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Dolphins 2010 starting QB has to be Henne

One of the most curious things about Black Monday at Dolphins camp, in my humble opinion, was the reticence regarding Chad Henne and his future as the Dolphins starting quarterback.

For perspective I remind you that one year ago when Miami's season ended, I asked coach Tony Sparano if Chad Pennington was his quarterback for the 2009 season. The question was pertinent because Henne had a season under his belt and because Pennington was coming off a four-interception performance against Baltimore in a playoff loss.

Sparano wasted zero time in responding by anointing Pennington the starter for 2009.

On Monday, someone asked the coach if he thinks he's found a future starter in Henne following a season in which the second-year player started 13 games. And this was the coach's reply:

"I haven't really discussed it yet," Sparano said. "I haven’t really looked at the whole body of work, as I told you. I have to sit back now and look at the entire body of work now and see what Chad did really well and what Chad didn’t do really well. But I am really pleased with what Chad did, I really am.

"I just think the guy did some outstanding things. Yesterday, whatever he was before he got hurt, 16 of 20 or something like that, I think [he] was in a really good rhythm yesterday in that game. More importantly, I thought he had his team prepared. Going out there yesterday, good week of practice, really upbeat they came out offensively and got in a pretty good rhythm. I think that says a lot about him. This guy he is a pretty curious guy. He likes to get better at the things he is not good at. I think they are all good qualities to have. I really like what I have seen in Chad right now."

Sparano likes what he's seen. But he doesn't like it so much as to give Henne his blessing as the 2010 starter.

What's going on here?

First, what is it exactly the Dolphins have to decipher about Henne, anyway? He's young. He's got much improving to do. He needs to improve his touch-passing. He needs to manage defenses with his eyes better. He's got to get quicker in reading the defense pre-snap.

But all those things have to come with playing time. And those things don't normally show up in a young quarterback's game until he's had 28-32 starts in the league. So Henne needs more playing time before we know if he will become a franchise quarterback or not.

But it's not like the Dolphins have many better options.

Pat White, the presumptive No. 2, looks like he can't lead a college team, much less an NFL one. Third-stringer Tyler Thigpen wasn't given much of an opportunity to unseat White so next year he suddenly becomes good enough to vault over Henne? And Pennington is still rehabilitating from his third shoulder surgery and is unsigned.

So do the Dolphins have to see if that secret cloning project of a 28-year-old Dan Marino is working before they name Henne the man?

Let's face it, the team is likely to draft a quarterback. That is simply wise business because Ron Wolf, the former Green Bay personnel savant and a Bill Parcells confidant, taught NFL teams long ago that backup QBs have a way of becoming golden insurance policies that can be exchanged for draft picks later on, so it it wise to draft one almost every year.

But what rookie is likely to beat out Henne in his first training camp?

So again, Henne is Miami's best choice for 2010. And furthermore, he deserves the opportunity.

He is a hard worker. You read from Sparano that he works at improving the deficiencies in his game. One expects improvement from him, particularly if the Dolphins surround him with better weapons. So I think the guy deserves to be the starter for 2010.

And Henne, bright as anyone in the locker room, agrees with me.

"Yeah," he told me. "I mean, I would say overall we started off well, getting off to a 7-3 start. Obviously the last three games wasn't the way we wanted to end it but hopefully I showed the coaches I have the capability of leading the team to wins and more in the future."

Two tests in judging QBs that Henne passed this year came in that led what was a less-than-mediocre team to a 7-6 record in his 13 starts. And I wouldn't say Henne was mostly at fault for those three season-ending losses. Not at all. So he passes the test that measures whether he can win or not.

He also passed another test on Dec. 6 against New England. Henne threw for over 335 yards with two touchdowns and one interception that day and outplayed Tom Brady in the process. The game, viewed in a vacuum, was a good moment for Henne. But viewed in the perspective that Henne had suffered a three-interception meltdown against Buffalo the week before, the comeback performance spoke of the kid's resilient nature and fighter's spirit.

Playing QB in the NFL is about talent, sure. But it's also about having brass, um, well, intestinal fortitude. Henne's recovery from the Buffalo loss showed me he's got the guts for the job.

Even if the Dolphins aren't ready to say so yet.

