So today is Coordinator Thursday in Miami where the local media get access to the OC and DC for some Q & A. Today, Dan Henning didn’t spend much time apparently defending his poor play calling but instead decided to milk the Chad Henne jug. I’m sure that many fans can read into the quotes the way they want and it would be justifiable to put your own spin on the comments depending on what side of the fence you stand on.
I try to take a more middle of the road approach which is difficult because I do like Chad Henne and want him to experience the NFL from someone other than Dan Henning. So if this entire article appears to be more sympathetic to the three year QB rather than the supposed offensive genius, then complain to me in the comments, but you have been warned.
Let’s throw out the quotes first, provided by Mike Berardino of the Sun-Sentinel.
“We can’t continue to exist with as little a passing game as we had last week, We have to do better than that.”
I agree with Henning here. We can’t win in this league on a weekly consistent basis without a passing game that can generate more than a 100 yards. We generated 55. There is no missing the fact that on Sunday, Chad Henne had his worst statistical game as a pro. Regardless of the quality of defense he faced or the conditions in the stadium both in nature and in the fan atmosphere. Henne looked lost at times and his decisions were not very good. Holding on to the ball too long didn’t help either.
“We work on the protections,” Henning said. “We had a gaffe in the protection where [Henne] got hit. Really, that was his fault and he knows it. He’s got to set the protection the other way.”
Mike Berardino says this was in regards to a 2nd quarter play that resulted in the fumble after one of Henne’s 5 sacks. Ironically, I find that Henne is now supposedly allowed to change the protection screens, which is also called a protection audible. Which, if what Ricky Williams said was true and Henne was not allowed to call audibles, then suddenly he is allowed, it will take some time to make those adjustments. Either way, Henning is right here, if Henne was supposed to change the protections, he did a very poor job of it.
“We think we had a pretty good pass there,” Henning said. “Brandon [Marshall] won on the left side and [Henne] was about to throw it when he got hit. Well, that turns out not to only be not a big play for you but to go the other way. You know what I mean?
“And then we come out and the ball was slippery on that naked bootleg [from the Jets' 17 in the third quarter] and the ball came out of his hand and we lost it there. We had [Anthony] Fasano open on that.”
This was regarding the fumble Henne had when the ball slipped from his hands. He spoke further on this.
“We’re talking about one time since he’s been here that’s happened,” Henning said. “He spends a lot of time on it. We have certain plays that are two-hand fakes and certain ones that are one-hand fakes. That’s the first time it’s ever happened to him. You can say, ‘Well, the ball was wet,’ and all that. It’s not supposed to happen.
“If you feel like you don’t have control of the football, then you ought to use a two-hand fake even if it was called for a one-hand fake. Those are judgments that guys make that they have to live with when the results happen the way they happen. I don’t know that it hit anybody. I think it just slipped out of his hand when he went to extend it.”
Difficult to argue the point here but if this was the first time that Henne has made this mistake then I think he is doing pretty well holding on to the ball in these kind of conditions and types of plays.
“Those things would have gotten us started, so to speak,” Henning said. “You can’t allow those things to happen. Those are not only bad plays but they’re turnovers in the other direction. They go from having a possible good play to having completely the opposite. In a game as tight as it was the other day, it was critical.”
Here is where I get critical. “Would have gotten us started”. The above quote was regarding the same play being discussed about the slippery ball. That play happened in the 3rd quarter. Why did it take so long to “get started”? Is it not the job of the OC to get the offense moving up and down the field?
I will accept that it’s hard to move the ball when your QB’s day is so bad he can barely hit the broad side of a barn, but then why not change the way you run your offense? Good coaches make changes to fit the plays to their strengths and limit the plays by a player who is having an off day. We see this same thing when Ronnie Brown starts to fumble. They put in Ricky Williams.
The issue here is that yes, Henne had a bad game and the Cleveland game wasn’t all that better. But the play calling all season has been horrid. From running the Wild Cat in the Redzone and forcing the team into third and long to running the ball against top run stopping teams with poor secondaries to passing the ball against top passing teams. What is the point that you are trying to make? That you can do whatever you want and find success? Well, you haven’t thus far.
Henning can come down on Henne as much as he wants but the fact is this will do nothing for Henne’s confidence and I wonder if Sparano would openly have made those same questions. Since Sparano arrived, no player has been tossed so clearly under the bus. While Henning isn’t being overly critical and saying Henne sucks, the reality is that the perceived impression is exactly that. Which is odd coming from an OC who is talking like someone that may be trying to deflect blame off of himself.
If that were the case does it mean he is contemplating staying after seasons end? Or is he hoping to clean up the final year of his NFL legacy? Either way, it’s apparent that through his voice (Berardino said that he had frustration in his voice), he is not happy with Chad Henne. Which again brings me back to wondering if Chad Henne has ever really been given a shot to run this team or if he simply is a QB on the roster that can’t play the Dan Henning offense.
Considering how well Hennings’ offense worked with Chad Pennington, I would say that the Dolphins OC has failed their young QB instead of the other way around. But then again, I still support Chad Henne.