Last year, Chad Henne walked off the field to a chorus of boos rising from a section of fans at Sun-Life Stadium. The boos were replaced with chants of “we want Thigpen”. Henne kept his head up and ignored the cat calls and headed into the locker room.
Fast forward to last Monday night. Chad Henne takes the field at the same Sun-Life Stadium in front of over 10,000 fans in a primetime practice.
And he is booed. And he is greated with chants of “We want Orton”. And it was as classless then as it was last year.
Last year Jason Taylor entered SLS wearing “gangrene” and white. He sacked Henne, proceeded to dance, drawing a circle in the air and punching a hole through it with his fist. He was booed. He walked off the field to a chorus of them. He then threw up his hands and very visibly on TV yelled a profanity at the crowd. Monday, only an hour before practice started, JT stood and proclaimed to the media that the NY Jets fans “embraced him“. When shown on the jumbo tron at Monday’s practice after signing a one year deal to return for a 3rd time to the Dolphins. He was cheered.
The booing of Chad Henne and the subsequent chants that go along with it are more telling to the fans distaste of the franchise than the man himself. Still, as classless as it was for anyone to yell “we wan’t Orton”, the Dolphins need to take notice.
There is little that Miami can do this year. The Kyle Orton deal is all but dead even with his big salary in Denver. The Broncos are reportedly some 20 mill under the cap now so they can easily afford to keep him if those numbers are indeed correct. Furthermore, it’s Orton taking the snaps with the first team offense and Tim Tebow running the third team.
Miami passed on VY which some would say was not smart. It was also understood that Vince Young had already decided on joining Vick in Philly before he was released officially from Tennessee. Matt Hasselbeck was ready to join Tennessee immediately upon becoming a free agent. Kevin Kolb? For an unproven veteran, he signed an awfully large contract that could set back the Arizona Cardinals for years if he fails. Donovan McNabb was had for two sixth round picks and the Vikings almost didn’t get him signed because McNabb’s feelings were hurt that the Vikings didn’t have him as their first choice.
All of that unfortunately didn’t and still doesn’t leave much for fans wanting someone other than Chad Henne. And they want someone else so much so that they will not let go of the Kyle Orton trade. Which is ironic considering that Orton is a journeyman QB who was traded from Chicago to Denver and a year after joining the Broncos they wanted him gone for Tim Tebow. To me, that speaks volumes. Regardless of his history with Brandon Marshall.
For the record, not saying Orton isn’t a bad option, he is good competition for Henne but not at a long term deal worth upwards of 7 mill a season.
There really wasn’t much else in terms of finding a solution to the QB situation in Miami. This was and is a bad year for free agent QB’s or even ones VIA trade. It’s the Dolphins luck. The reality is that Matt Moore does have upside. He is an enthusiastic leader who isn’t afraid to direct with his mouth. And a good showing in training camp will change the “we want Orton” to “we want Moore”.
Matt Moore has yet to take the field for the Dolphins this year as league rules prohibit any player not under contract at the start of free agency to participate in actual practices until August 4th. Tomorrow. Already you can be assured that Matt Moore has taken in the callous nature of Miami fans and knows that one, the QB position is one he could win in camp, and two, if he doesn’t perform, the Dolphins fans will turn on him quickly.
Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano know they need to field a winner and most if not all question the ability of Chad Henne to lead this team to the playoffs. It’s still very early in camp and players have only been meeting with coaches for a week, but the memory of last year and the struggles of Chad Henne are very powerful images in peoples minds. While some, myself included, defend Henne as the product of a horrid system run by Dan Henning, the truth is that Henne may have already been ruined by the lack of faith that his coaches put in him.
Consider that two years ago, Henne took the field and the coaches said, “Do not audible”, “Do not take risks”, “Do not turn the ball over”, “Do not throw deep”, “Check down often”, and “Play like Chad Pennington”. Then when Henne is pulled off the field, Tyler Thigpen is allowed to take shots, audible at the line, and play more recklessly. Hardly inspires confidence in Chad Henne. The Dolphins simply tried to protect Henne too much from the possibility of failure and in doing so, shackled his ability to mentally play the game. His problems are not arm strength and decision making, his problems are that for three years he has been told how to play the game one way and now he is being told that “he” was wrong and needs to change it back to a more exciting and down field game.
There lies the problem. It could be that Chad Henne simply doesn’t know what to do right now. His coaches are relying on him to make them winners and in some way he could be responsible for the future job of his head coach. Ironic.
Still, I think Henne may still do well in the NFL, but I am beginning to wonder if the cat calls, and the lack of faith from his coaches hasn’t got the best of him. I mean, what kind of support do you give a young QB who is struggling when the best you can give him for a coach is an ex-WR coach with no QB coaching experience? And they wonder why he is failing…and I wonder why you would boo him and not the ones responsible for it instead.