FanPost

In Defense of Chad Henne

 

I've been following the Phinsider for a few seasons now, but only signed up recently.  What prompted me was the continuous ripping of Chad Henne.  I don't understand it.  I know some of this may have been previously covered in another post; I could've checked, but I'm lazy.  Forgive me if any of this is old news.

I've seen plenty of "experts" and others claim Henne has "regressed," but the numbers don't support that claim.  According to statistics from NFL.com, Henne's performance actually improved, albeit slightly, in several categories from 2009 to 2010.  This includes his completion percentage, yards per game, and quarterback rating (for what that's worth).  His Td/Int ratio did regress slightly.  Now, this is not to say that he's an elite quarterback, or that he will ever be one.  However, considering the myriad of QBs the Dolphins have started since #13 retired, I think Henne is the guy that at least has the potential to be elite.  Don't believe me?  Consider that Henne is the only guy that made Ted Ginn look like an actual NFL wide receiver last year against the jets in the Monday nighter.  Remember that?  Nobody was complaining then.  He's the same guy, but he's still very young/raw.  I watched him this year.  There's no arguing that he made some bad decisions/poor throws.  He holds on to the ball for too long.  I also saw receivers drop way too many passes.  Henne needs coaching - perhaps the same sort of coaching Jay Cutler is finally getting in Chicago via Mike Martz.

In the meantime, I think there are more pressing issues.  The coaching staff suffered from an identity crisis all year.  Sparano & company claim they want to control the ball with a solid running game.  Meanwhile, Henne has 30 or more pass attempts in 17 of his 27 starts with the Dolphins.  That doesn't exactly sound like a team dedicated to running the football.  And if you're going to run the football, why split time between backs?  Neither of them are featured, and neither can get into a rhythm.  Plus, Ricky Williams averaged 4.2 yds/carry vice 3.7 for Ronnie Brown, yet Brown gets the majority of the carries.  I think Ricky Williams is the better back (ran for 1100+ yards last season despite staring only 7 games; Brown has never had a 1000+ yard season), yet he almost seems forgotten.  Why is that?

The coaching staff needs to decide what exactly they want from a quarterback, and action speaks louder than words here.  If they want Henne to drop back & throw 30+ times a game, design the offense around him...and maybe throw to the tight ends more than twice a game.  If they want to "punch people in the mouth," do it - and don't abandon the run after 6 attempts in favor of your third-string quarterback throwing 29 passes after having only one day to prepare ala the Thursday night game vs. Chicago!  Seriously, how hard is this?  RUN THE BALL!  A LOT!

I also think fans need some realistic expectations from a quarterback.  Here is a list of non-elite quarterbacks who have won the Super Bowl: Bob Griese (sorry, he wasn't elite), Jim Plunkett, Jim McMahon, Doug Williams, Jeff Hostettler, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, and Brad Johnson.  Are you telling me Henne can't be at least as good as some of these guys?  Really?  To scrap Henne now when the team has so many holes to fill would be counterproductive.

Then there are those fans who pine for what could have been with Drew Brees instead of Dante Culpepper.  I actually agreed with the Culpepper signing - seems like taking a chance on a quarterback recovering from a knee injury is safer than one recovering from a shredded throwing shoulder.  But why stop there?  The Dolphins could've had Brees when he first came out, but Dave Wannstedt just had to have Wisconsin cornerback Jamar Fletcher - remember him?  But then again, the Dolphins had several chances at another Michigan quarterback named "Tom Brady."  Then in 2005 the Dolphins had a chance to nab a franchise quarterback in Alex Smith, but were beaten to the punch by the 49ers, so they settled for Ronnie Brown.  Brown has been okay, but not spectacular.  Turns out the Dolphins could've had some other dude named "Aaron Rodgers," but passed on him as well.  I hear that Rodgers guy has a real future in this league.  The truth is it wouldn't have mattered if the Dolphins had drafted any of those guys because a good quarterback needs stability to succeed, and Miami hasn't had any stability in more than a decade.  Therefore, Miami has been in no position to maximize their talent - I give you Wes Welker as a perfect example.  If the Dolphins had drafted Brady, Brees, Rogers, or even Matt Ryan, chances are they would've washed out of football and selling insurance by now.

All of this brings me back to leadership & coaching.  Stephen Ross needs to stop worrying about what happens outside the stadium before the game, and worry more about what happens in the stadium during the game.  This means hiring a coaching staff with a clear vision for the offense, and a willingness to stick to it.  Once that happens, we'll have a better idea if Henne is the guy.  In the meantime, give the guy a legitimate chance to succeed.   Thanks for reading - flame away.



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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