An Even Closer Look at Chad Henne

You'll remember that a few days ago, we took a closer look at Chad Henne.  Well, now we will dig a little deeper into Chad Henne and the kind of player he was at Michigan (and might be here in Miami).

Today I've enlisted the help of Sean Yullie.  Sean is the blogger over at SBN's Detroit Lions blog, Pride of Detroit, and also runs a Michigan Wolverines blog as well.  If you recall, we enlisted Sean's help last week to tell us a little bit more about Jake Long, which you can read here.  Below is what Sean tells us about Michigan QB and Dolphin draftee, Chad Henne:

Chad Henne was thrown into the gauntlet from the very first game of his freshman season at Michigan.  Due to an injury to starting quarterback Matt Gutierrez (now with the Patriots) literally in the days leading up to the beginning of the season, Henne had to step in and start at QB as a true freshman, which is a rarity at Michigan.  No one knew a lot about Henne early on as he wasn't expected to play as a freshman, but all Michigan fans quickly found out that he was a special player.  Henne led Michigan to a win to open the season and the starting job was his for the next four years.  He would actually lead Michigan to a Big 10 title and a Rose Bowl appearance as well, and he did it all as a freshman.

Going into his sophomore season, Henne did struggle an awful lot.  Braylon Edwards was now in the NFL, and his loss was huge as Henne's go-to receiver that could catch anything was gone.  Without Braylon, Henne took a few steps back, and Michigan's 7-5 record reflected that.  His junior year would be totally different as a new offensive coordinator was hired and Henne seemed to be more comfortable.  He was on the same page with his receivers and Michigan was much better in 2006 as a whole.  That season would result in an 11-2 record for the Wolverines, and Henne almost led Michigan back to beat OhioState to be 12-0, which would have sent them to the national title game.  His great performance in that game wasn't enough, though, and U-M would instead end up back in the Rose Bowl.

Henne's senior season was a rollercoaster ride.  It started off with Michigan losing to Appalachian State, and then a week later Oregon destroyed the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.  To make matters worse, Henne was knocked out of the Oregon game at halftime with a leg injury, and he wouldn't return until three weeks later.  The way Henne did return to the starting lineup showed off his toughness.  Plans called for him to start one series at the beginning of each half just to take baby steps in his recovery process.  Michigan figured it could afford to sit him as their opponent was only Northwestern, but as it turned out, the Wildcats put up a fight.  With Northwestern actually making it a game, Henne had to play the entire second half and led Michigan to victory, which isn't the last time something like this would happen.

Sean's thoughts continue below...

Three weeks later, Michigan was back on the road against Illinois, and Henne's season would take another devastating turn.  He got absolutely rocked on a sack and appeared to dislocate his shoulder.  After a trip to the locker room, Henne returned from the injury to finish the first half, but would then sit out the third quarter as it was obvious he was in pain.  With the game on the line, though, once again Henne came in with an injury to lead Michigan to another win.  How he managed to play with such a severe injury is beyond me, but it speaks volumes about his toughness.

That toughness would be shown off again the rest of the season as Henne was knocked out of the MichiganState game for a play, but came back in to lead a Michigan comeback that ended in yet another victory made possible by his heroics.  He made one of the greatest throws I've ever seen in that game as he had to get rid of the ball a second before he wanted to thanks to a great pass rush.  Because of that, he threw the ball down the field in a rushed fashion, but somehow got it in the back corner of the endzone where only a Michigan receiver could get to it.

Henne would continue to face injury problems the last two weeks of the season as a botched Cortisone shot made his arm numb before the Wisconsin game (not allowing him to play), and then he was just absolutely beaten down in the Ohio State game.  Finally, though, after over a month of rest, Henne was finally 100% healthy against Florida in the Capital One Bowl.  Also working to his advantage was that the coaches finally decided to open up the offense, which should have been done before his final game at Michigan as his abilities really were restricted sometimes throughout his career.  With both of those things working in his favor, Henne had the game of his life and won MVP honors as Michigan upset Florida.  That was the perfect way to cap off his career as a Wolverine.

Dolphins fans, what you will get with Chad Henne is someone that is tough both mentally and physically, has four years of starting experience at Michigan, and has the mechanics that can make him very successful in the NFL.  There will always be the occasional time where a throw will go nowhere near the receiver as Michigan fans saw many times during his career, but if he can work on getting touch on his passes, then that should happen far less often.  Also, his mobility isn't great and his pocket presence is not always pretty to watch, but the latter is something that can be corrected.  Personally, although I am biased, to me Henne is twice the quarterback that John Beck will ever be, and he is a steal to get in the second-round as late as Miami did.

We thank Sean for taking the time out to do this.

As always, share your thoughts below...

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