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Henning on things wrong with the Dolphins offense

Dan Henning is the Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator. Everything that offense does -- or fails to do -- is supposed to be Henning's responsibility.

Henning isn't shy about telling you his offense isn't producing at a level that is acceptable to everyone. Actually, how couldn't he deny it. But the veteran coach is clearly of the thinking that players and their execution are the only things that make an offense go or stall.

His responsibility in the entire recipe? Rarely if ever mentioned.

Take today's press conference for example. The Dolphins offense has sucked struggled the past couple of weeks and most of the season. What does Henning believe is wrong?

On what is the central issue of the running game's problems: "Blocking. That's the issue ... Second level blocking. Getting to the second level. Breaking tackles. Same as it always is."

On the passing game: "We haven't done very well here in the passing game lately ... There's a lot of moving parts in the passing game. Sometimes it's difficult to pin down what the major problem is  or what the problems are and sometimes you might just run into a team that is playing pretty good or weather conditions and that type of thing. But we can't continue to exist with as little a passing game as we had last week. We have to do better than that."

Henning mentioned a Chad Henne gaffe in miscalling one protection during Sunday's game. He said the quarterback missed Fasano on a play when the tight end was open.

And then Henning broke down the whole picture for us, relating his thoughts on why the Dolphins are 31st in the NFL in points scored:

"We have to block better. We have to throw better. We have to run better routes. We have to catch the ball. We cannot have penalties. We have to move the ball in a more consistent, efficient manner than we have in the last three week -- not unlike we did in the Raiders game."

None of this is wrong. Henning is to be applauded for his relative candor. But I struggle with the fact that not once does the coach mention that, well, his coaching could perhaps have been better on an occasion or two or 10 this season.

It's like he is disconnected from the mess. It's as if he only calls plays and if the execution is 100 percent by those darn imperfect players, the plays he calls would work perfectly.

I'm trying not to be harsh or unfair. I've been told by a couple of folks that coach Tony Sparano is "disappointed" with me because I'm holding some of his assistants, such as Henning, responsible for some of the Dolphins struggles this year.

Well, maybe if some of those assistants would hold themselves responsible, I wouldn't have to say a word.


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Continue doing your job, and doing a good job at it Armando

Henning is delusional. The play calling is probably the first thing that needs to be better. Its the fact that he can't put his players in positions to succeed is the other part of the problem. Tom Brady would be struggling in this offense and how its called.

One thing I've found incredibly frustrating about this offense is its unwillingness to play to its strengths -- inside running, possession passing. Outside runs and downfield passing have been wildly unsuccessful, yet they seem to be core to the play calls. I don't know how Henning can not take the blame with this level of talent on his offense.

Number one lesson in leadership. Take all the blame and give all the credit. Henning missed that lecture.

His play calling is the pits and the wildcat is averaging less than a normal running play yet he calls that play again and again.

No screens, draws and never seems to consider who has been performing well and who is playing like crap when he calls his plays. I hope the door hits him in the ASS.


Tell it like it is Bro! You Da Man!

Sporano is disappointed with you? I can't believe I'm going to actually type this, but in this instance you could actually teach Tony a thing or two.

What a joke! Sporano's actually going to get down on a journalist for speaking the obvious? Incredible!

I want to see Sporano's wonderlic scores right effing now!

I've already been saving up beer cans to get Hennings a "nice" retirement watch, the thought of having to buy Tony one too is just too much.

I'm going to cash them in right now because after reading this, I need a drink!

Great points, Mando.

Every week I find myself frustrated with Henning's pathetic offense. Not getting the plays in & having to call time-outs, ridiculous play calls, etc. He might be slightly better than Cam Cameron, who is as bad as ever right now. Can't believe either of these guys still have jobs in pro football. Seriously?

The Wildcat has got to go! He always calls it inside the 20 where the D is already bunched up and you know it is going to be a run.

The inside the 10 he goes into shotgun which screams it is going to be pass.

Pretty easy to stop that offense

I'm sorry, it's the playcalling. They have to do a better job disguising plays. It seems they run the same plays over and over.

Even Safety, Ed Reed said it. The dolphins are too easy to read.

Only thing I agree, is the O-line not blocking and second level blocking. The holes are collasping to quickly.

You're doing a great job, Armando! Sparano is just nervous about his job security every time you report on the obvious shortcomings of this team.

I love my Granpa, God bles his soul.

As he was nearing 80 and fading fast, he walked into the living room to see me and my brothers and sisters playing a game of chutes and ladders.

Always the one to be engaging I asked my aging Patriarch how he though I was doing?

He replied: There's a lot of moving parts in the game. Sometimes it's difficult to pin down what the major problem is or what the problems are.............