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agreed...if it isn't Henne next year you will lose him and might as well trade him...white is terrible, he'll never be a qb...and there's a reason thigpen is a backup, because he's a backup...he couldnt beat out cassel and henne is better than cassel, so there you go...you start him, give him the nod and go forward or you have to trade him...there's no goign ack and for the love of all that is holy DO NOT DRAFT TEBOW

Calm down, Sparano was being mr gloomy and wasn't going to answer anything about anyone.

henne will be the starter next year, there's no doubt about da, but i really would love to see a new quarterback coach and help him on his mobility, read the defense and footwork, he can be a really good quarterback in this league

Look i love Henne and he is our QB of the future, but i can see what coach is doing, he's not giving Henne anything and thats going to make the kid hungry and want to get better in the off season. If you just give it to him he comes into training camp with no comp. and nothing to motivate him to get better, but if coach said we'll see, Henne goes into the off season with a chip on his shoulder and comes into training camp really to take that starting job from anybody that wants to step up to the challege.

I wouldn't sweat the fact that Sparano didn't endorse Henne as the starter for 2010. I think it is a mind game to keep Henne hungry, and not give him anything. Sparano wants to have " competition" at all positions, even if it isn't real. We all know Henne will be the starter in 2010. It is his job to lose.... I think he will be the starter for many years. Just part of the game IMHO.

Picking 12th in this draft gives them the opportunity to sell the idea for one of the three QB . Always thinking ahead to make the pick more valuable. Trading down would make it possible to address needs on the first day, I like it.

This just makes me curious about the whole eye thing. You seen big Ben out there at the end with his arm hanging and sucking it up, then you have Henne over there with the ol ball cap on. If I was Tony... I would be sayin the same thing. Nothing against Henne, I have lobbied for him all year. However, when it come's down to the wire.... I want the guy that I have to force off the field because of injury. The Steeler game just leave's me wondering if Henne pulled a Ginn.

I am very impressed with and agree with all the comments above - it seems Sparano really wants to keep Henne hungry and not give him anything. Because if Sparano is genuinely unimpressed with what Henne has done as a first year starter with average receivers and a bad defense then I think he is out of his mind.

Most everything the trifecta says is with the intention of obtaining an advantage. They are going to say that about Henne because they want him to spend the offseason studying the playbook and film. Last year the objective was to keep things quiet with the media. The veteran QB did not need as much study time.

Sorry folks, accidentally hit the enter key before I was done. If anything, Henne's injury showed that Pat White is a waste of a roster spot, and Thigpen, looks a lot like Henne, without all the first team snaps going into the week. To give my honest, non expert, arm chair coaches opinion.... Thigpen's (spelling) ability to move around in the pocket, and yes, even though he threw 2 int's, ability to check down while moving around, showed the coaches something. I love the Fins, but I'm glad we lost in that exact manner. For one, we wouldn't of made the playoffs anyway. For another, Henne's "eye injury" gave the coaches a good look at exactly what we have behind him. And to be honest, I think this one bit Henne in the arse, because regardless of Thigpens 2 int's, he did show something out there...

I am obviously biased as a Dolphin fan waiting for our next franchise QB, but I was absolutely impressed with Henne this year. He can make every bleeping throw, he's tough, he's smart, and I thought he really improved his ability to go through his progressions as the year progressed. He definetely improved game to game and was able to carry the team in some situations with limited weapons at WR/TE.

Chad Henne finished the year ranked 16th in completion percentage in the NFL. He had a higher completion percentage than Carson Palmer, Donovan Mcnabb, and Matt Ryan. This was done as a first year starter with far less weapons than all 3 of those guys. Sparano should think about that for the next 2 months and then get back to me.

If Henne is not the starter/future of the franchise then i dont know who is, Thigpen is great and all but he is not the FUTURE. Great clip at the end, that game was one of the best all year and definitely the most fun.

Henne had a good year considering he had average WR's. I would like to see him improve on his touch, not every throw needs to be gunned in there! I will not be surprised if they take another QB in this year's draft.

