Offensive Review…..QB

If the Miami Dolphins have any hopes of improving one of the worst offenses in the NFL, improving the production from the QB position is a must.  Miami has been looking for a franchise QB for over a decade now, and after this past season it seems that search will continue.  The lack of success from the offense can be pointed to more than just the play of the QB.  The offensive line took a step back, the running backs lacked explosiveness as did the receivers, and we can all point to the horrible play calling from former OC Dan Henning, although he claims execution of those plays is why they didn’t work.  

No matter where the blame is pointed, the offense was bad, and if Tony Sparano has any hope of coaching through the next 3 years, he has to find a way to improve it.  The improvement process starts with who gets hired to be the new offensive coordinator.  Miami is looking for someone to bring in an explosive, high scoring offense.  No matter who that person is, the play from the QB next year is what will determine if that hire is successful or not.  Maybe the answer is already on the roster, maybe it’s not, but look for the Miami Dolphins to address the QB position this offseason, whether it be through the draft, free agency, or both.  They cannot move into next season without doing something.

All 3 quarterbacks the Dolphins had on their roster to begin the season started at least one game in 2010.  While it would be completely unfair to grade Chad Pennington on his performance due to the fact he was injured on the first snap he took, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that I think his time has passed.  His shoulder has been seriously injured 3 times now, and he just doesn’t have the arm strength anymore to be able to stretch a defense.  I love Pennington as a person, and I think if he gets the opportunity to coach in this league he will be successful.  But it’s time for the Miami Dolphins to let him go as a player. 

Tyler Thigpen also got a start, and came off the bench a couple times this year.  The Thigpen situation is an interesting one.  In games where he came off the bench over the past couple years, he played pretty good.  He is mobile, has a strong arm, and isn’t afraid to take some chances.  He throws the ball up and gives his receivers a chance to make plays, something Brandon Marshall loves about him.  But when he got the opportunity to start, he didn’t look so hot.  In his defense, the entire team didn’t look too hot when they were shut out by the Chicago Bears in his lone start this season.  He was on the run the whole night, and really didn’t seem to have an answer for what the Bears defense threw at him.  He seems to look better when he comes off the bench.  He led Miami to a couple scoring drives against the Tennessee Titans, and helped Miami avoid a second shutout by tossing a TD against the New England Patriots in the final game of the season.  As much as I like the potential Thigpen has, I don’t see him being the long term answer for the Dolphins.  He could become a free agent once a new CBA gets done, and I don’t think Miami will try to hold on to him. 

Chad Henne entered this season with great expectations.  He started most of the 2009 season after the injury to Pennington, and showed flashes of becoming the answer to the QB search the Dolphins have been on since Dan Marino retired.  In a year when Henne was supposed to progress, he clearly regressed.  He played timid, didn’t take chances, tried to ‘manage’ games instead of win games.  He lost the confidence of his head coach, his offensive coordinator, and some of the players.  He played like a robot, checking down to his backs if his first read wasn’t open.  Worst of all he was at his worst in the 4th quarter of games, especially when Miami was playing from behind.  Henne clearly lacks the ‘it’ factor which all good QB’s in this league have.  To be fair, Henne is still young and is playing the most difficult position to play in professional sports.  It’s just so hard to see him struggle and see others from his draft class like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have success and lead their teams to the playoffs, you can’t help but think that he is not the long term answer for the Miami Dolphins. 

I’m pretty sure Henne will return to Miami next year, but he is going to have competition.  I think Miami will bring in a veteran as well as draft a QB in the upcomming draft.  I think the team has too many needs to use a first round pick on a QB, but you never know what they will do or who will be available when they do pick.  Some veteran QB’s are likely to be available like Donovan McNabb and Vince Young.  I don’t think McNabb will be a good fit for Miami but I do think VY would be.  He does come with a lot of baggage, he’s emotionally unstable and may be that way his whole career.  But you never know what a change of scenery can do for a person.  His potential is clearly there.  He’s big, he can run, and he isn’t afraid to throw the ball deep and let his receivers make plays.  Kenny Britt was having a great year until he pulled his hamstring and a great deal of credit goes to VY for giving him a chance to make plays. 

