OAKLAND CA - NOVEMBER 28: Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins throws the ball during their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Can the Dolphins find a way to pry away Carson Palmer from Cincinnati despite owner Mike Brown's stubbornness? Can Denver be enticed to trade Kyle Orton? How pricey will Kevin Kolb be? When Tennessee releases Vince Young, will the Dolphins bite? What about free agents Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, and Donovan McNabb?
Those are the many questions that pretty much every Miami Dolphins fan has been pondering and debating since March. It feels like a lifetime since the Dolphins didn't have quarterback questions surrounding the organization. For some very young fans, it actually has been a lifetime. And as this lockout continues to drag on, all we can do is continually discuss and debate the pros and cons of each potential quarterback until a new league year begins.
However, I want to drop a little nugget of truth on you all. It's something that I think many fans have forgotten. And it's something that's very important to keep in mind once training camp does finally begin.
Unless the Dolphins trade for Palmer, Orton, or Kolb, the veteran quarterback that does end up in Miami will have to beat out incumbent Chad Henne for the starting job.
Insert laughter and/or snarky remarks now.
Is that out of your system? Good. Now hear me out.
While I'm sure many are having a nice little chuckle at the idea of a veteran needing to "beat out" Henne, the facts are that Henne wasn't that bad overall last year and no available quarterback outside of Carson Palmer and Kyle Orton (and I believe neither will be traded) is clearly that much better than Henne is right now.
The fact that Henne is doing and saying all the right things this offseason doesn't really mean much if he doesn't perform on the field. That's a fact. But the leadership he's shown by organizing these player-only workouts and attempting to install the offense that new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll plans to use is still worth noting. It displays a sense of maturity and growth in Henne. It shows that Chad is not going to lose this job without a fight. And I think that a fresh start with a new offense might just be what the doctor ordered for Henne.
No, Henne's 13-14 record as a starter and his 27:33 touchdown to interception ratio do not exactly instill confidence that Chad will be able to successfully turn around his career. But "that will change under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll," believes NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, "who will coach Henne to a breakout season and get the offense back on track."
The hiring of former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has been widely met with skepticism. But Brooks seems to believe that Daboll is exactly who Henne needs to finally realize his potential in this league. Writes Brooks:
In studying the game film, Henne is best described as a classic pocket passer with exceptional arm strength. He is capable of making all of the throws and has a tight spiral. His ball placement is on point when he passes in rhythm and he's very comfortable working off play-action. Henne is ideally suited to work in a system that features a vertical passing game.
Daboll has talked about installing a quarterback-friendly system in Miami that is built around the talent already on the roster. This system would grant Henne the freedom to make checks and adjustments at the line, while also featuring a variety of formations, shifts and personnel groupings designed to create mismatches.
With Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and Anthony Fasano as Henne's primary targets, the scheme likely will feature a host of crossers and option routes to take advantage of the receiving group's quickness. Although the vertical aspect will need to be manufactured due to the lack of a speedster on the outside, the Dolphins can use deception and play-action to create big plays.
Either Bucky isn't familiar with rookie fourth round pick Edmond Gates or just doesn't think he'll have much of an impact this season as he transitions from small school college ball to the NFL. Regardless, a lot of this information is food for thought.
I don't know if Brooks wrote this because he really believes this or because he just had to write something. I don't know how valid Bucky's information is. What I do know is that Brooks outlines what is really the best case scenario for the Miami Dolphins, both this season and long term.
Vince Young is two years older than Henne and has some obvious off-field concerns surrounding him. Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, and Donovan McNabb are all nearing the very end of their careers. Every other worthwhile quarterback would require surrendering something - likely top draft picks - in a trade to obtain the player (Carson Palmer and Kyle Orton). And some are even as unproven as Henne (Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn).
So like him or not, the fact of the matter is that the best case scenario for the Miami Dolphins is for the light bulb to come on for Chad Henne this year and perform like at least a top 15 quarterback with room for improvement - which would provide this franchise with stability both at the quarterback position and at head coach, which is something this organization has lacked for over a decade.