Chad Henne Deserves Another Shot

As far as football and the Dolphins are concerned, I have been and will probably continue to be an optimist.  I am loyal to a fault.  That one guy saying Jay Fiedler is a good Quarterback and deserves the chance to continue playing?  That guy saying we should keep Tedd Ginn for his return prowess? Or that Jamar Fletcher and Derrick Rodgers just needed some more time to acclimate themselves. That was me. With that being said, I am probably the only person outside of Brittany Henne that believes that it serves the Dolphins best interest to sign Chad Henne to a shorter term contract after the season and give him a shot at competing for the QB spot on the team.

Upon the expiration for the 2010 season, I was down in the dumps.  All the good things I expected out of the offense did not materialize.  The acquisition of Brandon Marshall before that season began had most Dolphin fans abuzz about the potential our offense had, with our two headed running back attack and punishing offensive line, we finally had that Alpha Dog that would draw a safety away from the line of scrimmage and allow our backs more room to run.  But alas, the offensive line we envisioned ended up being rather dismal, the running backs we loved so much looked old and slow, and the Alpha Dog we hoped would ignite our offense seemed more like a puppy.  Yet taking the lions share of the blame from Dolphin fans was who became known as Checkdown Chad.  Yes, I admit, some of the problems on the Offense stemmed from Chad, but he did not deserve to be a scapegoat.

The season ended, amid plenty of rumors of the Dolphins drafting a quarterback or signing a marquee free agent QB along the lines of Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb et al., Chad blocked it all out and went to work. (How happy would you be right now had we gotten one of those guys?) During the lockout, he could have thought, oh well, I’m not going to be here much longer anyway and not done much of anything.  Instead, he learned the playbook as well as he could, helped to organize team workouts, and generally tried his best to become a leader off the field.

The thought by many, including myself, going into the 2011 season was that as long as our offense was semi decent, our defense was going to be good enough to give us some wins and we could compete in the division and for a playoff spot.  Once again, our presumptions failed to be accurate.  Yes, the offense was decent, although TD drops by Brandon Marshall hurt the bottom line quite a bit.  But the defense that everyone assumed would be one of the best in the league turned out to be rather pathetic until about 7 games in.

When thinking about Henne going into the season the main question I asked was, “Will he be more aggressive and stop the checkdowns?”  The answer to that question was a resounding yes. Through three games, plus a quarter, his yards per pass attempt was a respectable 7.75, a figure that would currently be 9th in the league, and up a full yard from the previous season.

The second question I asked had to do with interceptions. Will he still make the gameshattering interceptions he had become known for?  Through the first 4 games, he had 4, and the casual observer would say that, yeah, he still does.  But when looking at the interceptions, you may be able to draw different conclusions.

Interception #1 – Final play of the New England game, trying to make something happen

Interception #2 – Arm is hit as he throws against Houston

Interception #3 – Final offensive play against Cleveland on 4th and 10

Interception #4 – Hit as he throws

I find it hard to fault him for any of those interceptions, so in my mind, the two main questions I had going into the season were fairly well answered, and I was comfortable with Chad.  Then he got injured, and it basically threw away all the hard work he had done during the offseason, and left him with an 0-3 record on the year, with no chance to make his statement to the team and fans that he had improved and was worthy to lead this team.

Listen, I like what Matt Moore has done.  I feel he has earned the right to be able to compete with any rookie quarterback the Dolphins will bring in this offseason, almost a certainty at this point.  I do not, however, feel that he has done any better than Chad would have given the way the defense is currently playing.

I am not saying the Chad Henne should still be our quarterback of the future.  I am saying that there is a chance that Chad could still become a good quarterback.  Assuming we draft a rookie, by resigning Chad we could have the virtual certainty that the prized rookie would not be thrown into the fire before he is ready, and there’s always the chance that Chad fulfills the potential that everyone was once so excited about, leaving us with the proposition of having 3 starting caliber quarterbacks on our roster…. Not an altogether bad problem to have.

Like I said, I am a loyal guy.  I realize that barring a 5 game win streak that takes us out of the running for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, we will be drafting a new QB of the future. The work that Henne put in during the lockout and the improvements that he made during the beginning of the season make me feel that my loyalty to him is right, and that he deserves the chance to show us all what he can do. Plus, I am not at all excited to an overmatched rookie, or even worse, J.P. Lossman on the field.

