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Dolphins in great QB shape behind Henne

Everyone is saying and writing that the Dolphins chances of being a playoff contender depend on how well quarterback Chad Henne develops in his third NFL season. Duh. That is an easy column for journalists with little imagination.

The fact of the matter is Miami's playoff chances are not necessarily dependent solely on whether Henne becomes the finest quarterback in franchise history -- as owner Stephen Ross said earlier this offseason he hopes will happen.

Sure, everyone is hoping Henne is the real deal after he delivered 12 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions in his first season as a starter in 2009. But frankly, the Dolphins have fallback positions they can resort to if Henne is ...

A. Only mediocre.

B. Terrible.

C. Injured.

If Henne is not the next coming of Dan Marino, the Dolphins can and still throw the ball and expect relative success because receiver Brandon Marshall is a Top 5 wide receiver who has authored three consecutive 100-catch, 1,000-plus-yards seasons -- all while catching from Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler, two quarterbacks with mediocre reputations.

The Dolphins can and will also rely heavily on their running game, which is still their bread and butter and still among the better ones in the NFL as their No 4 overall ranking from a year ago proves.

So the Dolphins have reasonable expectations for some success even if Henne is only mediocre.

Well, what about if he's terrible or injured?

In both cases, he would be out of the lineup. And while not having Henne under center would be a blow to the grand expectations everyone has placed on him, it wouldn't necessarily be a catastrophic blow to Miami's playoff chances.

The reason the Dolphins could survive without Henne is because they have Chad Pennington. And the chart below strongly suggests Pennington is the NFL's best backup quarterback option.

Think about that.

While everyone in New Orleans, Indianapolis, San Diego, New England, and Houston can count on continued excellence from their starting quarterbacks, they can count on nothing if those quarterbacks aren't around. Those loss of their starting quarterbacks to injury (sorry, but it does happen) would be a train wreck for those teams.

I mean, seriously. Are the Colts a playoff team with Curtis Painter under center? Are the Saints that dangerous with Chase Daniel at quarterback? Are the Patriots even a six-win team with Brian Hoyer replacing Tom Brady?

No.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are a playoff contender with Chad Henne as their starter. And they're a playoff contender with Chad Pennington as their starter. I'm not saying Pennington has the same ceiling as Henne. I'm saying the last time Pennington was Miami's starter for an entire season, the Dolphins went to the playoffs.

Way I see this list, the next best backup quarterback situation behind Miami is enjoyed by Dallas because they have Jon Kitna behind Tony Romo. Kitna has never been a star. But he has been to the playoffs as a starter and has had some NFL success.

So thinking the Dolphins universe must and will revolve around make-or-break exploits by Henne is simple-minded. It's also wrong.

2010 NFL QUARTERBACKS                                      
Quarterback,  College, 2010 NFL Experience (years)  

ARIZONA
Derek Anderson, Oregon State, 6
Max Hall, BYU, R
Matt Leinart, Southern California, 5
John Skelton, Fordham, R

ATLANTA
Chris Redman, Louisville, 8
Matt Ryan, Boston College, 3
John Parker Wilson, Alabama, 2

BALTIMORE
John Beck, BYU, 4
Marc Bulger, West Virginia, 10
Joe Flacco, Delaware, 3
Troy Smith, Ohio State, 4

BUFFALO
Brian Brohm, Louisville, 3
Levi Brown, Troy, R
Trent Edwards, Stanford, 4
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard, 5

CAROLINA
Hunter Cantwell, Louisville, 1
Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame, R
Matt Moore, Oregon State, 4
Tony Pike, Cincinnati, R

CHICAGO
Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt, 5
Caleb Hanie, Colorado State, 3
Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan, R

CINCINNATI
J.T. O’Sullivan, California-Davis, 8
Carson Palmer, Southern California, 8
Jordan Palmer, Texas El-Paso, 3

CLEVELAND
Jake Delhomme, Louisiana-Lafayette, 12
Colt McCoy, Texas, R
Brett Ratliff, Utah, 3
Seneca Wallace, Iowa State, 8

DALLAS
Jon Kitna, Central Washington, 14
Stephen McGee, Texas A&M, 2
Matt Nichols, Eastern Washington, R
Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois, 8

DENVER
Kyle Orton, Purdue, 6
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, 4
Tim Tebow, Florida, R

