The Miami Dolphins may need to start thinking about the other Chad to lead their team. Now hear me out, I’m not talking about replacing Chad Pennington because he threw an interception on Sunday that was taken back for a touchdown. I’m not talking about replacing Pennington because he is playing poorly. In fact, Pennington is playing pretty good football right now, and that is part of the problem.
Chad Henne is the future of this team and I won’t bore you one minute saying that the Phins should put him in to see what he has to offer or any of the other …”Blah blah blah” comments about the situation. Instead, I offer a real concern. Long game.
The Miami Dolphins offense is going as far as the Wildcat will take them. Yet when the WC isn’t in play, you can count how many defenders are within 10 to 15 yards of the LOS. For those of you not keeping track at home, that number is 11. As in the entire defense.
Chad Pennington is playing very smooth football right now. He is leaning heavily on his TE’s and Greg Camarillo but the problem is that defenses are figuring out what we as fans already know, Chad Pennington can’t throw the deep ball, and that is allowing opposing teams the benefit of not playing that time of scheme.
A serious case for Henne can be made here. He has the arm strength that Pennington doesn’t but he lacks the experience and the game management that CP has. Therein lies the problem. Do you sacrifice an offensive unit that moves the ball with some success for an opportunity to stretch the field? Or do you stretch the field and lose the veteran leadership?
Most may think that the Dolphins have nothing to lose. At 2-4 the chance of a playoff birth is slim if none at all. The Phins would have to start putting up games like they did against New England and San Diego if they want that to happen and it would obviously start this week against the visiting Buffalo Bills.
The Wildcat is not a surprise anymore and it’s no gimmick either. It’s here to stay. With that comes the issue of the Dolphins offensive game planning. Right now the Phins are at the mercy of what the opposing defense can do to stop the WC and still be able to shut down the base defense which for now is operating smoothly but short yardage. Miami runs a high-percentage safe offense. Short curls, quick outside hits, and slants. When the TE’s are involved the game goes slightly more vertical but the fact that Ted Ginn, yes you knew I would mention him at some point, can not get off the line consistently to beat a corner means the safeties never play too far down field.
While Ginn is definitely part of the problem, reality is that Chad Pennington isn’t likely to throw the ball 30 to 40 yards up-field anyways to hit him either way…without the ball floating long enough for a defender to recover. You need a strong arm that can lead the WR in stride and that strong arm is on the bench.
It is hard to argue replacing CP right now. With his management of the game the Dolphins would lose more than they would gain in Henne, but at some point the Dolphins may look to Henne to rescue the offense from a more short yardage team and try and stretch the field.
Of course, that is easy to sit here and stress, it’s entirely different when you wonder who exactly would be able to streak down the field and get open for Henne to hit. It’s the proverbial “Catch-22″ and the Dolphins are right in the middle of it.