I miss my Grandpa(SIGH).

I have alot of respect for Coach Sparano. However, it disappoints me that he is upset with some things you've written about his assistants. Well, Henning and the special teams coach are the only one's I have seen you write about and both of them definitely deserve it. Sparano needs to chill out if it is true that he is upset with you.

Henning is awful. Furthermore, it speaks to his character in that he is unwilling to shoulder the responsibility. I agree with an earlier poster, when something goes wrong the one in charge (in this case Henning) needs to accept the blame. I hope this guy is gone soon.


I am not "disappointed" with you. So there, Dolphins!

There's enough room for blame to go around, but it starts with the leadership. That entails 1) Head Coach 2) Hennig 3) Henne. Call me crazy, but doesn't Henne have the ok to change a play that doesn't look suited for the defensive alignment? We all know that basic execution of blocking/running are necessary for a good offense, but putting players in position to make those plays goes to the OC's dept. The team's blocking doesn't stink on every play, does it? Sparano has the authority to say "give Ricky the ball" or "let's try a deep route to Marshall" or when to go for it on fourth and short or when to take 3. They all need to do a better job, or be gone.

I can't believe what I read. Tony Sparano is a good coach but he needs to understand that your job is to rely information to the fan base and point out the good and bad of the team. Instead of being disappointed with you, he needs to look inside his coaching staff. One thing for sure is that Dan Henning WILL NOT be back with this team. He is atrocious at this time and age. One more thing, I understand play execution and play calling are two different things and that plan execution always falls on the players but look at Tom Brady, I bet his players in New England are not perfect but HE STILL EXECUTES! This means that we need to start looking for a NEW QB. I tell you this, go and get Carlson Palmer from the Bengals because as it is right now there are no other QBs good enough in the market. Carlson Palmer needs a fresh start and I think Miami will be the place for him.

Shortly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco President Kennedy said:

"Victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan. Ultimately, I am the responsible officer in charge".

John F. Kennedy had class. More importantly, he understood the situation he was in.

Dan Hennings arrogance is superceded only by his senility!


Den Henning is the Tom Olivadotti of Offence.

God Damn Mando....You truly are the man.

Amen Armando. Speak it loud - speak it clear.. let them hear you.. Henning needs to retire.

One has to pull the log out of their own eye before they should look for splinters in others.

Henning's self examination and adjustments to to the weak areas within the Miami offense would be a great thing. It has not happened yet, at least as a minimum, it has not been 'executed' yet. Coach Henning, you share in that execution. If you keep expecting the offense to perform in a perfect fashion without adjustments in play calling by you, well simply said, you will continue to fail.

WestTN Finfan

Sporano is down on Armando for pointing out some of Hennings obvious shortcomings?

Did he get down on Armando for criticizing the worst two game stretch of Henne's career?

No? Oh so Tony was only concerned about covering his coaches a s s e s?

Hmmmmmmm, Sporano and Hennings are starting to sound like two peas in a pod!

That's a bit unnerving if you ask me!

Bring on Chudzinski!! Henning sucks ass!

Its not all Henning. Execution is a big part of it. The old school mentality is... I can tell you the play but if we block it correctly you can't stop it. Thats what he thinks and expects. We gotta block properly to get to the 2nd level, the RB has to make someone miss to get further. The passing game is different becasue the QB plays such a huge role. Did you throw to the right guy at the right time in the right location. Passing game wise more of it falls on Henne.

Mando, it is what it is, a journalist reports the facts. You have done so, as you well know this blog has discussed everything you mentioned in your column ad nauseum. Based on your own observations, fan base comments and other sources, you are perfectly entitled to compliment, criticize or otherwise. Sparano should be grateful to know how the fans feel, we buy the tickets. Thanks for a job well done!

henne sux

Armando, there is no doubt that Henning is failing the Dolphins as an offensive coordinator. His approach is also concerning. As you mentioned, he seems feel disconnected from the teams failures, and has consistently called out his players for the offenses failures. However, as you've knowledge, aside from Henne, he rarely calls them out by name.

It kind of reminds my of arguments that I have with my wife...

wife: "You never do anything, never do dishes, never clean up, never do laundry"

Me: "Sure i do. All of the time. Just did it the other day."

wife: "OK, so when was the other day. Cause it was not yesterday or the day before or the day before. Be specific when was it?"

Me: "If was the other day. If the dishes, or cloths, or the house never got dirty then I wouldn't have to clean it!"

Successful people take responsibility for their teams and their action (in this case, Henning's playcalling.) People that fail are the ones that fall into the blame game. Well spotted Mando! Keep up the good work.

It seems that Henning is to this offense what Olivadotti was to our defense many years ago!

henning is too old, but bottom line is chad henne can no longer be the qb for the future.


