FanPost

Quick Take on the Henne Debate

At the behest of a few other Phinsider members, I created this fanpost.  I wrote a comment on BayAreafinfan's post in response about this ongoing Henne debate on this site.

First of all, this is not a post to counter, disparage, or diminish BayAreafinfan's post.  I thought he wrote an excellent post.  This was just my thoughts on the entire debate about Chad Henne.

As most of you have deduced, I am not a big fan of Chad Henne.  I do not think he is the answer at quarterback for the Dolphins franchise.  However, this post is not about my thoughts on Henne, but on the debate itself.  This debate has become very divisive on the Phinsider.  There is a problem emerging from the debate about the situation which doesn't help matters.  This post hits on that matter.  My comment was as follows:

The reason this debate is still going on is because fans don’t understand what’s going on. We need to end this once and for all. Let’s look at some facts.

1) Our 2010 offense was not good at all.
2) Our running attack was not at all effective.
3) Our offensive line was bad in run blocking.
4) Our offensive line was decent in pass protection.
5) Our running backs were not very effective.
6) Our quarterback was not effective.
7) Our offensive coordinator

These are all INDISPUTABLE FACTS!!! Anyone who denies any of these facts is an idiot as you said.

The problem with this ridiculous debate is that everyone is making this an either/or debate. It’s not. All of those factors played into our poor 2010 season. Chad Henne was NOT the SOLE reason our offense sucked. Nor he is ABSOLVED of any blame. The problem is that too many fans think that if we improve our running game and our offensive line that Henne will suddenly get better. And that’s a horrible myth. let’s look at some more indisputable facts.
1) Chad Henne struggled with his decision making.
2) Chad Henne struggled with accuracy.
3) Chad Henne struggled with ball placement on short and intermediate throws.
4) Chad Henne struggled reading defenses.
5) Chad Henne rarely takes chances and checks down entirely too much.
6) No amount of better talent around him will make THOSE ISSUES BETTER.

That’s the problem with posts like this. You try to protect Henne by saying he’s not the problem with our offense. Well, we all know that. We know we needed to improve our line and rushing attack. No one is saying we didn’t need to improve that. However, posts like this do not examine the issues that Henne actually had. They mask over it and say dumb things like “a better line will give Henne more time and he’ll be better” or “when our running game improves, Henne will be better.” My retort is simple: Explain exactly how getting Mike Pouncey will make Henne better at reading defenses? Explain exactly how improving our rushing attack will suddenly give Henne better accuracy? EVERYONE knows that our offense needs improving. And if this draft works out, then it looks like we did. But that’s just it. It made our OFFENSE better, not Chad Henne better. Improving the offense will not make Henne better at the issues listed above. Only Chad Henne can do that. And that’s where this argument comes to an impasse. EVERYONE needs to accept that Henne JUST DID NOT PLAY WELL IN 2010! It wasn’t a result of bad play calling or lack of rushing attack or an average O-line. It was a result of him just not being good enough. If you cannot accept that, then you are being blind to the truth. Henne was not a “victim” of his circumstances. He was part of the problem. That is INDISPUTABLE FACT!

If you still don’t want to admit that, then watch this video.

http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2010120501/2010/REG13/browns@dolphins#tab:watch

Scroll down to the video labeled “Haden INT” and watch what happens.

Allow me to break it down for you.

We are in an offset I-formation with the fullback on the weak side. Bess is lined up wide left and Hartline is lined up wide right. At the snap you see Cleveland come with a 5 man rush with the OLB rush on the left side and an ILB blitz up the middle. Henne and Williams attempt a very weak play action. Fasano chip blocks the OLB and runs out into the left flat. The fullback runs a stop route in the middle, and Williams runs a pattern into the right flat. You can’t see Bess’s route, but it doesn’t really matter since we don’t throw that way. Around the 3 second mark, you can see Hartline at the top of the screen setting up rookie Haden for a double move. Haden obviously bit, because you can see as the video progresses that Hartline was well behind Haden. Our offensive line does a great job of picking up the 5 man rush. Fasano chip blocked, but the linemen went 5 on 5 and won. No max protect and no back protecting. O-line won the battle. We had Bess and Hartline as outside targets and Fasano, Polite, and Williams as secondary check down options. Henne actually looks off the safety and sets Hartline up perfectly. Henne steps up into a clean pocket and throws.

At the point of the release we can deduce three things.
1) It was a WELL designed play call. We had a play called that exploited the Cleveland defense. The play was obviously a set up for the Hartline double move in case Haden bit (he did) or to give Henne several options in the middle and flats where the Cleveland defense was not. (Imagine that play with Gates’ speed!!!)
2) Our O-line protected the QB very well. Henne had a clean pocket. He didn’t need a lot of time because the play design didn’t call for it.
3) Nothing about that play would indicate any of our weaknesses on an offense.

The result was simply a poorly thrown ball by Chad Henne. He underthrew a wide open receiver that would have scored based on the amount of separation the double move created.

My point with that video is not to pick on Henne, but to show that adding a better rushing attack or improving the O-line will not help Henne in a case like that. The play that was called WORKED! We had options, protection, and a chance to score and Henne couldn’t pull it off.

So I understand your post. You have great stats and present a great point. But we CANNOT leave Henne out of the equation. He was as much the problem as Joe Berger. Unless he improves in 2011, then we will still see plays like the one in the video. We’ll have a better running back in the flat, a better guard/center protecting, and a faster receiver streaking down the sideline. But it won’t matter if Henne can’t make the throw. Until he improves the things that only HE can improve, then our offense will still struggle.

That was my comment.

To reiterate, there were multiple causes for why our offense was bad in 2010.  It wasn't all Henne's fault, but he was also part of the problem.  It appears that we improved part of our offense with this draft.  However, we still need to improve our quarterback play.  This could mean improvement from Henne or bringing in a veteran.  Over the weekend, Omar Kelly tweeted that the fact we didn't draft a quarterback means nothing.  It appears that Ireland and company are going to either trade for a veteran like Carson Palmer or sign one like Vince Young or Matt Hasselbeck.  They recognize that we need improvement in our quarterback play.

My final take on it is that while the quarterback usually shoulders the blame for a bad offense, Chad Henne cannot be blamed for all of our offensive woes.  But at the same time, his play cannot be ignored or swept under the rug by making excuses for him.  He didn't play well and that held us back as much as our weak rushing attack.  We must all hope that whoever is the quarterback in 2011, either Henne or someone else, will have improved the play of that position better than that of 2010; just like we hope all of the other aspects of the offense will have improved as well.

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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