DETROIT
Shaun Hill, Maryland, 9
Matthew Stafford, Georgia, 2
Drew Stanton, Michigan State, 4

GREEN BAY
Matt Flynn, Louisiana State, 3
Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, 1
Aaron Rodgers, California, 6

HOUSTON
John David Booty, Southern California, 1
Dan Orlovsky, Connecticut, 6
Matt Schaub, Virginia, 7

INDIANAPOLIS
Tom Brandstater, Fresno State, 2
Tim Hiller, Western Michigan, R
Peyton Manning, Tennessee, 13
Curtis Painter, Purdue, 2

JACKSONVILLE

David Garrard, East Carolina, 9
Trevor Harris, Edinboro, R
Luke McCown, Louisiana Tech, 7

KANSAS CITY
Matt Cassel, Southern California, 6
Brodie Croyle, Alabama, 5
Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh, 1

MIAMI
Chad Henne, Michigan, 3
Chad Pennington, Marshall, 11
Tyler Thigpen, Coastal Carolina, 4
Pat White, West Virginia, 2

MINNESOTA
Brett Favre, Southern Mississippi, 20
Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State, 5
Sage Rosenfels, Iowa State, 10
Joe Webb, Alabama-Birmingham, R

NEW ENGLAND
Tom Brady, Michigan, 11
Brian Hoyer, Michigan State, 2
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State, R

NEW ORLEANS
Drew Brees, Purdue, 10
Sean Canfield, Oregon State, R
Chase Daniel, Missouri, 2

NEW YORK GIANTS
Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State, 2
Eli Manning, Mississippi, 7
Jim Sorgi, Wisconsin, 7

NEW YORK JETS
Erik Ainge, Tennessee, 3
Kellen Clemens, Oregon, 5
Kevin O’Connell, San Diego State, 3
Mark Sanchez, Southern California, 2

OAKLAND
Kyle Boller, California, 8
Jason Campbell, Auburn, 6
Charlie Frye, Akron, 6
Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo, 5

PHILADELPHIA
Mike Kafka, Northwestern, R
Kevin Kolb, Houston, 4
Michael Vick, Virginia Tech, 9

PITTSBURGH
Charlie Batch, Eastern Michigan, 13
Dennis Dixon, Oregon, 3
Byron Leftwich, Marshall, 8
Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH), 7

ST. LOUIS
Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, R
A.J. Feeley, Oregon, 10
Thaddeus Lewis, Duke, R
Keith Null, West Texas A&M, 2

SAN DIEGO
Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee, R
Philip Rivers, North Carolina State, 7
Billy Volek, Fresno State, 11

SAN FRANCISCO
Jarrett Brown, West Virginia, R
David Carr, Fresno State, 9
Nate Davis, Ball State, 2
Alex Smith, Utah, 6

SEATTLE
Matt Hasselbeck, Boston College, 12
J.P. Losman, Tulane, 7
Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson, 5

TAMPA BAY
Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State, 2
Josh Freeman, Kansas State, 2
Josh Johnson, San Diego, 3
Jevan Snead, Mississippi, R

TENNESSEE
Kerry Collins, Penn State, 16
Chris Simms, Texas, 8
Rusty Smith, Florida Atlantic, R
Vince Young, Texas, 5

WASHINGTON
Richard Bartel, Tarleton State, 2
Colt Brennan, Hawaii, 3
Rex Grossman, Florida, 8
Donovan McNabb, Syracuse, 12
   

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12-4 .....IF HENNE DOESN'T GET INJURED .THE DL THIS YEAR WILL KEEP THE BALL IN HENNE'S HANDS . THIS IS THE MIAMI YEAR OTHER WISE THE TUNA AND CO GET FIRED WHICH I DON'T SEE IN MY DREAMS .

Would love to see it! Even better I'd love to see them go undefeated! So I can rub it in Billacheats face!!! GO PHINS!

not counting games against the pats, or wk 6 thru 9, I see 10 wins in that schedule. no reason not to be optimistic about our playoff chances.

I will give "2 Watt" credit for being one of the better "Pot Splashers" on the blog. Even if some of the stuff doesn't hold water. "Henne is a Midget"... Okay... 6-3 230 qualifies as a "Midget" these days huh. I suppose Drew Breese really is screwed at 6'?

