The Blame Game: Chad Henne

Chad Henne must have a solid game in order for the Dolphins to win on Sunday

Over the next two days I will examine the major players in this mess we call the Miami Dolphins.  Take an in depth look at who is to blame for the play on the field and the decisions off of it.  I will look at why the Dolphins are 1-7 at home and not only out of the playoffs but looking at major changes over the next couple of months.  Including the possibility of finding a new head coach and maybe a new GM.

I will defend those that I think deserve defending and I will clearly explain my point as to why the either A:  Deserve a pass or B: deserve to be fired.

On the agenda, Chad Henne, Dan Henning, Stephen Ross, Wayne Huizenga, Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano.

I will start with the much maligned and almost universally despised QB Chad Henne.  Why?  Because every debate seems to start with the QB.

So let’s blame Chad Henne!

Yesterdays meltdown in Miami started with the change from an attacking offense to the conservative offense that has plagued the Dolphins all of last season and all of this one.  Get into the redzone by allowing your young QB to throw the ball with well designed plays and then play for a field goal.  I defend Chad Henne, have all year, and I will irritate quite a few people by saying that his two late game interceptions were not his fault.  Say what you want but Mickey Shuler stopped his route and Davone Bess fell down.  Take the hate glasses off and look at reality.

That aside, the lack of emotion and leadership in Henne is hard to pass up.  His blase’  attitude towards directing the offense is horrid.  It’s as if he doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.  There is a serious lack of fight and fire in his play.  He also lacks a killer instinct.  A “flight or fight” response that all people go into when against a wall.  His inability to “feel” pressure is getting in the way of any progressions that he may be trying to make.

His footwork is horrendous and he often drops his shoulder while throwing which is one reason he has balls tipped.  The other reason is his inability to throw “touch passes”.  While he has improved in that area, he will often lob a ball rather than throw it.  Those are easy to defend and I have found that he often confuses touch passes with slow moving passes.  In other words, he floats the ball.

His inability to read the defenses and coverages is a major debate issue.  It’s a definite problem but is it all his fault or is it the coaching?

Henne has been coached down in my opinion and this is one of if not the main reason I still support him as a QB.  Ricky Williams spoke on WQAM at one point this season and said that Henne was not allowed to audible at the line.  That is a major problem for any QB.  Tony Sparano has said that they are bringing him along slowly so he doesn’t fail, but in the process he is failing.  Dan Henning has said that Henne has problems running this offense and has also stated that Chad Pennington was who this offense was built around.  So to that degree, how do you blame a QB who is playing with shackles on his feet?  Being told to go out and not make mistakes but then as the game comes crashing down, to go out and win it?  It’s difficult.

That does not absolve Henne from blame.   His lack of enthusiasm, regardless of whether it’s been beaten out of him by the coaches is hard to overlook.  You can’t rally around a guy who looks as though there are 40 million other things he would rather be doing.  Especially when you watch younger QB’s and back-ups around the league having fun while they lose.  Chad Henne doesn’t look like he is having fun at all.  And that is a major problem.

But it’s not all Henne and a lot of what we see on the field is a result of coaching.  It’s very likely that Henne will be here next year, and in my opinion he should be.  He should be pushed and challenged by not only a new offensive coordinator, but by a new offensive style and a younger, hungrier QB.  In all honesty, he should also be pushed by another more seasoned veteran.

Chad Henne may fail as an NFL QB and all indications thus far point to him being a journeyman back-up for then next five years before he is out of the game.  But he has talent and at times he looks like he knows what he is doing.  Ironically it’s those time of the game that the offense opens up.  I don’t know if Henne is lost on the field because he just isn’t cut for the NFL or if his lack of enthusiasm is because of the chains around his legs and the leash around his neck.

What is for certain is that barring a complete overhaul of the offensive coaching and the system and perhaps the HC as well, Chad Henne will never be anything more than a failed NFL QB.  Regardless of whether he ever “gets it” or not, right now, I’m not so sure he gets it and my support of him as the QB will be predicated on what he does in a new system, provided there is one.

Next up:  Stephen Ross

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Tags: Bill Parcells Chad Henne Dan Henning Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross Tony Sparano

  • The Florida Gridiron

    Great article. Henne is not the only problem the Dolphins have and I think his coaches have done by him poorly. That said, I think Miami would be wise to at least get a second option at QB in the offseason.

  • dodgeguy

    totally agree with you about henne,he;s not havin’ fun and ain;t audibled all year.that alone should say alot of far as what looks like his lacksadasical expressions after picks and such,i firmly believe it’s also don’t get to that level by not being a competitor.i never saw him at michigan,but your very smart if you go there,so again coaching,because they must tell him don;t worry if you make a mistake……but you should care and if i were him i would run my own game plan and change plays and get aggressive if it’s in him.if i’m goin’ down it’ll be on my terms.i can live with mistakes as long as they’re learned from.i don’t see him learning,but i still think it’s coachin and a healthy o-line and run pass of more than 3 qtr pass most times i don’t get.when they bring in a backup in this league they always help him by goin’conservative and puttin’ him in better situations for success.i don’t see that here….coachin!!! i could go on.

  • CanesNFins

    I am sorry to say that I DO find Chad to blame for a lot of the meltdown in the games. It is hard to argue with the fact that he has the second highest Interception/Touchdown ratio amongst starting QB’s. You cant look at yesterdays game in isolation and you are just being an apologist if you can excuse the fact that he has more INT’s than TD’s. For a starting QB thats just not acceptable.

