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Miami Dolphins: Which potential starting quarterback is the best fit for the new offense?

"What? Miami? Hell yeah. Anywhere but here."
"What? Miami? Hell yeah. Anywhere but here."

A small buzz was generated amongst Miami Dolphins fans yesterday after ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen said on The Ticket 790 AM that Carson Palmer would love to play in Miami - among other things. Unfortunately, people are taking what Mortensen said out of context a bit. So before I get to the meat of this post, allow me to clarify.

Mortensen was asked what the chances were of a few possible quarterbacks ending up in Miami. When he was asked about Carson Palmer, Mortensen simply responded, "Carson would love it. I think it's a long shot" - not exactly a ground-breaking response.

Mortensen didn't say that Palmer wants to play for the Dolphins specifically. And it wasn't said in a way to make it seem like Mortensen had inside information. He just stated the obvious, folks. Palmer wants to leave Cincinnati so bad the man is willing to retire and lose out on millions and millions of dollars. Of course he'd love it if he got traded to Miami. He'd love to get traded pretty much anywhere.

Talk of Palmer, of course, is fruitless for now anyways. Unfortunately, Bengals owner Mike Brown has said repeatedly that he will not trade Carson under any circumstances. And that man is both stupid enough and stubborn enough to follow through with that statement.

For what it's worth, which probably isn't much, Mort did give Kyle Orton a "fair" chance of ending up in Miami. The same goes for Donovan McNabb. Mortensen put Vince Young in the "fair to good" category.

So why am I even mentioning the interview Mortensen did with The Ticket? He did say something that I found interesting and it came up when McNabb was being discussed. Mortensen was asked which quarterback would be at the top of his list if he was running the Miami Dolphins. He listed Palmer first, followed by McNabb. His reason for listing McNabb second caught my attention.

"Because of the type of team they're going to have," said Mort. "I mean, they want to throw the ball down field. That's something that Donovan does wonderfully."

This got me to thinking - which of the possible quarterbacks throws the ball best down field? Without going back and watching hours of film, I decided to look at some numbers. Using figures from Stats LLC, below are the following stats for some of the quarterbacks that the Dolphins could be interested in. First is each quarterback's completion percentage and yards per attempt over the last three years. Why? Because we know Tony Sparano values completion percentage.  The second set of numbers are the player's 2010 stats on passes that traveled over 20 yards through the air.

Player '08-'10 2010 Attempts Over 20 Yds
Chad Henne 61.1%, 6.6 YPA 08/48 (16.7%), 1 TD, 3 Int
Carson Palmer 60.9%, 6.6 YPA 14/47 (29.8%), 6 TD, 4 Int
Vince Young 59.2%, 7.4 YPA 10/29 (34.5%), 3 TD, 1 Int
Donovan McNabb 60.8%, 7.3 YPA 17/56 (30.4%), 5 TD, 5 Int
Kyle Orton 59.9%, 6.9 YPA 25/63 (39.7%), 6 TD, 2 Int
Matt Hasselbeck 58.6%, 6.4 YPA 18/60 (30.0%), 3 TD, 5 Int
Marc Bulger 56.9%, 6.1 YPA DNP

You have totake this figures with a grain of salt, of course. There are a number of variables not accounted for here - things like support talent at receiver, strength of opponents, and weather. These are just raw numbers and nothing more.

If nothing else, this breakdown puts into raw data what all Dolphins fans (and head coach Tony Sparano) already know - that Chad Henne has got to get better throwing the deep ball.

So what, if anything, jumps out at you when staring at the figures above?