One thing you have been somewhat correct about is the concern about the NT position by some of Our fans. Unfortunately, much of the concern is for not. Mike Nolan's Defensive scheme does not deploy a true 3-4 alignment that often. Being a Hybrid between a 3-4 / 4-3 / 54 Defenses, it places the DT/s in the gaps far more often then directly over center. This calls for a more athletic player who still has nominal DT size, but also has speed and agility. A PERFECT fit for Starks. I don't believe in taking a guy away from a position he has excelled at, but in Starks case, he has only a few years as a pro so getting him re-oriented for the job will not throw him for a loop at all. It will likely make him a much more rounded DT when it is said and done.
Besides, Miami covered its bets with Montavious Stanley and still have Paul Solia to cover the position in a pinch. They will be just fine.

HENNE
R.BROWN
DAVIS
WAKE
SMITH
MISI
DANSB
MARSHALL
HARTLINE
T U N A

IT GOT TO BE THE MIAMI'S YEAR

I WONDER IF THE FOOD AND DRINKS HAS ANY THING TO DO W/OUR RESULTS LAST FEW YEARS .........THIS YEAR ALL PLAYERS WILL COME W/THEIR OWN FOOD ............12-4

tick tock tick tock. did Misi and Odrick sign yet.?they both will need every second at camp.

I FORGOT TO LIST...........NOLAN THE DL COACH .

If they have signed then Mandos sleepin cause we have no post! Hey Mando ya awake? Just checking!

I agree with dolpfanSF the defense will be the key to the fins season the offense should be awesome we will see , looking forward to it,they need to get off to a good start to have a chance though

Just read on ESPN's website that MT. CODY finally did pass the physical on the 3rd try... Apparently also has earned the name Cheeseburger from one of the vets!

LMAO! atta boy Mando! way to take a shot at Cote and his weak article. hahaha! oh and i agree that though it would be su*k if henne got hurt or was terrible, i dont think the sky would fall in souf fla with penny at the controls....again.

Are the Patriots even a six-win team with Brian Hoyer replacing Tom Brady?

To answer this question bluntly, yes they are. They looked fine when they had Matt Cassell (the worst starting QB in the NFL) replace Brady. They would win just as many game with Hoyer at QB as they would with Brady. Just because ESPN hypes Brady up as the greatest QB because ESPN is located in New England does NOT make it true. Hoyer, Cassell or Salguero it doesn't matter who their QB is. The league will make sure they win games regardless. If they don't win 6 games without Brady, then they wouldn't have won them with him. Your other examples on the other hand, I happen to agree with you. I don't think Pennington is the best backup QB right now necessarily especially coming off of injury. He is our best backup option right now though. If he is 100% healthy then yes he probably is but that is not a sure thing.

I am selling a Ray Lewis signed authentic pro bowl jersey in frame on eBay. Please take a look at this great deal to own an autograph from one of the best LB's in the history of the NFL and UM great. Do not miss out!

WHO'S RAY LEWIS ? I RATHER HAVE DUCK AND A GOOSE 30 TIMES OVER INSTED OF BUYING A PIECE OF FRAMED CRAP .

IS HE THE ACCUSED KILLER ?

I just read where NE got their 1st rounder under contract. Now that someone "Broke the seal" they will go in bunches around the league. Everyone waiting to see the "Standard" set for guaranteed money. There will be a few of the usual holdouts but I imagine most will be locked up by Tomorrow evening. Our Management has done very well at this so far... hopefully we do not have a guy who allows his agent to back him into a bad corner. Miami has always been very fair with 1st and 2nd round guys contracts.

Ceed,
I have to disagree with you there. Matt Cassel is not the "Worst starting QB ever" that runs counter intuitive to your argument that he did well in NE. Matt Cassel WAS however behind one of the worst starting O-lines in history, and likely had the 2nd worse starting group of WR and TE in history. Had Casell at least had Tony Gonzales to throw it too he would have done much better. His best WR in KC had just arrived from San Diego, Chris Chambers, Chris is okay (knowing as a Dolphins fan) but he is not going to be a Top shelf guy anytime soon.
Place Matt with a better line and some target and he will perform as advertised. However, Brian Hoyer would not have the same team Cassel had in NE two seasons ago. Frankly, NE is in decline and will need some serious work starting next season. I expect Brady to be traded for two firsts or one first and a second. IMAO That will give Belechick the new blood he likes, Just like when Bledsoe was shown the door. Brady already knows what the deal is and is trying to squeeze what he can out of the relationship by threatening a holdout.
Give KC another season or so to build their line and get some targets and Cassel will play just fine.

