Heading into Week Nine, the Dolphins were 0-7, but it was hard to call them the worst team in the league considering the talent that Miami trotted out each Sunday. The players knew that, too, which is a reason they remained confident, setting up a stretch of five wins in the next eight games, ending the season on a high note.
"We knew we had good players, we just weren't putting it all together yet," WR Brian Hartline told PFW.
Hartline, the speedy third-year receiver out of Ohio State, gave credit to former head coach Tony Sparano and the rest of the staff for keeping the team together during the 0-7 start.
"We were on the field everyday. We saw it. We have a lot of good pieces. You can always fill some holes, absolutely" he said. "We'll definitely be a team you'll want to keep an eye on next year because we have a lot of good players on this team."
Since the brutal start, the Dolphins have improved most facets of the game, especially the defense and pass protection. In the passing game, QB Matt Moore has provided a spark and is giving his receivers big-play opportunities. The Dolphins rank 16th in average gain per pass play — they were 26th in that category after Week Eight.
"He does a good job of giving his guys a chance to make plays," said Hartline, who has 33 catches for 533 yards (16.2-yard average) this season. "He plays the game hard. I have a lot of respect for him."
Last offseason, increasing team speed was a priority of the Dolphins, and they drafted Clyde Gates and signed Reggie Bush to add to the speed that Hartline possesses.
"We are on the right path and definitely have some guys that can run," Hartline said.
There are plenty of questions for the Dolphins heading into the offseason, mainly at head coach and quarterback, and a new staff is possible, which could mean a new offense. Hartline believes they have the personnel to use a pass-first offense.
"With Reggie in the backfield and myself, Brandon (Marshall) and Davone Bess out there and Anthony (Fasano) at tight end, I think we're definitely geared toward a passing offense. In my mind, we pass to set up the run, that's where we should be. … At least I hope, being a receiver," he said. "Whatever system does come in, if it is new — hopefully it's not — we have to buy in and go with it."
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