I think you are in the minority with that opinion. That's cool, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

More importantly, who has said Hennings won't be back? Other than all of us disgruntled Henning basher on this blog, where has anyone heard he won't be returning?

Judging by the fact that Sporano is defending him to the press, it seems like business as usual. Judging from recent developments(the last 4 weeks), I'm starting to think Hennings job is secure.

You can pick on Tony, Henning, and Henne, but if your truthful you must also blame the horrible o-line, Brandon Marshall, and Ronnie Brown as well. We have also lost a couple of games because of special teams! Please don't lay all the blame in one place, that would not do justice.


You should be using your unique position to scream loud and long to get rid of Henning, Henne and perhsps Sparano if he does not meke the changes as soon as the season ends. He fired the defensive coordinator last year and this year they are playing will under Nolan. No doubt there is a talented and egergetic offensive coordinator out there that could really help the Dolphins! He might even include Marshall in the game plan.

I've been told by a couple of folks that coach Tony Sparano is "disappointed" with me because I'm holding some of his assistants, such as Henning, responsible for some of the Dolphins struggles this year.

And there you have it fans. This is why Sparano must go right along with this old fossil and Ireland.

He is a Parcell's disciple. You have never heard Parcell admit to doing any wrong. The players play and coaches coach there is no denying that. Schemes and adjustments during games falls 100% on the coaches. Dolphins have failed at that, specially at home. You watch Buffalo come in and give them all they can handle, possibly even beat them. This coaching staff is as stubborned has Parcell. Maybe that explains why they are 7-6 and 1-5 at home. Accept responsability for your end Henning. Hopefully you will retire after this season.


This regime contiues to blame players, players that they signed I might add and NEVER hold themselves accountable.

I like Sparano but this is the final straw...Ross, time to look elsewhere.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the offensive woes. But it's Henning's lack of personal accountability that's disconcerting. It just shows lack of leadership. No team can win without strong leadership. So no wonder the offense is so inconsistent. Players have to be just as frustrated with the play calls as we fans are. But no players will call out Henning publicly for fear of being benched, fined or dropped.


Sparano should be outwardly disappointed with his players and coaches and even himself for being at the bottom of the league in TD's and points scored all year rather than with the local columnist whose job it is to point that out. What a silly attitude for an NFL coach to have. You are what you are and the Dolphins offense is pathetic. There is no way to sugar coat that when you look at their NFL rankings.

Coaching decisions like calling play-action passes with 13 yds rushing in the 4th quarter is head scratching but they also had the chance to sign at least two of the NFL's all time greatest playmakers in Moss and TO as well as other free proven free agents and trade block players (Stallworth/ Holmes) to at least stretch defenses and help the running game but they didn't. I can't see them being #32 instead of #31 if they had.

I tend to think any disappointment which Mr. Ross has is with the team and coaching staff as well, rather than with Mando who gets paid to write about the team. At least I hope that he plans to hold the staff responsible for their underachievement and coaching mediocrity rather than the Miami Herald.

I'm wayyyyyyyyy past the "Henning is holding Henne back - take off Henne's handcuffs" school-of-thought.

Henning's lost it, but Henne ain't got it, and I fully understand now why the staff does not trust Henne.

Let's hope this time next year we're analyzing (realistically) playoff seedings & opponents, W/O either Dan or Chad in the equation.


Sparano has never ducked taking responsibility or being self-critical. Never.

I'm not going to blame him for what comes out of Henning's mouth. Whether you like him as coach or not, that's just unfair.

Armando you captured my sentiment perfectly! the problem has nothing to do with him.

The passing game is different because the QB plays such a huge role. Did you throw to the right guy at the right time in the right location. Passing game wise more of it falls on Henne.

Posted by: Rubedaddy | December 16, 2010 at 02:55 PM

I believe your reasoning is flawed. SOME of it can be put on Henne, but not MORE.

Isn't the running game supposed to compliment the passing game? Doesn't the run game set up the passing game more often than visa versa?

If the O-line and running game are not doing their part, doesn't that in itself hinder the passing game? Add in the ill timed run plays, wildcat and otherwise, then isn't the failures in the run game and the non consequential play calling seriously hindering the passing game?

Henne is struggling right now, there's no doubt about it. But he's not getting any help from the run game nor the offensive coordinator period.

FACT: Henning has proven incapable of making any adjustments to help out his young developing QB. It's inexcusable. At this point, he should just find some other QB to throw under the bus, because in Hennings so called "system" all QB's end up under the bus.

Great job Armando. Looks like Sparano can't see when someone is looking out for the best intrests of the team. Thats too bad. I like Sparano, but he's letting Henning take him down to a few levels. IMO There is no way Henning is staying after this season. Also would like to give a GREAT JOB !!! to the D they were steller, fun to watch. NOLAN for HC 2011 GO PHINS !!!!!

