Quarterback the biggest issue for Miami Dolphins

This sign was spotted at Sunday's game in Miami.

The hottest topic in Miami the past 24 hours has been the future of head coach Tony Sparano. As we spoke about yesterday, that's for good reason. There are a number of big names available and Stephen Ross could very well decide to make a play for any of them. He has the money. He's disappointed with the direction of the team right now - as we all are. And he has the ability to make a big splash in the head coaching pond.

But that wouldn't solve all of this organization's problems. It wouldn't even solve the team's biggest problem.

That's because the team's biggest problem right now is the play they have gotten out of the quarterback position. I'm looking at you, Chad Henne.

Henne isn't dumb, though. He knows that Dolphin fans are turning on him. The "Henne Sucks!" chant on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium was just the icing on the cake. But it's just not that easy to find a solution to a quarterback problem.

The problem

I think it's obvious at this point. Henne isn't getting it done at all. You can make all the excuses you want (like how Davone Bess slipped on that pass intended for him which resulted in an interception - never mentioning how the pass was on 3rd down and was still short of the 1st down marker). All I know is what I see with my own two eyes - that Chad Henne has regressed this year.

It's not just Henne's overall play, either. It's his total self-destruction in the fourth quarters of these games. Last year, Henne led some impressive fourth quarter comebacks. But his atrocious fourth quarter against the Bills late int he season last year was a sign of things to come this year.

Take Sunday, for example. Henne was 20/27 for 199 yards and a touchdown (and no interceptions) through three quarters. Then Henne completed just 9 of 17 passes in the fourth quarter, including those two killer interceptions - one of which was ran back for the decisive pick six.

That kind of performance in the game's biggest moments has been the norm in 2010 for Henne. His 55.7 passer rating in the fourth quarter (59% completion percentage, 3 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) is among the very worst in the NFL - which is particularly frustrating considering Henne's been among the best in the third quarter (97.1 rating, 0 interceptions). But this is what Henne has become - and I no longer think he's going to grow out of it.

He's inconsistent. He's not trustworthy in key situations. And he's not the much sought-after solution to Miami's quarterback woes.

Opponents continue to call Henne predictable

Yet again this year, opposing defenders mentioned after the game that they felt like they knew exactly how to defend Henne.

"We were able to get a good key on the quarterback and just started playing aggressive and making plays," said cornerback Nathan Vasher.

And speaking about his game winning interception return for a touchdown, DeAndre Levy added, ""I saw him eying it the whole time."

How much more of this do we need to subject ourselves to?

Are there options?

That's the question every Dolphin fan is pondering right now. And truthfully, I'm not sure there are. Outside of trading up into the top five or ten in the draft, there might not be an instant impact draft pick available - meaning Henne would likely still be here in Miami next year as the starter while a rookie developed.

Are there veteran free agents out there? Yes - but I'm not sure any of them are good options. I'd prefer Henne to start (because you never know if the light bulb suddenly kicks on) rather than starting an aging, ineffective veteran like a Donovan McNabb or Carson Palmer.

Easier to replace Sparano than Henne - but don't let that fool you

That's the unfortunate bottom line here. There are head coaches available and owner Stephen Ross has the money. Unfortunately, you can't just go out and buy a new quarterback.

Sure, you can bring in Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden. But are they bringing new quarterbacks with them to Miami? Do any of the head coaches available come with a franchise quarterback?

A new big name head coach would only mask the real problem.

It's time to move past Chad Henne. I'm not saying to cut him. In fact, he might actually start next year for the Dolphins.

But it's time to find a new "potential franchise quarterback." It's that simple.

Whether it's Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano again leading the search or it's a new regime, finding that franchise quarterback is the real fix to many of the issues the Dolphins currently have.

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