The Miami Dolphins managed to beat the Tennessee Titans despite the fact that Courtland Finnegan told Brandon Marshall what plays were going to be run before they ran them. The Dolphins have struggled all season long and to this day, the Dan Henning – Chad Henne debate rages forward. Now, a day after the Dolphins are officially knocked out of the playoff chase, word comes from yet another defender that they knew how to stop Miami’s poorly executed offense.
Veteran cornerback Drayton Florence said after the game that they knew how the Dolphins would approach the game offensively and that the lack of trust in Henne was evident. When asked if Henne was the problem in regards to his “checkdowns”, Florence said, “Nah, he’ s a good quarterback, But if he doesn’t have that trust … ”
And so it begins again.
It’s been an argument all year by Henne supporters and actually by some of those who don’t like Henne. The offensive play calling has no trust in Chad Henne. That could be Chad’s fault or Dan Henning and Tony Sparano’s.
Florence went on to talk about the game and how they kept the Dolphins offense at bay.
“Pass coverage isn’t just [against] him throwing the ball,” he said. “They’ve got to protect. Teams can’t beat you if they don’t get deep balls over the top,” Florence said. “We knew Bess was going to b the short, intermediate guy. They brought Kevin Curtis in. He was going to be the deep guy along with [Brandon] Marshall. We pretty much stayed on top of those two guys and let Bess do his thing underneath and just made the tackles on him.”
In other words, they knew the Dolphins conservative style of play and lack of trust in Henne would allow them to play their defense instead of playing to beat the Miami offense. While speaking of the game, Florence brought up the flea flicker.
“Even on the flea flicker [Henne] didn’t go deep, So I said, ‘OK, this is going to be that type of game.’ He ran an out (Brandon Marshall),” Florence said, shaking his head. “Usually, when teams run a flea flicker, they’re going deep. But he ran an out. So I’m like, ‘OK, I guess they respect my speed.’ I don’t understand that. I don’t know. I guess they don’t trust Henne’s arm or something.”
Henne has a strong arm, he can get the ball downfield, evidenced by his 4 yards too long deep ball to Kevin Curtis. Ironically, they never tried it again. Similarly they ran a beautiful TE screen later in the game to Anthony Fasano, yet did not try that again either.
In regards to the pressure that the Bills were getting on Henne, Florence had a comment about that as well.
“I think injuries to the O-line have been a big part of this, he was getting hit from the blindside last week against the Jets. The head coach is an offensive line guy. So he’s going to protect him and use two-man routes if they go deep, which they did early with Curtis. They maxed it up. Any good quarterback is going to look at the line if you get pressure around him,” Florence said. “Even Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, if you got guys around their feet, they’ve got to concentrate on that, then get back downfield and that’s tough to do.”
“He’s playing on an injury,” Florence said. “As a quarterback, he doesn’t want to get hit on that knee.”
When your offense is so blatantly bad that opposing defenses can make you play to their strengths then there is serious issues. The lack of creativity only serves to showcase all of Henne’s weaknesses. Whether Henne is a short term, long term, or at the end of his term solution to this team we may never know. At least as long as this team continues to coach the way they do.