Brian Hartline is a bright guy. A reporter asked him on Tuesday if he's practiced doing what he did against Pittsburgh last week -- catching the ball that is not exactly on target, getting both feet down and in bounds and falling as he does all of that.
"Practice that play?" he asked. "I don't practice falling in practice."
The guy thinks about the question and his response. He's told me he likes measuring talent and I think he might have a future in personnel after his career ends.
Right now, however, he's concentrating on Sunday's game against New England.
He did a conference call with the New England media on Wednesday. This is how it went:
(On facing Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib) – “It’s exciting, I always enjoy going against the top rated, quote, unquote corners in the league and he is one of the guys that is always well talked about. I hope he is coming back well from his injury, if end up seeing him I am looking forward to the opportunity and the matchup."
(On his impressions and if he sees any difference in the Patriots secondary over the past few weeks with a number of them battling injuries) – “Really just watching all the games it just how many different guys have been playing. I don’t think its necessarily seeing a guy play injured or who he is trying to pull up there. Its just seeing a guy here that is moved around and a guy there, that’s probably been the biggest notice and I am just speaking from the back end from the corners to the safeties and the nickel players, so that is probably where I have seen the most, the versatility and the amount of the defensive backs that have played."
(On Aqib Talib stating that (Hartline) plays at one speed and if that is something that he practices) –“Yeah I have just always been that kind of guy. Every once in a while you can kind of mix it in, but I have always kind of been a 100 percent kind of guy all the time and it another thing that can get you into trouble, but sometimes it can be to your advantage, so it just depends on how things go. Hopefully it’s a nice hot day down here come Sunday and we will see how it plays out."
(On his impressions of Ryan Tannehill’s development and if there are specific areas that he has seen him improve on since last season) – “By this point it’s not about last season, we have basically played a full season so seeing his growth even throughout the season this year I think has been well documented. I think he is playing well, I think he is doing a great job in two minute situations. He is doing a great job at commanding the offense which we kind of see on the inside, it seems like and feels like we have carried more pass opportunities the last three, four weeks and he has handled it well. He has put the ball in great spots. Guys are making plays on the ball and we are turning them into big plays. So to take that next step and kind of carry the team on his back is really what he is doing at this point."
(On how the team recovered from a four game losing streak while dealing with outside distractions to get back into playoff contention) - “In the NFL four games are important, but so much goes on so you can recover. Our backs, we felt like got up against the wall a couple times and we responded in the right way. But overall nothing really changed. Everyone wants to think that there was some miraculous change, but nothing changed. The situation really for all intents and purposes was not in the locker room. The individuals were outside the locker room, they were not on the team. The biggest hole that we had to fill wasn’t any quote, unquote, distractions, it was the fact that we were missing two staring offensive linemen and if that happens to any team in the NFL it can cause some rifts and getting guys to step up and play. But we had that and guys were able to step up and make some plays that kept us in games, we didn’t pull all of them out, coming out of that, but we still played well and at this point some guys are getting more and more comfortable in the positions they are in and Bryant (McKinnie) is doing a great job on the left side. So it was just some growing pains really in the end and we have grown through it and we are looking forward to these next three game opportunities. You guys can kind of understand, New England always demands your full attention, so to think of anything other besides that would be doing ourselves a disservice."
(On if he feels if there is any room for error the rest of the way) – “I think anytime you play December football you don’t have much room for error, it just depends on what caliber. I am sure New England feels the same way. They want to either finish off the division or earn a first spot or whatever they are going for, so everyone feels that way. Just because ours is in a different line or a different level doesn’t make it less important. We have our goals, other teams have their goals as far as I know a lot of things are not locked in the NFL, so basically every game is important for every team throughout the NFL at this point and we are one of them."
(On if he’s aware that the Patriots are 5-1 in their last six visits to Miami) – “I didn’t not but I think the last time we played them and we beat them I believe was my rookie year so that makes sense."
(On what it would mean to beat them on Sunday at home with that in mind) –“Nothing more than another win. Like you said every game is important. It’s obviously important, we have three division games to finish the year, New England being one of them. In the end, it’s always good to beat New England they are the division leaders, that’s always important to us. To say it’s worth more or weighs more, I think that’d be wrong. As soon as we win this game, if we do win this game, pull this out, which we do plan on doing that we have to turn our focus right away to Buffalo and move on. It’s not really a big celebratory situation and obviously when you play a great football team, a good football team at that matter it’s a good time to test your team. It’s a good time to test yourselves, the one on one match ups put it all to the test, the team as a whole and see where you are after all this work you’ve put in come the middle of December, so it’s a great opportunity like I said."
(On what Ken O’Keefe has brought to the team) – “Well actually both, Coach Phil McGeoghan played at (Maine)and was from that area and coach (Ken) O’Keefe but they’re great, they’re a great combo. Coach O’Keefe, we’ve grown together as a tight knit group and Coach Phil McGeoghan has done a great job too. He’s a younger kind of coach and was at UCF if I’m not mistaken, or USF and he came here two years ago. You kind of have an older guy who’s been around the block and seen a lot of things, a lot of intellect along with a younger guy who’s very smart but has also played the game a little bit in the NFL in his younger days. It’s a great mesh, we have a great group of guys the coaching staff does a great job leading us and we follow and Coach O’Keefe has really helped me bring my game up to another level as well as my other receivers in the room."
(On what surprises him most with Charles Clay, and how comfortable has Mike Wallace become in the offense) – “Mike’s always been a factor, whether we have any kind of glamorous stats or not, that’s never changed. (Charles) Clay’s always been a factor as well and I’ve see it for the last couple years, it was just a matter of continuing to work, continuing to get that opportunity and when you get that opportunity really shinning. He’s had some small opportunities throughout his career so far, the last couple weeks have gotten him more attention but what he’s done and the mismatches he creates has never been a secret to us at least. Maybe we’re doing a better job of using him, I don’t know but he’s making some great plays right now, he’s getting a lot of opportunities and in order for us to be successful he has to be able to keep doing that. I’m looking forward to watching him play and enjoying him play this weekend with us. "
(On what’s the secret with him having good success on third down) – “Catching the ball."
(On how he’s able to stay open with extra attention due to his success) – “Yeah, I think that’s a credit to the coaching staff moving me around, providing opportunities. Really in the end, I think catch rate and all that kind of stuff that I check every now and then, it’s pretty good throughout the league. I just pride myself with when the ball is in my area, coming down with it. Maybe it’s not always the prettiest thing in the world, but sometimes they’re not always pretty but converting when you need to convert and making the plays when they are there and really creating that trust within my coaching staff and my quarterback so that’s just how I’ve gone about my business."