Roster Rewind: Chad Henne


Is there anyone on the Miami Dolphins roster today that is more scrutinized that Chad Henne?  Seriously.  Today we look at number 7:  Chad Henne on our “Roster Rewind” off-season feature.

Henne entered the 2010 season as the number 1 QB for the first time in his pro career.  A back-up in year one behind Chad Pennington, Henne took over the starter roll in 2009 when Pennington went down with injury and his career in that season and a half has been filled with controversy.  All season long Henne was tied to Dan Henning and vice-versa.  Was it Henne, was it Henning, those two questions alone defined the season for the Miami Dolphins from the fan perspective.

When the season finished and the coaching issues surfaced, again it was Chad Henne’s name who was tied to the future of Tony Sparano.

But was it unjust?

There is no escaping the fact that I have been a supporter of Chad Henne from day one on this site.  In fact, most of the 2009 season was a difficult foray into covering the oft maligned QB with any opinion that supported him.  His numbers were not that great, his footwork needed work, his ability to control and manage a game was non-existent.  Yet through all of that, I maintained that he could still be a solid QB in this league.

2011 will be an interesting year to say the least and I suppose it’s impossible to say whether Chad Henne is even guaranteed a roster spot at all.

Henne finished his 2009 season ranked 22nd in the league in passing, he regressed to 26th in 2010.  His touchdowns went from 15 to 12 and his INT”s went from 19 to 14.  Neither of which make you want to bank your offense on him in 2011.  The fact is that Henne struggles.  The question is why?

Some will argue, myself included, that Henne was a product of a poor offensive system that didn’t allow him to play a familiar style of offense.  One that was more suitable to his talent.  Frankly, Dan Henning simply didn’t change his offense to meet Henne.  The Dolphins offense under Dan Henning was geared towards a Chad Pennington style and even Henning himself said during an assistant coach interview that his offense wasn’t designed around Henne.  So how does that work?

To make matters worse, the Dolphins simply took Henne off the field to run the WC and often put Henne back on the field for 3rd and long situations.  While all QB’s should have to go through that at some point in a game, the fact that Miami chose to take the ball out of Henne’s hands when he was actually in a rhythm also played a part in his confidence.

Yes, I know that is all one sided opinion from someone who actually supports Henne.

Henne also has some serious leadership issues.  No QB that I have ever seen in Miami would let another offensive player yell at him walking off the field and that happened twice this season.  There is no confidence in Henne’s ability from his own teammates and that is something that you can not pin on Dan Henning.

Henne is a walking zombie on the field.  No pick-up, no hurry, no enthusiasm.  It’s a huge character flaw.  Or is it something else?

As I stated, I support Henne and while I absolutely loathe his emotional efforts in a game, I can’t help but wonder why he is that way when at Michigan he was much more alive?

Could it be that he was simply not allowed to lead the offense?  He was told to make plays but not turn the ball over which means don’t take any chances.  Hence the Brandon Marshall comments about Tyler Thigpen “Getting it”.  It was Thigpen who in his short time behind center changed the plays that were called in to fit what Marshall wanted.   Thigpen had nothing to lose but money as he is going to be a free agent.  I say kudos to him to not be hampered by a poor OC.

Henne has yet to really have the coaching staff behind him taking the reigns off and letting him play, and it may be too late for that.  For some reason I see Chad Henne as that QB that will eventually be on another team and finally “get it” and really succeed.  He has the talent.  I don’t know if he had the proper coaching with David Lee and Dan Henning who simply wanted to run the WC and the dink and dunk passing game.  Would you have been able to have much leadership emotion when your OC calls a draw on 3rd and 9 for the fourth time in a game so they can kick a field goal?

2011 will be Henne’s last year in Miami unless he finds himself a breakout starter on a revamped offense.  He is in a contract year and at 550,000 bucks, is likely to be fighting in training camp for the back-up roll depending on who the team brings in to compete for the starting job and who if anyone they draft.

Last year, like the year before was not a good one for the young QB veteran, but there are no excuses anymore.  At least not in Miami.  It’s up to Brian Daboll to get him turned around now.  And Daboll didn’t sound all that thrilled with the prospect, or possibilities either.

For my money, the Dolphins would make huge mistake not building an offensive system around this QB.