Nice article Armando but I disagree re: asssessment of Cutler. He may not be top notch but he's not an Orton type-hopefully with some maturity, willingness to improve, he'll prove his worth.

it's real nice article.

Michael Vick was once a very good QB. He might be better than Pennington this upcoming year.

I completely disagree with this article, because I think too much credit is given to penny. Every ay action went to the rbs anyway, they led in receiving because of it, and on thir and eight he would throw seven yards so that his numbers looked good, and we had the worst third and long numbers in the league because of it. Also, the last year he did play (before another surgery) he was 0-3, so I'd say no, he isn't the best option by far. We need henne to be what we know he can be. I'm also going to say that I think letting t.o. Go to the bengals for 2 million was a mistake. And so is us still having the greenest secondary in the league.

U know who's screwed? The giants if Eli goes down. They might not win a game lol

Remember the year before when Pennington started all the games for us and didn't get injured! N we won the division??? Or did we forget that already! When we had and even worse team! He is more than capable of being our starter just as long as he is healthy! How quickly we forget!

Henne the Hero.....CP is not going to be in any kind of shape to toss the ball down field to Marshall. Heck even when he is 100% he can't throw it more than 25 yards?!?! Tyler would be the 2nd QB and he'd be held on a tight rope, cause to be honest, he's doesn't make the best decisions when he's pressured. Henne makes us a deep playoff contendorrrr, anyone else under center, at best, gets us a wildcard ticket and out in the first round. Armando - you do remember CP's performance in the playoff game for Miami don't you?!?!

thigpen started 11 games and his record is 0-11. if some one is willing to give us a decent pick for him will will jump on it. he is auditioning for other teams in preseason, but no question he is the odd man out. only way he sticks beyond preseason will be if penne is on the PUP. mark it down. you may think he is great but the trifecta picked white, the are absolutely going to keep him. especially if what all the players and coaches have said is true, that he is the most improved player. t's funny how many of you say the wildcat messes up henne's timing, but white going in for one play cold is supposed to be perfect. bottom line, if white has adjusted to all the changes they asked him to make and can think about the play instead of (did i drop back with the footwork they want me to use, this ball feels odd in my bare hand, make sure i hold the ball high and release it where they want me to.) them we see what we actually have. on the he's too small front. he's 1.5" taller than drew brees and going into camp only 10 lbs lighter. was 20lbs lighter last year. but he will be here, thigpen doubtful. parcells, ierland, and sporano like him. they count more than we do.. but i like pat white better than thigpen too.

Inamounts, where would TO fit into this offense? We already have possesion recievers who don't drop passes. And 1 stud guy that will catch 100 passes. There would be no benefit to having Owens on this team. The guy is pure poison, remember what he said about Jeff Garcia. well that applies to him as well. As a guy who splits good teams apart at the seam. It would not be worth the 50-60 catches and 6-7 tds to take a risk of him imploding this young offense. I also politley disagree with you about Penny. This guy deserves much credit for being a Professional through and through. Henne can learn to take what the defense gives him from watching, and listening to Pennington. Pennington didn't have the arm to force balls, so a lot of stuff was underneath, check down, tight end. Ball security at it's finest.It may have resulted in punts, and a boring style, But it is effective, and it won games. This is Hennes team, and I think that it is his time lead this team. But I would feel very Confident with Pennington leading this team if something happens to Henne.

Oh by the way Derick the Cowboys signed Dez Bryant a few days ago so the preverbial cap had been busted!

when the heck was mike vick EVER a good QUARTERBACK!! find me a season please!!! i'm ot looking at stats but did he ever have 20 td passes in a season? he was good at making highlight reels, and running with the ball. but he was never a good qb let alone a great one. that is insane!!!!

Not insane. He lead the Falcons to a playoff victory in Green Bay. I'm not saying he's upper echelon but if you were to pick between Pennington and Vick, wouldn't you at least consider Vick???

i can go all mel gibson when it comes to mick vick!! and that's just with his on field play! throw in the dog stuff and i could really mel it up in here!!

Armando, to think that Pennington can make it through a season or half a season at this point is highly speculative. I thought you were going to say something about Thigpen.

