast offense. Last season, he struggled to pick up the Patriots’ playbook and couldn’t remember his routes en route to being declared inactive for the AFC Championship Game and ultimately released.

In the end, it’s a low-risk move by the Dolphins, who won’t find a more experienced and talented wideout on the market. In the best-case scenario, Ochocinco, hoping to resurrect his career and prove he still belongs in the league after flaming out in New England, could end up helping the team take a step in the right direction by providing veteran leadership.

At the very least, it will present an interesting storyline on “Hard Knocks,” on which Ochocinco starred three years ago (yes, of course he did).

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 5: Tony Sparano

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Last week, DolfansNYC attended Web Weekend, an annual event hosted by the Miami Dolphins for the team’s top fan websites. Prior to Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, Coach Tony Sparano addressed the crowd and spoke about a number of key topics, after which we he took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for our podcast.

Below are the main portions from the group Q&A, followed by our exclusive one-on-one interview with Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and his thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

On under-the-radar players to watch for:

I think a guy that you should watch out for, predicated on what I’ve seen throughout training camp – and I don’t like singling any players out, as I’m sure you guys know – I’ll tell you that Reshad Jones is a guy I would watch.   This guy had 13 tackles (against the Patriots), and has had a really good training camp, has really good range and ball skills back there.  I think he’s a guy that could have a really good year as a young player for us.

I’m hoping that Jared Odrick will continue to get better.  He needs to play, and he obviously hasn’t played in a long time.  So, Jared would be a guy that I would say the same thing about.  And then maybe a young guy like Daniel Thomas.

On the roster decision-making process:

The first thing we identify, is where the need is – obviously, just because there’s a player out there, he might not satisfy our needs at that particular time.  There were a lot of good players out there when free agency hit at the end of the lockout, but we had a particular plan in mind, knowing what we had coming back and knowing maybe a little bit about what we needed.

This year, business was done a little bit differently, only because the draft was done before free agency.  So, in the draft, we got to fill some needs like Clyde Gates, in getting speed, or Mike Pouncey, in finding a center, and Daniel Thomas, in finding a (running) back.  At that point, it became, “okay, we’ve got Daniel Thomas – what’s the next piece?  Well, there’s this Reggie Bush that might be out there.”  That was a scenario there where (it was) a hunch on our part, only because Reggie had made a lot of money where he was, (and could have been) a cap casualty.  And we had all of those things – our scouting department has a list of players that we think are going to be released, a list of players that are free agents, and potential cap casualties.  And this was a scenario where we were able to get a good player in that situation and bring him to our team.

But the way the process works, is identifying the problem first, then Jeff (Ireland) and I will sit down and go over the possibilities.  We’ll have what we call a “short list,” a list of players in that area, that we’ll start putting together, we’ll go through, and if we feel like there’s a chance that we can strike a deal with somebody there that might be a good deal for us, then we’ll push towards that.  So, it’s mutual, both of us together, but most of the time, it’s about me bringing a need first.

On his thoughts about bringing back the Wildcat:

No, no real thoughts about the Wildcats right now.

The reason the Wildcat originated, was that at that particular time, we didn’t have the personnel that we have on our football team right now.  You look at Brandon Marshall, and Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline, and Clyde Gates, and Reggie Bush, and (Anthony) Fasano, and these types of people that you can get the football to – we didn’t have that necessarily; we had Ronnie (Brown) and Ricky (Williams) at the time.  So, (with) Ronnie and Ricky, how can we get them on the same field at the same time and maybe get the ball in their hands enough times?  That was kind of the reason why we went with something like that.  I don’t know that the Wildcat is something that we’re really too interested at this time.

(After audience applauds) You weren’t clapping way back when – it was genius at that point.

On the biggest difference in Chad Henne this season:

I would say that the biggest difference isn’t necessarily in Chad – the difference is in how the team perceives Chad.  Chad is the same Chad that I know from the previous years.  The difference is, if the lockout was good for anything from my end, as a football coach, the lockout was good because Chad had to be out there running these workouts on his own.  He had the keys to the closet and he was the only guy that really knew about the offense, contrary to popular belief out there.  The players needed him – they had to come to him for the answers.  So, in these player-only workouts that took place out there, Chad had all the answers for them, so obviously he got them lined up, he organized the practices, he did everything from that standpoint.  So now, when Chad says something, it isn’t, “well, let me go find somebody else to get the answer,” it’s, “I got it, Chad.”  At the quarterback position, he drives the bus, and at the end of this thing, it really sets on his shoulders.  So he needs to have that respect, and I think that Chad clearly has the respect right now.

