About the Author
Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a matchup to watch in Sunday's Browns-Dolphins game.
Dolphins WRs Brandon Marshall, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess vs. Browns CBs Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown and Eric Wright
Marshall, who missed the Dolphins' Week 12 win at Oakland with a hamstring injury, is expected to return to the lineup Sunday vs. Cleveland. The 6-4, 230-pound Marshall can be dominant at times, such as he was in Miami's Week Three loss to the Jets, when he caught 10-166-1. However, that was his lone TD catch of the season, and he hasn't had more than five catches or racked up more than 64 yards receiving in any of his last five games. Overall, he has hauled in 58 passes for 693 yards.
Marshall will be moved around as the Dolphins try to find the best matchup. Haden, the Browns' 2010 first-round pick, is playing the best of the Browns' corners at the moment, and it will be enjoyable and illustrative to watch this promising young corner square off with a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver. Haden could get another start at left cornerback this week and has a chance to keep the job for the long term even with Eric Wright likely to return after missing Week 12 with a knee injury. Veteran RCB Sheldon Brown is smart and physical but has struggled at times in coverage this season.
Bess, who will work out of the slot, had an outstanding game vs. the Raiders, catching six passes for 111 yards, and Wright likely will be matched up with him at times inside. (Reserve CB Mike Adams also can cover the slot.) Bess is quick, elusive and reliable; according to STATS Inc., Bess has caught 55 of the 79 passes thrown to him, with just three drops.
Hartline, who has caught 43 passes for 615 yards and one TD in 11 games (10 starts), has played well recently. Like Bess, he stepped up with Marshall out last week, catching four passes for 75 yards (long of 26).