FanPost

The Peezy Ramble: Connecting Success to Miami

 

Jets. Colts. The final two AFC teams.  If you were to tell me at the beginning of the year the Colts would be a final four team, I would’ve believed you.  The Jets?! Not so much.  But, even though we want to find a way to trash talk the Jets, we must face the facts—they made it, and we didn’t… (Still, we swept them!).

            But, oh yeah, this post.  Its concept is pretty simple: I take a look at some sort of statistic, and just ramble on about it until it leads to something.  So, the title literally is what I’m doing.  I’m just connecting a statistic with something else, to another thing, and possibly another. 

            We’re going to start with the AFC; mainly dealing with the question, how legitimate is this Conference and what makes a team survive in it?

 

 

2009

2008

 

2007

 

AFC East

W

L

W

L

 

W

L

Total +/-

New England Patriots

10

6

11

5

 

16

0

 

New York Jets

9

7

9

7

 

4

12

 

Miami Dolphins

7

9

11

5

 

1

15

 

Buffalo Bills

6

10

7

9

 

7

9

 

Totals

32

32

38

26

 

28

36

 

+/-

0

12

 

-8

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

W

L

W

L

T

W

L

Total +/-

Pittsburgh Steelers

9

7

12

4

 

10

6

 

Cleveland Browns

5

11

4

12

 

10

6

 

Cincinnati Bengals

10

6

4

11

1

7

9

 

Baltimore Ravens

9

7

11

5

 

5

11

 

Totals

33

31

31

32

1

32

32

 

+/-

2

-1

 

0

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

W

L

W

L

 

W

L

Total +/-

Indianapolis Colts

14

2

12

4

 

13

3

 

Houston Texans

9

7

8

8

 

8

8

 

Tennessee Titans

8

8

13

3

 

10

6

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

7

9

5

11

 

11

5

 

Totals

38

26

38

26

 

42

22

 

+/-

12

12

 

20

44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

W

L

W

L

 

W

L

Total +/-

San Diego Chargers

13

3

8

8

 

11

5

 

Denver Broncos

8

8

8

8

 

7

9

 

Oakland Raiders

5

11

5

11

 

4

12

 

Kansas City Chiefs

4

12

2

14

 

4

12

 

Totals

30

34

23

41

 

26

38

 

+/-

-4

-18

 

-12

-34

 

            If we talk about dominance over the past three seasons, then let’s talk about the AFC South and the Indianapolis Colts.  It’s obvious that Peyton Manning is THE guy.  I’d take him over any other quarterback in this league with the game on the line.  And we saw why when we nearly had the Colts beat this past season.  Manning just knows how to win—plain and simple.  The Colts have been atop a very successful division for the past three seasons.  Every team in the division can win any given Sunday.  The combined records of the teams have been all “over .500”, tallying up forty four wins above this .500 mark over the past three seasons.  That’s an extremely impressive statistic for all four teams in the AFC South.  The South, despite their streak of consistently winning football, has only put out one Super Bowl Champion over the past three years—the Colts in 2007.

            The tough AFC North, known for defense, hasn’t had had the same success as the South, but still managed to put out a Super Bowl Champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers just a year ago.  Over the past three seasons, the North is just one game over .500.  It seems that there’s always been one team that has been clearly the best, and then the Cleveland Browns cancel that record out. 

            However, for the San Diego Chargers, they can thank teams like the Browns who just can’t get the wins rolling.  In the AFC West, the Raiders and Chiefs haven’t had a six win year in the past three seasons.  Denver has been known for strong starts and weak finishes, especially this past season, but you never know what direction that team is headed with the changes Josh McDaniels has been making.  The Chargers are set, and the only team who looks okay for years to come.  The division is thirty four games under .500 since 2007.  Not exactly what you want to find, unless you’re the Chargers, who have taken advantage of a weak division.  However, they still can’t win in the playoffs, so what does it matter?

            The AFC East, the division of our beloved Miami Dolphins, has seen change over the past three seasons.  Besides Buffalo, every team has made the playoffs at least once.  Miami has seen a 1-15 season go to a 11-5 Divisional Champions team.  The Patriots have stayed consistent, but we still start to see them unravel into a “good” team besides a “great” team.  And this year, as much as we hate the Jets, we see an AFC East representative in the final four remaining teams (even though we wish it was a different team).  The fact is, although this division is only four games above the .500 mark since 2007, its becoming one of the best divisions in all of football.  The Patriots are no longer the face of the division, as the Jets and Dolphins have gone further than the New Englanders in the past two seasons.

            So what would you rather have?  A division like the Chargers, and just dominate? Or in a win-heavy division like the Colts?  I know I’m happy where we are, because the division is very equal- year in and year out.  The title is up for any team every year—especially now more than ever.  The South—where the Colts dominate, has teams who really only shoot for Wild Card spots every year.  The East and North have teams always in the playoffs, and now, starting to see new divisional leaders. 