DolfansNYC Podcast with Coach Tony Sparano:

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and this thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

Dolphins Preseason News and Notes

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

More often than not, preseason statistics are completely meaningless. Coaches rarely reveal their game-plans, test out new and sometimes faulty plays, and most importantly, give rookies and fringe players a chance to solidify their roles or make the final roster. It’s no surprise then, that through two games, the NFL passing, rushing and receiving yards leaders are Stephen McGee, Stevan Ridley and Chastin West, respectively, while Michael Vick has thrown three interceptions en route to posting a 50.7 QB rating.

With that in mind, the Miami Dolphins have yet to officially name a starting quarterback, have two new running backs to integrate into the offense, and no less than three players vying for the fifth and likely final wide receiver spot.  Let’s take a look at how the position battles have gone so far.

QB Comp Atts Pct Yds Y/G TDs INT Long 20+ Sck Rate
Chad Henne 19 32 59.4 271 135.5 1 2 44T 4 0 71.2
Matt Moore 17 28 60.7 196 98.0 2 1 28T 3 1 90.8
Pat Devlin 0 2 0.0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 2 39.6
  • After a poor preseason opener (4-of-8 passing for 77 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) against the Atlanta Falcons, Chad Henne looked better against the Carolina Panthers (who doesn’t?) in the second contest, completing 15-of-24 passes for 194 yards with no turnovers. His biggest problem so far has come with the deep ball, as he has continued to miss open receivers downfield.
  • Even though Matt Moore outplayed Henne in the opener (11-of-18 passing for 123 yards and two TDs)  and has posted a higher QB rating two games, Coach Tony Sparano has so far made it clear there is no competition for the starting quarterback job. Moore hasn’t played with the first-team offense in the preseason at all, indicating he will enter the season as the primary backup, barring a couple of disastrous outings from Henne.
  • The battle for the third quarterback spot is shaping up to be epic:  Pat Devlin is 0-of-2 with two sacks in clean-up duty, while Kevin O’Connell has more kneel-downs (two) than pass attempts (0).
RB Att Rsh Yd Avg Y/G TD Lng Rec Rec Yd Lng Fum
Reggie Bush 8 48 6.0 48.0 0 17 2 33 17 0
Daniel Thomas 16 57 3.6 28.5 1 10 1 25 25 0
Kory Sheets 17 43 2.5 21.5 0 8 2 5 3 0
Lex Hilliard 8 28 3.5 14.0 1 8 0 0 0 0
Nic Grigsby 10 21 2.1 10.5 0 8 0 0 0 0
  • Playing one half, Reggie Bush had eight carries for 48 yards and caught two passes for 33 yards in his Dolphins debut on Friday. Early reports indicated the coaching staff planned to give Bush, who averaged only nine touches per game over the last two years with the New Orleans Saints, a heavy workload on offense without using him as a punt returner, and so far, the RB looked quicker and more exciting than any RB the Dolphins have had in years.
  • Daniel Thomas has sported an unimpressive 3.6 yards per carry average, busting out just one run of 10 yards.  Expected to be a power-back capable of breaking tackles and moving the pile, he couldn’t get into the endzone on two carries inside the five-yard line early against the Panthers (Lex Hilliard scored on the next play).  Thomas did have a four-yard TD run in the second quarter, and while he’ll need time to get used to the NFL, his workload should increase as the season progresses.
  • Hilliard all but solidified his hold on the number three RB job after scoring at the goal line, while Kory Sheets managed only 43 yards on a team-high 17 carries against second-stringers.
  • The Dolphins released Sheets on Tuesday and unexpectedly signed veteran Larry Johnson, who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since Week 2 of last season with the Washington Redskins. Johnson had five carries for two yards in 2010 and a terrible 3.2 YPC in 2009; at age 31, he makes little sense for Miami.
  • Undrafted rookie Nic Grigsby hasn’t done much (2.1 YPC) to suggest he’s in the team’s immediate future.

