Brian Hartline looks at the Dolphins receiving contingent and he sees Mike Wallace, and Brandon Gibson and tight end Dustin Keller. You know what else he sees? The best receiving corps in the AFC East.
"Absolutely, I think we are," Hartline said Monday on NFL AM. "The whole passing game I think is an advantage of ours."
I like the confidence. And the analysis is probably correct.
The Jets' best wide receiver is still Santonio Holmes and he's recovering from ACL surgery while Mark Sanchez security blanket Keller is gone to MIami. The Patriots lost Wes Welker in free agency and tight end Rob Gronkowski has been forced to have multiple surgeries on his forearm and might need another one. The Bills have Stevie Johnson, a very good No. 2 wide receiver, but they don't have a lot after him and, by the way, they think Johnson is a No. 1.
So it can be argued that on paper Miami does have the best receiving corps in the AFC East.
But the thing I appreciate more about Hartline is he's bright enough to see beyond the obvious and in his interview with the NFL AM crew he also said "it's a quarterback league."
And having great quarterback play is more important than having great receiver play. You'll remember in 2008, the Dolphins had the best QB play in the AFC East. Chad Pennington rarely made any mistakes. He found open receivers. And with a mediocre receiving corps, he led the Dolphins to the AFC East title. (It also helped that Tom Brady wasn't on the field that year while recovering from knee surgery.)
So excuse me if I hold off on celebrating how great Miami's receivers are until a couple of things happen:
1. They show it on the field.
2. Their quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, is everything you and the Dolphins expect him to be. (Yes, I'm simply going to observe on this one. I've been burned by high expectations for past Dolphins quarterbacks so I'm going to wait until I actually see it from Tannehill before I believe it, if you don't mind.)
If Tannehill plays at a high level, Miami might indeed have the best receiving corps in the division and be able to prove it. Without Tannehill playing well, the best receiver corps will be just another piece of an incomplete puzzle.