There are a lot of things going on at Miami Dolphins training camp this year. There are new running backs battling for roster spots and depth positions, linebackers who are trying to make a mark, and the questions surrounding the lack of a productive number 2 TE to run 2 TE sets, but nothing will be as publicly scrutinized as the competition or lack of at the quarterback spot.
It’s simple. It’s Chad Henne vs. Chad Henne and Matt Moore vs. Matt Moore for the number 2 spot with Pat Devlin and Kevin O’Connell battling for either the third spot or the practice squad.
While Henne is slowly starting to swing his play into a favorable light and Matt Moore is still getting his feet wet, one story that is emerging from Miami is a bit more surprising. Chad Henne is emerging from the locker room as a team leader.
If we jump back in time to the beginning of the new year. The real new year, January. The Dolphins hired Brian Daboll to run their offense. Daboll and Henne met over the course of a day or two and knocked out instructions on how to read and more importantly teach the new playbook. The Dolphins were fined for the interaction. The lockout started and Henne and Jake Long began immediately organizing player only workouts. In fact, the Dolphins were one of the first teams to hold such workouts and they managed to keep them going most of the off-season.
Now, with training camp in full swing, it’s Henne that is fielding the players questions.
It’s been recently reported that the Miami Dolphins offensive players are bending the ears of Chad Henne with regards to certain areas of the playbook, an issue that head coach Tony Sparano calls a good problem. The fact is that until this year, Dolphins offensive personnel didn’t lean on Henne for much of anything, if anything at all. In fact, it’s been more than reported that Henne often caught abuse from his teammates for not doing more.
Televised last year in one game, Henne was seen being yelled at walking off the field by TE Anthony Fasano. Henne never said a word. That’s not to say that Henne suddenly is getting into the faces of his players and vocally leading this team on the field. It would almost shock me if he did. The fact that he is being leaned on for a more cerebral reason is a good sign that his players are trusting him to not only lead them, but provide them with the right information.
It’s the kind of leadership that players in New Orleans have with Drew Brees, in Indy with Manning, and NE with Brady. Now if Henne can put the knowledge of the system he has into his play then the team may start believing that he is their undeniable field general…a term that has not been used to describe Chad Henne in his three year NFL career.
This is a make or break year for Chad Henne, no question. His contract is up at the end of the season and he will not be back in Miami if he doesn’t succeed now…and if he doesn’t succeed this year, he will find the free agent market about as dry and demanding as the Dolphins desire to give him another contract.