Over the course of the next few weeks I will be taking a look ahead to the 2010 season preview position by position. Yes, it’s a bit early and the roster has yet to even remotely shake out but the core of the players are still the same and aside from a few surprises or yet to be added players, it’s not too early to take a look. What else is there?
Today I will look at the QB’s and while it’s obvious who the starting job belongs to, it’s far from being without questions.
Chad Henne: Henne will enter his second season as the Dolphins starter after replacing Chad Pennington last season. Henne had a solid if unspectacular season last year but he played well enough to show the kind of promise that fans and the coaches were hoping for.
A consistent passer who needs to improve on his accuracy a bit, Henne will benefit from a more explosive aerial attack now that Brandon Marshall is in town. Henne only a month before the Dolphins added Marshall spoke openly about adding a big time receiver. He got his wish.
With Marshall likely to become his go to target, the rest of Henne’s WR’s should also benefit from the QB’s arm. Perhaps the best news for Henne will be the change in pressure. The Dolphins offense will face far less 8 man fronts and thus Henne less opposing pressure…but that comes with more rolled coverage as well.
All in all, Henne needs to improve his effectiveness downfield and his timing but those are things that he will have plenty of time this off-season to work on. He is setting up to be the face of the franchise for years to come.
Tyler Thigpen: The Dolphins supposedly have Thigpen listed as their number 2 QB but that doesn’t mean that the QB will be on the roster come September. Thigpen was traded for last year when Pennington went down and he played well in the finale of the season almost coming from behind to beat Pittsburgh.
Thigpen has a strong arm and quick feet and is a natural to run the WildCat if the team so chooses. However, he could be dealt due to numbers. With Pat White entering his second season and Chad Pennington with a 7 figure trade clause in his contract, the Dolphins who likely will not keep 4 QB’s seem willing to part ways with Thigpen.
If the Phins do decide to take an offer, it will likely be done during training camp when another team loses a QB to injury. Thigpen has been on the trade rumor block for about a month now.
Chad Pennington: Pennington could have gone to a lot of destinations and competed for a starting job. Instead, he opted to return to the Dolphins as a 3rd string QB. The savvy veteran leader will do more for the development of Chad Henne than any of the coaches and Henne has openly welcomed back his veteran teammate.
Pennington knows his role in Miami and is fine with it. He was also given a contract clause that would pay him 2 million dollars if he is traded. Something the Phins were reluctant to do. He will serve as the Don Strock to this team.
Pat White: Hard to imagine anything more frightening than the hit in the final weekend of the 2009 season. Sprawled out unconscious on the Pittsburgh sideline after a collision. Many believe that the NFL is not the place for White but that is something that White and the coaches will decide.
The question is this, does White have any future in Miami at all? The answer to me is no, but it’s not my place to make that decision. White failed to complete one single pass last season and when he executed the WC, he did so without any real authority. In fact, when White entered the game most fans groaned. His highlight came on one long run.
Still, what White has going for him that Thigpen doesn’t is his draft spot. The Dolphins gave up a 5th for Thigpen and should be able to recoup that pick, they gave up a 2nd for White and won’t come close to getting that kind of value.
Regardless of whether White or Thigpen are on the team come September, White stands little chance of making an impact in 2010.
Our next preview will focus on another part of the offensive unit so check back.