If Miami does draft a QB it will likely be in the mid to late rounds.  Unless Miami trades up in the first round, the top QB’s like Gabbert, Newton, Mallett, and Locker will surely be gone by the time they pick, so who will it be?  I had no clue who they should take a chance on until this past weekend.  Listening to ESPN radio I had a chance to hear Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy talk about the Auburn Tigers.  This guy sounded like a seasoned coach in the NFL.  He broke down things about the Auburn defense and ways the Oregon offense should be able to take advantage of it.  I was really impressed.  He is a winner too.  He won a state championship as a high schooler in Texas, as well as a National Championship at Alabama.  I think he is someone that could go under the radar in the upcoming draft and could be there in the middle rounds for Miami to take a chance on him which I hope they do.

Bringing in a veteran QB and taking a shot on a QB in the upcomming draft will surely put the pressure on Henne next season, and hopefully elevate the production of the QB position for the Miami Dolphins next season.  

Phins Up!


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  • dougkelly

    How can you so sure there will be no QB at 15? I guarantee you there will be a QB that will drop below the 15th pick. I agree they need to get a veteran QB, but I differ on the draft. Use the 1st pick on a QB also. You cannot have too many good QB’s! Because if you have more than 1 starter then you get more draft picks from trades.

    • Bruce Lamb

      This regime has already used two second round draft picks in three years on QB’s, it’s highly unlikely they will also take a chance on one in the first round unless he is a can’t miss prospect, which there aren’t any available in this years draft…all of them have question marks.

    • Shields

      The Dolphins should convince Pennington to stay on as QB Coach. They should sign a veteran to come in and compete with Henne / Thigpen. A name that they could look to pick up after the 1st round is Andy Dalton out of TCU. Big/strong kid who is a winner and looked very impressive in the Rose Bowl.

  • MiamiChris

    Please…Vince Young? That’s who you think is the answer at QB for the Miami Dolphins? Yeah, let me know how that pans out for you. I’m sure after he throws a few picks, followed by his helmet into the stands, you’ll be blaming Sparano for ‘micromanaging’ or something…Fins fans make me laugh sometimes…they truly, truly do.

    • Bruce Lamb

      I didn’t say he was the long term answer, but he is someone that can come in and challenge Henne for the starting role. Do you really want to go into next season with Henne as the leading veteran QB on the roster? If not VY then who?

  • Jon from Maine

    I am one of the very few Henne supporters left and yes I am starting to question my sanity. However I find it a little bit unfair to compare him to Flacco and Ryan. Both of them went to teams that were much more established in all phases of the game. Special teams and dropped INT’s were also a big factor in losses this season. Say we went 10 and 6 or even 11 and 5, would there be such a big QB debate. Defenses said the last 6 weeks they knew what our offense would do ahead of time. That is coaching and play calling issues.

    • fins4ever1

      Jon, I too question your sanity. JK. lol lol

      Seriously, I watched Henne for the past 2 years and nothing has changed. He has not improved. You just can’t blame the teams other problems on his poor play. Henne is mechancial and emotionless like other posters have noted, and locks in on 1 guy all the time. He makes poor decisions and can be woefully innacurate.

      Worse yet, like the lead article says, when we need him to play his best and not make mistakes (4th quarter), he plays his worst. Personally, I never liked the pick. Anyone from MI. that doesn’t beat Ohio State is not a good bet. He gets one more year under a new staff and hopefully (pray for a miracle) he will improve. They may as well try and make it work, his trade value is ZERO.

    • Bruce Lamb

      Can you honestly say that the Atlanta Falcons were that much better than Miami in 2007? They picked 3rd overall that year and went with Ryan. Baltimore, Atlanta, and Miami all made the playoffs in 2008, Baltimore and Atlanta have improved since while Miami has been on the outside looking in. I’ll give you the dropped int’s by the defense this year and the ST blunders, but you have to give me the fact that Henne doesn’t lead his team to victory late in the game while Ryan and Flacco do, if Miami didn’t pick first in the draft when they all came out, there wouldn’t be a debate.