 

            But what makes the Colts or any AFC team so successful?  The answer lies in Peyton Manning, and really Tom Brady—the two best quarterbacks of the past decade.  It’s their ability to throw the football that has brought them success.  Look at the successful AFC South.  Houston has Matt Schaub, Jacksonville has David Garrard, Tennessee has used both Kerry Collins and Vince Young, and the Colts have Manning.  Garrard is really an underrated quarterback in this league, his numbers aren’t spectacular, but they do get the job done.  Collins was a good quarterback for Tennessee last season, but Chris Johnson ran his way to eight wins this year.  And one of my favorite duo’s in the league: Schaub to Andre Johnson.  This is a throwing division—at least for the team who are always in the playoffs.  You can look at what Vince Young did to us—threw the ball to victory.  Chris Johnson wasn’t anything great that game.  He barely broke the one hundred mark.  But when all is said and done, throwing the ball is what is working best in this league (See how Philip Rivers has stayed on top the AFC West).  Tom Brady, too, as well know all too well, has put together a solid run with Randy Moss and Wes Welker as wide outs.

            So, what does all this mean for us in Miami?  It doesn’t give any definite answer, but it does give us a direction.  Sure, we love watching Ronnie Brown orchestrate the Wildcat and Ricky Williams run through the Fountain of Youth again, but how about the passing game.  It’s clear that the AFC is defined for its passing game then its defense.  The Jets have gotten to where they are from a two pronged rushing attack, but it was really a solid defensive unit that made them so successful this year.  Therefore, I say Ronnie and Ricky need to see less, and Chad Henne and crew need to see more action. 

            Most of the Dolphins fan base was in a debate between Chad Pennington and Chad Henne for the start of the 2009 season.  The debate was settled once Pennington received a season-ending injury and Henne filled in.  If Pennington stayed healthy, would we still want him to lead us into the AFC hunt?  Check out the past two years for both Henne and Pennington, and you tell me.

 

CHAD HENNE

YEAR

G

CMP

ATT

PCT

YDS

AVG

TD

LNG

INT

RAT

2008

3

7

12

58.30

67

5.60

0

19

0

74.00

2009

14

274

451

60.80

2878

6.40

12

67

14

75.20

2009  Averages.

 

19.57

32.21

 

205.57

 

0.86

 

1.00

 

 

CHAD PENNINGTON

YEAR

G

CMP

ATT

PCT

YDS

AVG

TD

LNG

INT

RAT

2008

16

321

476

67.40

3653

7.70

19

80

7

97.40

2008 Averages.

 

20

30

 

228.31

 

1.19

 

0.44

 

2009

3

51

74

68.90

413

5.60

1

21

2

76.00

2009 Avesrages.

 

17.00

24.67

 

137.67

 

0.33

 

0.67

 

 

            Statistically, Pennington had done better in nearly every category.  Let us not forget that Mr. Pennington was the MVP runner-up that 2008 season as well.  Therefore, it’d be unfair to expect the same numbers coming from a second year player like Chad Henne.  However, Henne did lead a hurt and banged up Miami team to great surprising wins, despite being handed a 0-3 start from Pennington.  Now, I’m not here to say Pennington is the better quarterback, because statistics are only a small bit of the entire picture, but, I will say the quarterback debate has ended rather evenly.  Considering Henne’s situation in the NFL as a young QB, he did impress me.  But, if I do recall, most of us wanted Henne at quarterback to open up downfield play, for Henne has a cannon for an arm.  We really thought Henne would be the answer to Ted Ginn.  Not quite.

            Henne has yet to truly show the deep threat.  However, our offensive coordinator hasn’t really adapted to the new quarterback scenario.  Miami is still a run first team and still doesn’t look to stretch out defenses secondaries.  So, really, Henne has been just like Pennington in many ways.  The major difference is that he is something we can see as the future.  He’s young, capable of the deep ball (which we’ll use whenever we wake up on offense and see the great QB we have and trend of the NFL), and fits the mold for what any successful team is looking for in this league.

           

            So, what makes a team survive in the AFC?  It starts with what as worked in the recent past and what looks to work in the future.  The future is through the air.  If we want the future of the AFC and specifically AFC East to be Miami, then the Dolphins’ future must be Henne.  Let Henne continue to break out of the Pennington-like passing attack of consistent dishes for 5-7 yards at a time and let Henne control the offense at his own tempo.  We can look into the successful AFC quarterbacks (and teams for that reason) like Indy’s Manning and San Diego’s Rivers and see that they have the guts to make a tough pass up the middle for big gains.  Rivers, especially, is what we want out of Henne.  Once upon a time, the Chargers were LT.  He was the best running back in the league for consecutive years.  However, even the Chargers identified the league trend and went to a heavy passing offense.  LT, who isn’t getting any younger, has become a has-been of the San Diego offense.  And it’s true.  Rivers lead the Chargers to the playoffs—not LT.  An even better example is in the NFC, and what Brett Favre has done with the Vikings.  He’s made the Minnesota offense pass-first, despite having one of the best running backs in the league with Adrian Peterson.  And look where they are—a final four team. 

            The Miami Dolphins need to let Chad Henne develop into a Philip Rivers and let Ronnie Brown become LT.  But, like any successful quarterback, Henne will need a true #1 wide receiver to get into Miami.  Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are exciting to look forward to, but I’m not settling for them.  We need a downfield threat to exploit Henne’s attributes as a quarterback, so Henne will then become not only a shadow of Pennington but a new quarterback to take the league by storm.  EDIT: Get us Boldin or Marshall.

            The future is Henne; let’s give him what it takes to be great.

 

The Ramble: AFC→AFC East→ Miami Dolphins→ Chad vs. Chad→ Henne→ Future WR

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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