Chad Henne will make it BIG next year 4 sure...he has BWALLS....but Thigpen can play also...he is a very very good QB....alfy from Ozz

Why can't Thigpen be the future? If we go with Henne and Thigpen as our No. 1 and 2 QBs next year, I like our chances with more help on defense. Yes I did say defense.

Mock draft: I like these choices:
http://www.mynfldraft.com/NFL-Mock-Draft

every one that argued with me that we should play white over thigpen, do you see now??!!!! henne should definatly be the starter but thigpen is #2 period.

First, it is not wise to draft a qb just for the heck of it, especially not this year with so many needs.

Second, Henne may not be the best choice for 2010. That is to be determined in the camps.

Third, the circumstances surrounding last year--when Henne was a redshirt freshmen and we had one seasoned veteran in Pennington and one third stringer who would not amount to anything--are much different then today. Last year it was safe to say that Pennington was the starter especially after leading the team to playoffs. This year we have two veterans, Pennington and Thigpen, and Henne. It would be foolish to commit to anything one day after the season is over.

I think Henne will be the starter,he did a great job of bringing us back in some of the games that the D forgot to show up.That video was awesome, but it makes me wonder why Ginn could never get open like that again?

I THINK WE SHOULD PLAY IN THOSE ORANGE JERSEY's MORE.

It was a different set of circumstances, Pennington was a vet and as such needed the reassurance he would be starter, Henne will be more motivated and hungry if Sparano keeps him guessing but he IS going to be the starter, everybody could see he's been tremendous with limited weapons, he'll light it up next year if they get him a damn No 1 receiver!!!
Thigpen showed he will be a good backup and thats all!!!

From what I've seen and heard about Henne he doesn't really need motivating though as I'm sure he will be the first guy practising and setting an example as he should do as the leader of the offense!!
Sparano needs not to make it a QB competition going into camp though and he needs to announce Henne the starter before camp opens to avoid the media frenzy!!

Oh yea! Let the draft frenzy start. I love it! Cant wait until April.

Remeber the talk from Henning about him being as good as some of the other rooks such as Flacco or Ryan? Well with the Ravens sneaking into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth and the Falcons, like us, are looking from the outside in. I think has shown that he is. I am very pleased with his performance this year since he was thrust into the season and shows the most promise of any QB we have had since you know who. The "twenty ten" season will tell us a lot and really show us how much this kid is willing to work to improve his game. BTW thanks for the video I can never get enough of seeing that even though it makes me sick that the Jests were GIVEN a late Christmas present with a wildcard birth.

It is the stupid mind games this admin does with its players. They are trying to keep him motivated by not granting him the position. It is old school and old fashioned.

I like somethings they do around here, but others are frustrating beyond belief.

I agree JUSTIN CREDIBLE we are unbeaten in the orange. Even though i consider myself an old school dolfan I love those orange jerseys.

get rid of Parcels, Sparano, all of the assistant coaches and bring in Cower and his staff for next year. Keep Bess and Camarillo or Hartline, I prefer Hartline, work with Turner for Red Zone use. On offense draft WR, TE and Oline. Henne #1 Thigpen #2 and try to keep Pennington as Coach/Backup. Defense we need everything with empasis on Middle Linebacker and Safety. Work in off season with Wake to replace Porter.

I'm not going to defend Pat White, but when has he got a chance too? Sure, he dumped one low on the outside in the Pitt game, but he can make all the throws, I just HATE the way the coaches folded our offense when he came in the game. Pat has to get the touch-sure he isn't as strong as Henne's arm, but geeze, Kurt Warner was in the Superbowl!!!!

Give Henne a solid camp and pre-season with a good FA WR pick-up this off season and we will see a much improved passing game I believe. I like Thigpen as our #2. White as a #3 or trade for a late round pick (if possible at this point). Draft Defense with early picks.