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  • StuartClurman

    I agree. Henne is the scapegoat for Parcells/Ireland/Sparano OL incompetence. No one could prosper under the pressure even the worst defenses put on Dolphins QBs. Good OLs make bad QBs look good, awful OLs make good (or promising) QBs look bad. Couple that with bad play calling, lack of team speed and a moron for a head coach and you have a scapegoat. Dolphins fans may be the dumbest in the NFL but maybe one or two can remember how Jimmy Johnson marginalized and made Marino a scapegoat. The OL is the most important component of a team. A good one keeps its defense off the field, a bad one kills its QBs (Fiedler, for instance, before Henne) and wears out its defense. Henne never got a chance.

  • bill.stowers

    I too am still loyal to chad. I like the guy a lot, I was crushed when he went down. It reminded me eerily of pennington (my favorite player of all time) I would love to sign him for a one or 2 year deal but I just keep getting this feeling that something wouldn’t be right. Exspecially with moore playing so good.

  • Cornerss

    I compleltly agree and am glad someone finally pointed out he was having a good year while the rest of the team stunk it up around him

  • Cornerss

    I do think he will be back, only a fool would draft a rookie not named Luck and expect a better season then the last few if he started. Would be smart to sign henne and left him compete, leaves us in a great position in a year to trade some qb’s for some picks

  • DenverFinFan

    Henne had TOO MANY chances. It wasn’t what he did wrong this season, it is more what he NEVER, EVER does right. The fire he doesn’t bring, the boring, pedestrian way he “manages” the O… He has had enough chances to prove he is an NFL QB and he never separated himself from the bottom of the pack except in exceptionally BRIEF glimpses.

    Just put the Henne down and back away slowly…

  • Lespaul

    @StuartClurman uh, Marino was the main reason the Johnson era faltered. Perhaps if Marino had retired back in 96 we might have a winning team today. Johnson could have had a winning team with a new QB and perhaps had a better run in the playoffs. Marino had the will and the guts, but his body was left for dead 5 years before.

  • Lespaul

    Oh vey, Chad Henne and Matt Moore? Didn’t we just live through this experiment? Uh, we are 3-7 and probably destined for a 4 and 12 season. It kills me when I hear that all these guys need is more time or better players to work with. The line sucked and that’s for sure, but neither of our current QBs have a winning record….anywhere! So, why do you think they can win now? What made Marino so magical was his ability to win when all looked lost…that’s what makes a great QB….these guys don’t have that.

  • ranadicus

    The Matt Moore love will die down the first time he is forced into a shootout against a good QB (put him in the lineup against Brady week one and see if we’re in that game at all) but unfortunately the Henne hate will continue. The local media has decided Henne is bad and they are going to take everything he does as bad no matter what happens.

    The reality of Moore is he makes as many bad plays as good plays but the team has been playing better so people are ignoring the bad. The snaps that went through his hands and missed passes on third downs against Dallas cost us the game. If Henne made those plays the local media would have been calling for his head. But because the team has been playing better Moore gets a pass. Those passes always get revoked though, it’s only a matter of time.

    When Mario Williams beat Columbo and swatted Henne’s arm to cause that interception Omar Kelly immediately tweated about Henne making one of his usual gaffes before the replay even came up on the TV. He then sort of backed out of it by adding that Columbo “might” have assisted it. But the reality of the bias is there, the local media were the ones who gave us unrealistic expectations for the team last season and the ones who lit the torches and handed out the pitchforks after the team (and it’s QB) failed to realize them.

    You can break down games all you want and it won’t matter. Let’s mention that against the likes of Cleveland Reggie Bush carried 10 times for 13 yards (I can get 1.3 yards by falling down) or how Miami gave up 5 sacks to that terrible defense or how we were forced to keep the tight ends in at the goal line to help block a four man Brown’s rush.

    How about the five passes Henne had swatted down at the line against Houston. Nobody can win like that. The Pats just lost several games because Brady’s line couldn’t protect him and his receivers played poorly (and their D is terrible). A great QB can make everybody else look better but the other 21 guys still have to do their jobs.

