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Dolphins hang in despite controversy

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) and

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline (82) and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrate after the two combined for a touchdown pass against the Jets during the second half. (Dec. 1, 2013) (Credit: AP)

The Dolphins, 7-6, are still in the hunt for a playoff berth despite dealing with the controversy surrounding the alleged bullying situation involving guard Richie Incognito, who remains suspended, and tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team on Oct. 31.

Despite losing those two starting offensive linemen, the Dolphins have actually shown improvement up front.

Consider: In the eight games that Incognito and Martin were in the lineup, the Dolphins allowed 35 sacks. Over their last five games, the Dolphins have allowed just 13.

The Dolphins have managed to deal with the distractions by remaining together as a team.

“The situation really for all intents and purposes was not in the locker room. The individuals were outside the locker room, they were not in on the team,” wide receiver Brian Hartline said of the team’s ability to move forward without Martin and Incognito. “The biggest hole that we had to fill wasn't any quote, unquote, distractions, it was the fact that we were missing two starting offensive lineman and if that happens to any team in the NFL it can cause some rifts and getting guys to step up and play. Guys were able to step up and make some plays that kept us in games.”

Tags: miami dolphins , brian hartline , jonathan martin , richie incognito

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