Pat White wa a mistake, a big one, but lets fix it. No one is more qualified t run a wildcat more than Tebow. Ronnie and Weedy in the backfield w/Tebow taking the snaps or sometimes moving to a TE spot, or becoming the lead blocker, or......I would even think about getting season tix gor that; nah, not really, I still would hate having to get my "Fins UP" evry 30 seconds

I believe their is a difference between naming a veteran, Pennington, the starter and a rookie who just completed his first season the starter...Henne IS the future, but you need to keep it in his head that their is competition and he needs to get better..it's a mind game that good NFL coaches use, no controversy here...and we have some spots to fill in the draft BUT one player we don't need is Tim Tebow. Why anyone would suggest we pick up an offensive spot player with a pick when we have defensive holes that need to be filled is beyond me

My new years resolution was not to respond directly to idiots anymore so I won't respond to the totally assinine post calling for Parcells and Sprano to be replaced by Cower..everyone is allowed an opinion, even the stupid people

I'm a long time fan....over 30 years. But since Shula and then Marino departed, our team has been a revolving door for coaches and QB's.... The two most important pieces of being a successful team. The fans are as much to blame as anyone else...we demand a winning team now, no patience. PATIENCE...I see so many people on and off the band wagon, we win, everyone is great, we lose, everyone needs to be terminated?!?! Stick with the staff in place and stick with Chad Henne! He's already better than 50% of the QB's in the league. Give him two more years and he'll be on of the top 5 QB's in the league! The staff has been been building a foundation for a long term winning team..let them finish what they started. If Henne and the staff are not ale to take this team (in 5 years) to the upper level of the league, a top 5 contender going into the season...then start second guessing again. Until then, sit back and try to enjoy the ride while supporting the team.

The less Henne throws the better the team looks. He needs a super star recieving corp because he is a mediocre qb.

Only 1 team wins the superbowl each year. 31 other cities' sports writers have to write an epitaph each year.
imagine being in Denver and having to summarize their season.
I enjoyed watching every dolphin game this year. Theybwereballbexciting and entertaining. Dolphins fans (especially some on this blog) are very unreasonable in their expectations. Only 1 team wins it all. Only 1 per year!
I remember back in the day the Miami hurricanes won like 50 straight games and then finally lost one game and people were screaming to fire the coach and bench everyone. Ridiculous people down here in sofla.
Anyways, j enjoyed the season, a little disaappointed we didn't make the playoffs, but we probably eren't going to beat any of the playoff teams anyway.

The thing is. Both Penne and Henne were/are at different stages, but not only that, so was the team.

So last year with Penne it was all about what a great year, and from 1-15 to 11-5 with a possible MVP year. It was confidence time with the team and Sparano made it known that the leader,i.e. Penne, was going to continue to lead.

This year, its different. Disappointing year after 3 straight losses to end the season. There are health question marks around Penne but there is an optimism and exciting around Henne and the possibility of being the franchise QB.

With Penne, you can say flat out he's our leader and he will continue to work hard.

With Henne, hes so young and with all this optimistic talk of being a franchise QB this is Sparano's way of keeping him in a good place and not letting the ego run away with it.

I have no hesitation to say that it will be Henne who comes in to camp as the starter, will he come out the other end of camp still as starter... I believe so.

I see Henne with no 10 Penne as his back up and Thigpen a quality no 3.

Similar to Marino with his guide backing him up in no 10 Don Strock.

The Cuban believes Chad(96 inch neck)Henne played fairly well being it was his 1st season starting, dont see any one taking his job next year, Would love to see him throwing to a all-star receiver and tight end that can run....

Miami – 2010 DRAFT
1. Dez Bryant WR/Oklahoma State
2. Brandon Spikes LB/Florida
3. Javier Arenas CB/Alabama
4. Dan Williams DT/Tennessee
5. Jordon Shipley WR/Texas
6. Riley Cooper WR/Florida
7. ?????????

Lakecity, nice wish list but Parcells has never used a first rounder on a receiver and I will be shocked if it happens now...and I don't see our mist important and vulnerable spot which is NT...no sense in drafting high for linebackers if we don't have a monster to anchor the 3-4...NT will be our first pick and wide receiver will be in the late rounds or addressed thru free agency if Parcells follows past patterns

1) Chad Henne is not Chad Pennington or Dan Marino. He's a first year starter who hasn't earned the right yet to be named a starter the following year.

2) Why pump up Henne? To become another Romo? Let the dude keep working to get good first. Again, he's a first year starter. Period.

3) Competition is always in a team's best interest. Henne isn't so good that another guy couldn't conceivably take his job. What if the Dolphins can draft a guy who is better than Henne?