Meh, I could care less about the dog stuff to be honest ,and I know I'm in the minority, but from what I've read he's in a lot better shape this year than last. Not sure how good Pennington is going to be after his already depleted throwing arm took another big hit. I think Vick would be a lot harder to defend against a good team because of his athleticism than Pennington.

if i needed a running back i'd consider vick. but we have 2 good ones. i want some one to throw the ball to the receivers and not have tunnel vision. why do you thing crumpler had so many catches? because he ran his patterns down the middle where vick could see him. atlanta's defense and running game got them to the playoffs.

SO Jason, you are saying Vick could only complete passes to the middle of the field, probably can say the same thing about Pennington because of arm strength. Pennington is smarter, Vick is way more athletic, it's a tough choice.

Check this out-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTZSLzff3Ck&feature=player_embedded

I would choose Penny. This is not me being a homer. But I think Penny makes more players better. Where Vick who may be more dynamic, is more of a singular player, who really makes nobody better, except perhaps opposing DB's

it's not a tough choice, i'd take an even slightly weaker than normal armed penne over vick. in 8 seasons vick threw 20 td never above 16 in the other 7 seasons. never once hit 3000 yards passing. best completion percentage ever was 56. but half of his seasons as a pro he was below 50%. penne is the most accurate passer in NFL history. so yes it is a VERY easy choice!!

Agree with u two!

Uhm Mondo would like to believe that Penne is a top tier backup can't says he's the number one though. We all know that more than likely Vince young gets the nod solely on athletisicm and having Kerry Collins as a backup whom if I do remember has had some nice runs into the postseason is what coach likes to call a security blanket. I do find that list very refreshing especially to look at the jets cuminaltion of talent or lack there of. Oh yeah Jon kitna get that snatch out of here

Wow where is everyone! None of the regulars are here! Its kinda quiet news day today!

I like the fact that Carolina got both Claussen and Pike. Now that is addressing a weakness!

Jason the one critical flaw in your analyis is the omission of his rushing stats. Didn't he get over 1,000 in at least one season?

not to mention that yes, penne may be better than most back ups. sure that is true. but the starter is more important. and we hopefully will have a top 15 starter in henne. i'm really hoping top 10 but there are a lot of starters i'd rather have than henne. so if henne goes down or does bad it's nice to have penne. but i'd raher have any one of these starters and rolls the dice!! manning, rodgers, brees, rivers, brady or last year model of favre.

Man I already bought an authentic Henne Jersey Chad better come through I don't want another Jay Feilder

I feel good because Miami has Thigpen, which could easily lead Miami if something were to happen to Henne and I don't see Penne being physically ready to go! We'll see?

fins...............12-4

misi
henne
brown
dansb
hartline
davis
smith
wake
marshall
coach NOLAN


IT CAN'T BE THE YEAR OF DOLPHINS

I think ya mean IT CAN BE THE YEAR OF THE DOLPHINS.... ;)

i should said ....IT MUST BE THE YEAR OF THE DOLPHINS.I FEEL LIKE COTE WRITING W/BAD ENGLISH .

SORRY GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDANE .

Defintely think it's Ronnie Browns season to seperate himself show the kinda talent and skill set this guy brings feild every play

BROWN IS GOING TO DO MORE THAN GREAT THIS YEAR AFTER HIS ISSUE W/DUI .IT'S GOOD THING IT HAPPENED TO HIM SO HE COMES TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE FORGET IT .


I WISH HENNE GOT A DUI ALSO SO HE CAN COME IN AND PERFORM .

Henne should just his buddy and former alum Jake long some local UMiami club rape some freshman get his confidence up maybe work on that touch throw?

Ben has two superbowl rings I'd be happy with one

LOOK HOW RICKY PERFORM AFTER HIS ISSUE W/DRUGS .

THE ONLY THING ISN'T GOOD IS RAPE , YOU WILL NEVER RECOVER .

Yeah cause Ricky had a drug problem right, get out of here guy was S A D and he liked to smoke not a DRUG problem

YOU REMEMBER THE COWBOYS GAY QB ,HE GOE 3 RINGS FEW YEARS AGO .

I hope Manning stays healthy. I'd hate to see Painter in a playoff game. No one knows what that guys' capable of.

YOU THINK THIS IS THE YEAR A FEW NFL PLAYERS COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET ? MUST BE A VERY LARGE CLOSET .

ummm.... I doubt it.... The NFL aint ready for that!!! their would need to be 2 locker rooms probably!

Big enough for the entire jets team thats for sure!!!!

Jets sign Mark Brunell to back up hotdogman!

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