I live in the Chicago area (Northwest Indiana) and travel throughout the country for my job in sales. I get to listen to a lot of sports radio from a local perspective in a number of these cities. It is amazing to me how fans opinions differ on the same subject depending on where you are. But lately I have been hearing some interesting things about Chad Henne from NFL fans, radio hosts, and journalist who have no interest in the Miami Dolphins.
This all started for me at the beginning of September when I was in Kansas City. John Clayton of ESPN just released his QB ratings column (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview10/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=5489176) and the commentators and fans calling in were stunned that Matt Cassel was only ranked 3 spots higher than Chad Henne. The radio hosts mentioned Henne by name and stated that either Cassel should be higher on the list or Henne should be lower. Their thoughts were that Cassel was a significantly better QB and should be rated in the top half of the league. I remember them saying that if Cassel was only 3 positions better than Henne the Chiefs were in for a long season. I dismissed this because it is a local fan base thinking their QB, Cassel, is actually better than he really is. I mean don’t we Dolphin fans think that Henne is better than Cassel? Wouldn’t a Chief fan think the same thing if they were listening to a Miami radio station?
The next step was the Tuesday after the New England game. That was the day when Chris Mortensen from ESPN reported that Bill Parcells was "very disappointed" in the progress of Chad Henne. (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/10/05/tyler-thigpen-could-be-the-future-of-the-dolphins/) Later that afternoon on ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago, John Clayton was on for his weekly NFL update. Naturally the Mortensen report was brought up by the radio hosts and about Chad Henne. Clayton responded (this is paraphrased) that:
Chad Henne is Jason Campbell. The coaching staff knows his limitations and doesn’t take chances in the game plan to expose them. Henne will have good games and he will have bad games but he probably won’t be the Dolphins answer at QB. He is a QB full of promise that will never live up to it.
Now this series of statements got me thinking. Clayton is a pure journalist and usually only forms opinions that are shaped by someone else. I am sure that Clayton heard some executive of some team use the Jason Campbell analogy and he used it to make his point in Chicago. Henne has to be better than Jason Campbell, right? The stats are closer than you think.
Jason Campbell's career stats: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CampJa00.htm
Chad Henne's career stats: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HennCh01.htm
Then earlier this week (Tuesday) I was back in Kansas City (visiting the same customer that sent me there a month ago). I was listening to the afternoon show and a caller called in to complain about Cassel’s play. As the radio host pointed out, Cassel had a very good game against the Texans on Sunday with a QB rating above 120. The caller said that the Chiefs were in the same boat as the Dolphins and Titans in that they were good teams being held back by their QB.
On Wednesday I was back in Chicago and got to listen to the Boers and Bernstein show on AM 670. They interviewed a journalist from the Green Bay Press Gazette named Rob Demovsky. The interview was to talk about the press conference with Brett Favre and his league problem (actually wang problem). The interview soon went into the state of the Packers and the NFC North. Here are some quotes from Rob Demovsky about the loss to the Dolphins:
Couldn’t get any pass rush on one of the worst starting QB’s that I have ever seen in Chad Henne.
Miami actually has a good team in spite of their QB.
If they (Miami) had a QB they would be dangerous.
Here is a link to the interview: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/show/the-boers-and-bernstein-show/
Go to Boers and Bernstein Hour 2 – 10/20/10. The interview starts at about the 24 minute mark and the quotes above are at about the 26 minute mark.
I couldn’t believe that I had heard, in the span of 24 hours from 2 different cities, 2 different voices say almost the exact same thing: That Miami was being held back by their QB, Chad Henne.
I am one of those fans that think Chad Henne gives the Dolphins the best chance to win. I wanted him to start at the beginning of last year and I want him to succeed. Henne shouldn’t be benched no matter what happens this year. He is the only Dolphins starting QB that should be considered for this year.
But lately, after hearing what fan bases think outside of ours, I have been wondering if we are too close to this subject to be objective? Are we desperately trying to convince ourselves that Chad Henne is a good QB? If he was on another team, say the Seahawks, would be talking about how Chad Henne was an up and coming young QB in the league? I don’t know.