Quote from Jason Fergunson, "there will be lots of changes this year" Fergunson played for Parcells in both Dallas and New York...There will be some suprises I think with some of the people that are not gonna be in uniform next year...this is gonna be a much YOUNGER, BIGGER and moe physical, especially on defense team next year

I believe Sparano didn't make a comment on who his starter will be because he wants to see if Pennington can make another comeback.

I think the Fins would have made the playoffs if he didn't get injured because of his experience and because he's simply more accurate than Henne. Henne showed potential but I'm not totally convinced. 2011 should be the year that we'll see a new starter. Who knows, it might be someone that's not even on the current roster.

I think Sparano is doing the right thing not naming Henne the starter. I think it will keep him hungry. Especially with Thigpen showing that he has some skills. I think Henne will be the man but he has a ways to go.

Sparano has to walk the tightrope here because if he names Henne the #1 now the kid may slack off but if he disses the kid too much Henne may become pissed and fall out of love with Miami.

It didn't look like Henne was happy to be on the sidelines during the 2nd half. I think the coaches made the decision for him and sat him.

Besides, it gave Sparano a perfect chance to get his favorite student into the game at QB...and then carted off the field.

Henne is the starter PERIOD...Kid is smart, has a cannon arm and had to come in after Pennington went down and did a great job...I can only imagine what happens when Henne has the weapons to work with and a complete training camp with the starters...again, this is a NON STORY

Draft..
#1 - Rolando McClain - ILB - Alabama
#2 - Eric Norwood - OLB - South Carolina
#3 - Nate Allen - S - South Florida

I hope we don't go WR early in the Draft. They take too long to develope and our track record for first round receivers is horrible. Draft Defense early and go for a proven FA receiver or trade for a quality proven receiver.

NHDolfan...Exactly!!! Great comment

The front office's reticence makes me wonder if their internal evaluation of Henne is as positive as most of ours.

Also......Heard Ricky & Ronnie on radio yesterday......they both referred to players on the team who don't take the game seriously enough, don't watch film, don't study opponents, etc. Didn't name names, but I wonder who.........

Talking about Ronnie n Ricky, gut feeling tells me one of them is in a different uniform next year

" Bigger,Faster,Cheaper" Sounds like a good time in a Philippine Brothel... just saying

Cuban, the Bustelo at La Caretta is made in Colombia, can't have it all bro

emo that would be tme menace"s favorite ted never met a sideline i didnt love and s. smith with his twitter thing during games.

Would be nice to have someone knowledgeable about football to write this blog...

Put a Cohiba ring wrap on a Nicaraguan stoogie, it's not real but its as good as it gets

This draft will be interesting.

Two teams have two 1st round picks.
Seahawks (#6 and 14)
49ers (#13 and 16 or 17)

I believe the Fins will have the opportunity to move down and gain a 2nd or 3rd round pick and still get a top defensive player with the lower 1st round pick. Someone will want a player that they fear the 49ers want to pick with their #13 or the Seahawks with their #14 pick.

McClain seems to be the Fins pick if he drops to #12. I don't know how much more he would slide beyond #12 if the Fins don't pick him there. I believe getting the extra pick and still having a shot at Dan Williams would offset not getting McClain.

The big question would be, do the Fins pick more defense which is their major weakness with the extra pick or do they pick an offensive playmaker?

Bobbyd12, Your kidding, from Columbia??? Is anything sacred???..Ps Love La-Carretta.

Henne is our 2010 starter, but he still has to earn it in camp. It is funny before the season the trifecta were pretty much saying Henne was going to be the starter in 2010, but they didn't expect him to get a jump start in the starting role...??

The coaches should not be annointing ANYONE a starting role a day after the end a losing season (7-9)...

Armando - What are our draft picks (count) next year? Do we have any extra picks from teams or any picks given away?

It's called "motivation".

He's not going to hand anything to Henne. He wants Henne to go thru the offseason like he has to win the starting job.

Big difference in a 8-9 year vet like Pennington and a 13-game starter like Henne.

Jeff F, Long Island, NY - you say Henne was not happy for his benching, but when he had blurred eyes on Monday, it was probably the right choice. I believe he was idsappointed he could not be on the field, not upset with the coaches!

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