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Phins Fantasy Football: QBs and WRs

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

With the NFL season right around the corner, and fantasy football drafts already in full-swing, it’s time to take a look at what to expect from the Miami Dolphins’ skill players in 2010.  Today, we’ll cover the quarterbacks and wide receivers, with running backs, tight ends, and the defense to be posted in the coming weeks.

Sorry, Chad!

Sorry, Penny!

Chad Henne, QB - All things considered, Henne had a solid 2009 after being thrown into the fire following Chad Pennington’s shoulder injury in Week 3.  (As a sidenote, I still feel responsible for causing that to happen, because I spontaneously decided to pick up Henne in my fantasy league minutes before that game started).  Henne completed 60.8% of his passes and had 12 TD passes in 14 games despite having one of the weaker WR corps in the league.  He threw for over 300 yards in three of his last five games, and should have no problem continuing that trend with the Dolphins’ acquisition of two-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Marshall.  Considering that Kyle Orton threw for over 3,800 yards and 21 TDs last season with Marshall as his top receiver, Henne could be in line for a spectacular year if he can improve his decision-making (10 INTs in the final six games).  He’s a borderline number-one QB, and has more potential than the likes of Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan, all of whom are all  being drafted ahead of him in ESPN leagues.

2009 Statistics:  2,878 passing yards, 12 TDs, 14 INT
2010 Prediction:  4,161 passing yards, 25 TDs, 13 INT

Chad Pennington / Tyler Thigpen / Pat White, QB - Unless you’re in a 14-team, two-QB league (like me), none of the Dolphins’ backups should be on your radar.  Thigpen is likely to begin the year second on the official depth chart, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Miami turned to the veteran Pennington if Henne were to miss any games.  White, who didn’t complete a single pass last year, is, um, still on the team as of this writing.

Brandon Marshall, WR – Marshall, who set the NFL record with 21 receptions to go along with 200 yards and two TDs in Week 14, will catch more passes by Week 3 than the Dolphins’ previous #19 did all year (38).  The problem is that the volatile WR has been arrested at least four times on charges of assault, domestic violence, and DUI, and was suspended by the Denver Broncos for the final week of 2009 for exaggerating an injury.  Still, Marshall’s talents are undeniable — he’s caught over 100 passes and totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in three straight seasons and has averaged the fourth-most receiving yards per game (80.7) in the NFL since 2007. His off-the-field problems, combined with playing for a new team and a different offense, make him a somewhat risky pick in the second round (currently being drafted 19th overall), but you could talk me into taking Marshall ahead of the aging Randy Moss and the Kurt Warner-less Larry Fitzgerald (especially in Point Per Reception leagues). 

2009 Statistics:  101 catches, 1,120 receiving yards, 10 TDs
2010 Prediction:  107 catches, 1,250 receiving yards, 8 TDs

Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...

Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...

Davone Bess, WR – Bess had a fantastic sophomore campaign, leading the Dolphins in catches (76; 22nd in NFL), receiving yards (758), and punt return yards (209).   His stats are bound to take a serious hit with Marshall firmly entrenched as the top receiver, but Bess should still get his fair share of targets out of the slot.  Bess is a decent fourth WR in PPR leagues with some upside, and at the very least, is a smart insurance policy if Marshall gets in Coach Sparano’s doghouse.

2009 Statistics:  76 catches, 758 receiving yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction:  57 catches, 570 receiving yards, 4 TDs

Brian Hartline, WR - Hartline led the Dolphins in TDs (3) and yards per catch (16.3; 11th in NFL) , and finished third on the team in receiving yards (506) as a rookie.  He dropped only three passes in 54 targets,  and could end up being the beneficiary of Marshall’s double-teams if he wins the number two receiver spot in training camp.  Still, with Bess expected to see more targets and Greg Camarillo also in the picture, Hartline is only worth a late-round flier in standard leagues.

2009 Statistics:  31 catches, 506 receiving yards, 3 TDs
2010 Prediction:  43 catches, 660 receiving yards, 3 TDs

Greg Camarillo, WR - Camarillo, who should be fully recovered from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2008, was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL last season, catching the highest number of passes without a drop and a stellar 70% of his total targets.  He quietly placed second on the team in both receptions (50) and receiving yards (552) in 2009, but stands to see a reduced role behind the quicker and younger Hartline in 2010.