    Then after they spent an entire off-season criticizing the team and scapegoating the QB (they began criticizing the team for having a bad off-season before the playoffs were even over) Henne began to play well but at this point the media is too far gone with their bias. At this point Chad Henne could win a Super Bowl and they’d find something wrong with it.

    No worries though, this regime doesn’t give a single damn what the media thinks and Henne will be in camp next season. They’d be fools not to bring him back given how little he is going to cost and how well he already knows the offense.

  • Southbeach

    Add me to your minority group. I would like to see Henne back based on what I saw in our first 3 games, and his work and leadership in the off season. In all due respect to Moore playing well, he has had 2 great games, and not much else. Henne is MUCH better throwing long and under pressure. It is a shame we did not get to see him when the rest of the O pieces had the time to fit in.

    He is the best available QB to be had this coming off season, and IMO deserves to be a Dolphin in 2012.

  • Southbeach

    One other thing to consider with Henne, as well as the coaches and overall O to start this season. The team had new players at RB#1, RB#2, FB/2nd TE, C, RG, RT, Big Jake with no preseason snaps, and a new OC. That’s a hell of a lot to deal with and little time to do it, due to the lockout.

    This is not an excuse but a valid reason for the slow start. I believe that a healthy Henne would have this team at 6-5 right now.

  • tedhill

    Thing is, I don’t think Chad Henne will want to play with the Dolphins. Think about it. Matt Moore is under contract. You know the Dolphins will spend a first round pick on a quarterback too.

    It never fails, that some dumb team will take a look at Henne and convince him to sign with their team because he can compete for the starting job. Even if the Dolphins tell him that, I don’t think he’d believe them.

  • Dalton625

    @Lespaul Assuming we draft a quarterback, name me an option out there that is better than Henne and Moore to serve as caretaker until the Rook is ready?

    Unproven Matt Flynn? Ask Arizona how banking on an unproven QB has worked out.

    There’s Jason Campbell. Not really an upgrade.

    Donovan McNabb is available. I hear he lit it up with the Vikings.

    Kyle Orton? Didn’t he get beat out by Tim Freaking Tebow?

    There is a better chance of winning by sticking with the guys you have and drafting a Quarterback than by going outside to get help, see Alex Smith and the 49er’s.

  • Dalton625

    @Lespaul This is the Author, btw. I’m just now trying to figure out a lot of things on the site, so bear with me while I piddle around.

  • StephenDeyerle

    Aah, that’s better. Got everything the way I want it, and I can post so that you guys will know it is me.

  • Lespaul

    Henne has never been a winning QB and he never will be. Again, the goal is to win a championship, not just win a few more games than last year. I think he went 0-4 or 5? You guys think the dolphins are the only team to deal with new players, coaches and the short offseason? How is that an excuse for the slow start? It’s not all Henne’s fault and that’s for sure, but if all the pieces were in place and the defense was playing lights out, do you still think he can get the phins to the Super Bowl? I dont think so…

  • dolfan486

    Listen- I liked what I saw in Henne, however you can’t overlook his injuries. He has had 2 or 3 injuries in 3 years and that is not a good sign. Henne injured his shoulder just by diving towards the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I think Henne is tough- but he is just way to prone to injury. I would really like to see Miami trade for Peyton and have Matt Moore as a bench player learning under a great. It would be so awesome.

  • StephenDeyerle

    That he can or cannot get us to the Superbowl is not my contention. My contention is that he is better than any option we can get this offseason in the short term. Can get get us to the playoffs? With a good team around him, yes, I think he can. And this team has to learn to do something in the playoffs before it can think about Superbowl. I’m all for drafting a first round quarterback next year as an eventual replacement to both Moore and Henne, I just do not see an upgrade, and I would feel much more comfortable with Chad or Matt as our backup and the other the starter than, say, JP Losman or Sage Rosenfelds as either backup or starter.

  • Lespaul

    pretty sad if the Dolphins brain trust has given up for Moore and Henne. I have not seen any game this season where a Dolphins QB has gone out and won a game for the team. That said, I do see your point. there really are NO veteran QB’s to be had that could actually make a difference. Donovan McFired should retire and Losman/Rosenfelds are no better than what we currently have. Yup, I see your point… still, they need a fresh arm and brain at the QB position. work a deal, get a young kid with skills and groom him. look at Dalton this year…what a steal.