    Chad has a tendency to force the pass. He isnt mobile and as such, as soon as the rush is on he is either getting sacked or he is going to end up making a bad decision. Once the opposing team knows this, and without an AMAZING O line..well the rest is easy to figure out.

    It is simple to fix..either you recruit the BEST O line in the NFL to protect a weak QB or you recruit a better QB. Miami has to determine which is the easier option.

    There is a positive. WHEN Chad does get in the grove he is really quite good. Unfortunately he has not managed to put together a single game in which he has stayed in the groove for 60 minutes.

    My take… he gets one more year with a good QB in reserve. That way, if he works out his problems and becomes more confident..GREAT…if he doesnt.. we have a second option for 2012.

  • Rocktosr

    The problem I have with Henne is his lack of accuracy. What he does well makes him a good backup QB. Not your starter. We are once again wasting a good defense with a QB that is Fiedleresque. His lack of accuracy does not let him challenge the defense down the field. His deep throws have shown that time and time again. Good QB’s can fit the ball into small openings to make big plays. How can we blame the OC for not turning our QB loose when our QB consistently misses or is not even close on the opportunities that are presented to him. I am not saying that Thigpen is the answer at QB but, he has fit the ball in tighter spots to make plays downfield more times this year than Henne has. Against Buffalo, Fitzpatrick threw a ball over the head of a LB who’s back was turned into a small window that only his receiver could catch. When have we ever seen Henne be able to throw such a pass.

    • Klenton66

      Completely agree! there are many throws that we see other QBs routinely make, Henne doesn’t make those throws, too many balls hit the ground or the stands. When Thigpen HAS gotten into the game, preseason or otherwise, the ball at least gets downfield, at least he makes the attempt. Why not let THigpen start the last game, I think he deserves it, and the fans deserve at leastt a little chance of hope for the future, because most don’t see it in Henne. THere are several options on each play, Henne chooses the checkdown, nobody twists his arm. If someone doesn’t have confidence in themselves, it’s hard for me to be confident in them

  • morgenholz79

    There’s so much blame to point at several people right now. I agree that Henne hasn’t been put into a position to succeed, and once he has an O coordinator who will trust him, he should do much better, not great, but better. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, though. I’m convinced that Ross is a Jets fan in disguise and is purposely running this team into the ground. How else do you explain that he was convinced they would be a Super Bowl team and yet they only won one home game? If I lived in South FL I would defintely be a season ticket holder and I would be demanding a refund for such a horrible showing for their home games.

  • Jeff in Tennessee

    Brian, I agree with your thoughts. I think Henne needs more time as a backup right now, to learn-my thoughts on this. I think Miami needs a QB like Michael Vick, despite his background and Henne could watch and learn. The question with that is how long is Henne a backup. Not many wanted to take a chance on Vick. Look at him now. A team has to take chances on players, just not overpay them and let them go without rules. I blame the Coaching Staff, pure and simple. It sounds to me that the players may not like the system. I know you have not written about the coaches yet, but I place blame on Sparano, Henning and anyone else who is not interested in listening and winning. In order to win, you have to overcome the failures and negatives. This team is not doing that. That is why I think Bill Cowher is the answer here. Possibly a new GM in place as well. In hiring Cowher, if he took the job, I would also want to talk to him about the defensive coach staying and get his thoughts. I know nothing about play calling, etc. All I know is how to take pictures with my Canon 7D camera of high school football and publish them in Newspapers. I am slowly learning the plays. I think Henne needs to be kept and developed. That is why I think a Coach like Bill Cowher can come in and assess what he has to work with. You might even have Ricky Williams, etc. want to stick around if they still have football left in them. I have not watched the last 5 or so games, so my comments are based on what I have seen prior to that and am hearing.

  • Antonio

    this offense struggling to put up points is 90% hennes fault and 10% hennings. Because even if it is poor playcalling, henne still has options. If they run a play where Devon Bess is the primary receiver doing a quick hitch out of the slot, its HENNES job to evaluate the field, determine what the defense is doing, adjust and then EXECUTE! If bess isn’t open on that hitch, henne panicks. He does not look at his options down field. He mis-throws, over throws and underthrows wide open targets on a REGULAR BASIS…. He has had way more than enough time and chances to show proper development and understanding of what a QB is expected to do and he has fallen short every time. We can’t take another gamble next year, we have to bench him and take a shot with someone else

  • drgonzo66

    from what ive seen of Mr henne he’s a company man, does what he’s told, tows the line. maybe if we get an OC who takes the breaks off him, or if Sparano goes for broke and does the same, he could turn out to be a half decent QB. maybe not franchise, but possibly good enough. is it not worth another year to see if the gamble pays off? or should we cut and run and try out yet another QB? something the dolphins obviously stink at ever since the big man #13 left. yes henne has somewhat of a poor touch, but he’s got a rocket of an arm and he throws lazers like the best of them, maybe if we play to his strengths instead of his weaknesses we might be laughing. the offense is still run like pennington is under centre, and henne is the antitheses of chad senior. gutting to miss out on the post season again, but knee jerk reactions only get you sweet f.a. till next year..

  • medman

    Totally moronic article. You point out in detail most of Henne’s flaws as a QB, some of which are not correctable and yet your conclusion is that he is still your QB? Are you sane? Henne is an anchor wearing a helmet and pads and will be the cause of this coaching staffs sacking. Henne is clearly not an NFL caliber starting QB and hoping/wishing he turns into one is delusional.