    • Randy C

      Kolb would be a good choice he will not sit around and be backup,Vy is a running back not a qb

  • Jimbo111

    Good balanced article. I agree, VY would be a good addition and a passable short term solution. Like you, I’m not sure if he will be a long term QB with us, but Henne looked so bad during this past season, VY would be a solid improvement.

  • MassanuttenRef

    NO! NOT ONLY NO, BUT HELL NO! We don’t need an inconsistent headcase like Young. And, we don’t need another Jamarcus Russell clone like Cam Newton. Both these QBs would set back the franchise for years to come because they come with a cost. It is an over reaction to the robot we have now. We need to quit this talk.

    You are right that McElroy would make an interesting pick. I personally like Andy Dalton of TCU. He is 6’3″ and 220 lbs. He is both intelligent and very humble — did you hear him talk after the Rose Bowl. He runs well and throws the deep out route like pro (take a Rose Bowl) despite not having the “big arm”. He has very good pocket presence and does not lock onto receivers. On the season which was undefeated, he had a 66.1% completion rate with NINE yards per attempt and 27 TDs, but only 6 INTs. He lead TCU up against the “hottest” teams in the NCAA to a victory in the Rose Bowl. In that big game, he was 15-23 for 219 yards with 1 TD an NO INTs plus he ran for another TD — if we only could have had that this year in a big game. He is a four year starter, captain, and completed his education — plus he is a proven winner with 36 wins and only 3 losses over the last three years. We could probably get him in the 4th or 5th round.

  • Andre W

    I understand what you’re saying to a point. But look at who’ve they used those 2nd rd picks on. Neither Henne nor Beck were highly regarded in their respective drafts. Both were projected mid rd picks. I wouldnt blame the use of the picks. I blame the judgement of the coaching staff for those blunders.

    • Bruce Lamb

      I forgot all about Beck, I was talking about Henne and the great Pat White! So that makes it 3 2nd round picks on QB’s in the past 4 drafts!!

  • Ben

    I think Flynn from the packers will be a free agent and Miami should at least give him some consideration.

  • Bert Smith

    I agree – pick up Flynn from the Packers and roll! He’s already demonstrated leadership and passing accuracy and poise coming in after injury to Aaron Rodgers.

    He would not be too expensive and we could bring in a better QB Coach than David Lee and afford to cut Chad Pennington and use the $$ from that contract. Do it, do it, do it!

  • dodgeguy

    we’ve already mortgaged to much of our future.we need draft picks to start piling up.when belechick turned down the jets job,he wasn’t dissin’ parcells he was lookin’ at the draft picks parcells had lined up at n.e.previously…PERIOD! that’s why they’re in great shape and bellyache…ha-ha can get rid of guys in they’re prime while they still have all he has to do is keep rotatin’ fresh young guys in and you don’t see the ones that failed,’cause someone else is always steppin’ in and on and on and on…

  • imawriterrobj

    Brian, I like the idea of McElroy, especially in the later rounds. However, if he shows up good at the combine, we don’t have a 2nd, as you know.
    Where we differ, however is that the old “how too many needs so a 1st round QB won’t be possible” axiom.
    Someone pointed how how many teams in the playoffs other then the Pats and Seahawks had 1st round QB’s..Brees was a high 2nd, i believe.
    Still, finding a Brady in the 6th round again is really pushing your luck.
    How many games that we lost would we have WON with a Drew Brees, or a Joe Flaco?
    I can figure at least e, if not 4….Cleveland, Detroit, 2nd Bills game for sure.

    BTW, why not have Chad Pennington as our QB coach/3 team QB?
    Best of both worlds for him, a great teammate and QB mind for our QB’s…maybe even Henne.
    I’ll wager, if Chad P wants to, he’ll end up an OC in 3-5 years.

  • sppf121

    I did like Pennington, but he may be some of the reason for Henne being captian check down.