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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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What would Pennington have done with a full compliment of receivers? There aren't too many players that put in coaches hours and Sparano knows it. I have more faith in Sparano than any rookie QB on any NFL team.

Henne 50yrd pass to Ginn, Will be Teddy Ginns ONLY highlight clip. Cuz he just cant catch the damn ball. Doesnt matter that everybody says he's so fast... Fast doesn't mean anything if you cant catch the ball. You also have to get separation and NOT be affraid to get hit AFTER you catch the ball... What was the dolphins after the catch ratio??? We need a brandon Marshall.. Hell i'll even take Chad OCH CINCO Johnson.. At least he can catch.. Yea he has a big mouth. But hes NOT afraid to get hit...

Give Henne a quality running back; a #1 Receiver (Mr. Marshall #15; Boldin #81 Dez Bryant), respectable TEs we can do what we did in 2007.....

Sign Pennington either as a backup or as a QB coach, he is a true leader. He won games with his leadership regardless of his arm. We lost games this year because of a lack of leadership from various areas, including coaching. The team just rushed into plays a few times in the end of games and had game costling mistakes ( Camarillo's, forward lateral, etc). Leadership was what we really missed this year without Pennington on the field.

I have to say i LOVE that video

I agree with the idea that what Coach Sparano did was a motivational tool. Keep Henne humble, motivated and working hard.
No doubt about it, Henne will be the man.

Hey NH Dolphan from NHDOLFAN where are you from in NH?

Hey, I love what Pennington did for this team, but with that said we need to continue to move forward. Henne needs time. We need patience. He has flaws, but also has a ton of God given talent. Only time will tell if his flaws can be corrected to the point of him developing into a top tier QB. It wont happen on the bench.

With another crop of rookies, and fairly heavy roster turnover you have to think that next year will be more of the same 7-9 - 9-7. It is the perfect time to groom a QB.

"What's going on here?" Hyperbole from the columnist, that's what.

BTW, Henne is a pedestrian quarterback. So he has a big arm. So did Jeff George. Yet even Jeff George had a little fire in him. Not sure if Henne is even conscious sometimes. How bout a little Marino fire every now and then?

Anyway, it doesn't matter at this point. While he was wiping tears on the sideline, the 3rd stringer with no reps came in cold off the bench and nearly won the game with a beautiful touch pass. So yeh, Henne is no lock as the starter.

LMAO..you're so gullible Mando! This is textbook BP button pushing dude..RELAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ommfg!!!!!!Ted Ginn actully caught a touchdown pass?!wow suprise suprise suprise

I thought white as a home town hero. my kids look up to him. If he had more snaps as qb he would get better . look at his college record. he is a great qb just needs time. I never cared for the Dolphins till this year and what i seen is its not just the qb thats the problem. but give him a chance he will be as good as he was here in college.

White has a weak arm. Did you see that out pattern he threw as a ground ball? Henne is the future without question. Why people still don't see that I have no idea?

I am sorry for all the "Put in Pat White" fans out there. But I gonna rattle your cage ... White looks like a boy among men. I am sorry. He is WAAAAYYYY to small to QB in today's league. You saw what happened to him Sunday?... Yeah?... Think about that happening all the time. He would get RACKED and likely dead before all was said and done... want to help white? Teach him to jump and catch... Keep Henne right where he is... Kid has guts, and arm and only needs to work two point accuracy and touch.... Practice practice practice... then give the poor guy some people to throw the ball to...

Henne has to start, but if the trifecta wants to bring Pennington back to push him...should we even complain about that?

And if we as an organization are dead-set on bringing the spread / pat-package to the NFL...doesn't Sunday reenforce that we need a bigger QB for that package that can take a hard hit from the linebackers and safeties that creep up into the box.

I guess what I'm saying is I love the idea of the offensive diversity we want to push with White, but we just can't ask him to consistently take a hit, it won't work. If he's there in the 2nd or 3rd....Tebow me.

I am very proud to say that I uploaded the chad henne video you see in the blog :)

Henne will be the starter BUT we need Penninton to mentor him yet one more year. Go ahead and draft a QB but bring Henne in to the office and explain to him what he need sto work on and that he will be THE qb of the Fins next year.
Please get rid of Ginn while still can get something for him.
Get some big bodies for the line both offensive and defensive line; and yes jump in wit both feet and get us an A$# kicking linebacker or two, the quiet type not the loud mouth Porter type, which by the way should be let go ( keep Taylor hell bring more fans than Porter).

AIRICK, HENNE did not pull a Ginn, The Coaches pulled him out of a meaninless game that would take us nowhere, Henne was harrased and hit often..why injured the future shoulder of our team, why risk, lets see what our 2nd Draft pick can do now...now we know what white and thigpen can do...Now the make up artist that made the bruise on Hennes eye should be fired, it looks more like a msquito bite LMAO. Im with Tony to sit him out.

I still like white as my #1 he good give him a chance.thigpin looks as good as henne . white was put out to the wolfs henne just couldnt take no more hits . white also only gets one snap a game till he's throw out in front of #1Deff. thats why he got hurt.more snaps better he gets

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