The news that came out of Miami today never should have been much of a surprise. Chad Pennington went down with a shoulder injury that has ended his season. So the healing begins with the Dolphins sitting at 0-3 and facing the hard hitting Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the coming weeks. Not a good sign. Pennington has twice before had the same shoulder surgically repaired and last season was only his 3rd in his career that he finished start to end. So why the surprise?
With the season not a loss yet, the boo birds are flocking around Land Shark Stadium and none of the high-profile celebrities are going to rally the soldiers when the team isn’t winning. There is however reason to cheer. There is reason to be excited and his name is Chad Henne. This team, the Miami Dolphins, was just handed over to him. Can he write a story book finish that could rival Tom Brady’s entrance into the limelight or will his season take on a different, uglier tone? We are all about to find out.
Chad Henne is the guy that the Dolphins picked to take this team into the future and the reigns are now in his hands. No more hiding him as the E3 QB behind Pat White and no more cat calls from the fans who continually point out that Pennington can’t throw the long ball. The play of Chad Henne will go a long way to completing a process that started when Cam Cameron got fired. First up is the future of one Ted Ginn, Jr.
Ted Ginn has been coddled behind the mantra of Chad Pennington’s arm strength. He doesn’t have that excuse anymore. Henne can throw downfield and Ted Ginn will need to prove that he belongs in the NFL for something. Henne may miss a few times but while timing may take some, well, time, seeing Ginn open downfield and the ball sailing over his head is still a better site than watching Ginn drop 10 yard slants that hit him in the hands. The Henne to Ginn connection may never take off but at least we will know if it ever has a chance.
The Wild Cat or Wild Pat as some call it has had it’s good moments and it’s bad moments. Chad Henne isn’t going to scare a defense if he shifts to the WR spot but the fact that the team now has a QB that can throw downfield means that teams can no longer play stacked up on the line. With the Dolphins now having a legit arm to play long ball, a rushing game that is looking closer to a power style with each game, suddenly the WC may have a new life. With CP under center the team couldn’t fully integrate their offense with the WC because CP’s game was a short game that played into the quick change. Not anymore.
With teams now being forced to at least respect the long ball, the Dolphins can move from their base offense to the WC with a little more opportunity for success witht he passing aspect of the WC. There is a threat now. Pat White still has a ways to go but teams will now need to respect several options that the Dolphins may employ.
Henne may not be the next Dan Marino and he may not be the next anything. Still, his presence is something that many Dolphins fans have waited for. A young QB that the team drafted early to actually play. So long as he doesn’t turn into John Beck…he already has the pick 6. O.k. that wasn’t fair.
The Miami Dolphins are a team that is in rebuild mode despite the fact that last year they won 11 games and the division. They are still a work in progress and many pieces of the puzzle are still missing. One of those pieces, the quarterback question, gets put on the board for an answer. Time will tell and that time has finally started ticking on the game clock.
For Pennington, a class act from the day he stepped off the plane in Miami, his new job turns to supporting Henne and helping Henne when and where he can. And he will, it’s the type of person he is. While he will be missed, it’s time for the Dolphins to see their future…or lack of. For now, It’s Henne Time!