2009 Statistics:  50 catches, 552 receiving yards, 0 TDs
2010 Prediction:  38 catches, 414 receiving yards, 1 TDs

Coming soon:  How will Ronnie “The Wildcat” Brown and Ricky Williams share the backfield?

Miami Drops Ginn

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I bought a Ted Ginn, Jr. jersey before the start of the 2009 season and targeted him in the middle rounds of my fantasy football drafts.

Ted Ginn, Jr. catches a TD pass against New York Jets (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

Ted Ginn, Jr. catches a TD pass against New York Jets (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

It’s easy to forget now, but after Ginn’s terrific sophomore campaign, he had “third-year breakout” written all over him.  In 2008 — when the Dolphins went 11-5 and won the AFC East — he led the team in catches (56), receiving yards (790), return yards (711), and all-purpose yards (1,574; 18th in NFL), while scoring four touchdowns (two receiving and two rushing).  Those numbers may not jump off the page, but they stacked up very favorably to several All-Pro wide receivers who blossomed after their second seasons, including Steve Smith (1.0) and Santana Moss (not to mention, Steve Smith (2.0) and Sidney Rice last season).

Of course, Ginn didn’t come close to living up to the expectations thrust upon him as the Dolphins number one WR, taking a major step backwards to the point of being benched in favor of rookie Brian Hartline.  Ginn had only 38 receptions on the year, tied for 69th among WRs, and his 11.95 yards per reception tied him for 68th with 74-year-old 32-year-old Laveranues Coles.  He dropped nine passes — Dolphins fans would argue that’s actually being generous — which tied him for fourth in the league behind Dwayne Bowe (11), Vernon Davis (11), and Santonio Holmes (10).

Despite his struggles on offense, however, Ginn was sensational on special teams.  While his critics often lamented him for avoiding contact by running to the sidelines, Ginn led the league in yards per touch (17.9), ranked fifth in kickoff return yards (1,296), fifth in yards per return (24.92), 10th in all-purpose yards (1,826), and tied for fourth in non-offensive touchdowns (2).

He single-handedly led the Dolphins to a road victory against the New York Jets on November 1, 2009, becoming the first player in NFL history to record two 100-yard return TDs in the same game (and in one quarter, no less), on a day when the Dolphins mustered just 104 total yards on offense.  I proudly wore my Ginn jersey, just as I did on every other game day, and heard his name praised for perhaps the only time that season.

The very next week, the Dolfans’ love-hate relationship with Ginn was right back on, as he was yet again getting blamed for a loss to the New England Patriots.  He managed just one catch for seven yards, dropping several passes late in the game, and wasn’t as dramatically effective in the return game.

Once the Dolphins acquired Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos last week, Ginn became immediately expendable.  The San Francisco 49ers acquired him for a fifth-round pick (145th overall), hoping to use him as a situational deep threat while reviving one of the league’s worst return games.  Still only 25 years old and among the fastest and most athletic players in the league, he leaves Miami with 128 catches for 1,664 yards, a modest 34.7 receiving yards per game average, and five receiving touchdowns over three seasons.

For Ginn, it’s a fresh start in a place where he doesn’t have to deal with the giant shadow of being selected ninth overall in 2007, and hearing the boos that have haunted him since draft day, when fans were hoping to land Brady Quinn (how did that one turn out?).   While he certainly didn’t produce as well as expected, he was routinely forced to play a role that wasn’t suited to his strengths and became the scapegoat for the team’s offensive struggles.

Could Ginn have been better utilized in the slot and opposite Marshall, a true number one possession receiver?  Could he have stretched the field and found himself wide open down the field when Marshall faced double teams?  At the very least, could a proven return specialist, whose role will now need to be filled by the undoubtedly slower Davone Bess, Patrick Cobbs, and Brian Hartline, have made the offense more productive and dangerous than any player the Dolphins can draft in the fifth round?

“I wouldn’t say a sense of relief, but it’s always good to have a new start,” Ginn said. “Leaving Miami, I don’t hold any grudges, no bad feelings about anything. My time was up there. I enjoyed it there, and now it’s time to move on.”

I truly hope that he does well in San Fransisco, and while I’ll always cheer for Miami, I’ll be sure sure to wear my Ginn jersey the next time he plays against the Dolphins.


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