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.