Receiver Hartline knows how to make refs throw their flag
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DAVIE — Tony Sparano has a term for Brian Hartline.
"Sneaky quick," the Dolphins coach calls his second-year wide receiver.
Then again, you could just drop the second part of that description.
Opposing NFL cornerbacks certainly wouldn't argue. They've seen Hartline draw more than his share of flags for defensive pass interference, illegal contact and the like since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Ohio State.
"I knew [Asomugha] had a bad ankle and he gets a little grabby," Hartline says. "So I figured if I could get into him, we could do some things there."
Instincts are a big part of Hartline's game, as is reconnaissance, both through film and talking to friends around the league. He'll even check out the stats to see which opposing defensive backs are more apt to be flagged than others.
"To me it's just part of the preparation," he says. "I watch guys and their feet and how they transition and how you can get yourself in [advantageous] situations. If guys have gotten more calls, I like to attack them in different ways. I've always thought it's part of the game."
"A 15-yard completion or a 15-yard penalty or, in the NFL, spot of the foul, can be a big play," Hartline says. "I'm not going to ignore it. I'm just not really a guy that runs away from defenders as far as staying away from them. I like to take the route to them and have them be involved."
Go back to last season, and the past seven pass interference flags (one declined) caused by the Dolphins' offense have all been committed against Hartline. Total damage: 116 yards, or a 19.3-yard average.
There's always a way to avoid the defender," Hartline says, "but if you can bring the defender into the play and have him do things he's not allowed to do, that's part of the game."
Sneaky quick? You might just say Hartline is sneaky good.