The geezer is simply too proud to admit his "system" has completely failed. Yeah, it's the blocking. That's the issue. Not inserting the wildcat at the most hilariously inappropriate times. Not the consistently handing to ronnie even though he hasn't done anything all year. Start packing your bags, pops. The rest home is calling.

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise. Some of us hoped that Sparano would shake all this Parcells crap off and lead this team.

But it's become painfully obvious he's not going to do it.

Ross, do what must be done.

Sporano needs to worry about his next game and game plan. Not one somone who runs a blog is thinking of his Coaches. Mando has called out plays plenty of times anway.


If Hennings doesn't trust Henne, why didn't he go with Pennington earlier?

Why didn't they go with Thigpen earlier? Why didn't they stick with Thigpen if they couldn't trust Henne?

I personally don't buy the excuse that Hennings doesn't trust Henne when he REPEATEDLY force feeds the wildcat for two plays and then puts him in on 3rd and long. REPEATEDLY, all season long!

Even if it is the case, like I said earlier, this is no way to "help out" your young struggling QB!

Maybe we should have just picked up Jake Delhomme when he was avaliable. Wait, no! Henning has already pretty much destroyed his career-Doh!

Henning left out one thing in his whole, "We have to do this better" analysis. WE HAVE TO CALL BETTER PLAYS!!!

Stop opening potential game winning drives with little time on the clock with a power back off-tackle run. Mix a draw in during the drive if you want, but don't start the drive with a play designed to pick up 5 yards and eat up the clock. You call that play when you're winning and trying to run out the clock. Twice this year Henning did that and twice they lost.

GO SHOTGUN ON 3RD AND LONG!!! It's not rocket science. The QB can see the field better. He can focus on making the throw rather than footwork. It's mindblowing to see Henne under center in 3rd and long situations against a blitz-happy team like the Jets.

It doesn't matter much now. The Phins are out of the playoffs and there will be a new offensive coordinator next year.

Biggest problems in order:

1. This offense is antique & outdated. Simple by design, simple to defend.

2. To overcome #1, you have to call the right plays in the right circumstance. Timing is everything. We call the wrong plays @ the wrong time which stalls momentum

3. We need to run the ball better to set up play action. Running play action plays serves no purpose when you are in a known passing situation. All it does it take the QB's eyes off the play & then everything he saw pre-snap could possibly change. Running that bootleg fake handoff on 3rd & 6 was the reason behind the fumble. Why the F*** are you running play action there? In the rain?

4. Have to pass protect better. Period.

5. Henne needs to try his best to make the best read & get the ball out quick. As his protection has faded, he is trying to dump the ball off before the rush hits him. This happens to all young QB's & even Tom Brady gets snippy when he gets it. We all know we're in max protect allot & there are guys double covered. He has to do his best to unload the ball quicker & more accurately.

Fix 1-4 & #5 could resolve itself.

Have you asked Henning directly which calls he thinks he got wrong? How about the times when they ran the Wildcat and broke Henne's rhythm? Which calls would Henning take back, if he could?

Good call Armando. Somebody has to say it.

Henning's playcalling is way too predictable, and oftentimes bewildering (like calling end-arounds to the WR everytime they get moving up to the opp. 35-40, and getting dropped for a 7-yd loss - then they're out of FG position - two pass plays fail - and punt).

Look, everybody knows Henning is part of the problem. But Sparano doesn't think so. That's the problem that's not going to go away even with aother OC. He likes this kind of offense.

Wake up fans, when Parcells chose the guys, it was for a reason.

Mike Nolan was responsible for the Miami Dolphins winning against the Jets

Dan Henning was responsible for nothing
Ask him, he will tell u that himself lol


As far as I can tell Henning was only responsible for that Fasano TD catch up in Green Bay.

Other than that, it's a mystery.


and Happy Holidays Deer Slayer

First off, I ditto Joe's 4pm post (couldn't have said it better myself).

Second, Mando, F*** Sparano. If the offense wasn't 31st in scoring, you wouldn't be harping on the coaches. And they're big boys. Are they really saying you should talk trash about the 20-something players, but lay off the 60-something coaches? F*** them, keep doing what you're doing.

But you don't need to understand football to understand the Henning situation. All you need to do is have a father over the age of 50. If you do, then you've probably never (unless you have a special dad) heard the man say, "I was wrong," or "I'm wrong," or "my fault," or any derivation of that. I know my dad never has said anything like that. Older men DON'T admit mistakes (generally). Henning believes his experience and understanding of the game and prior success (I guess he's thinking of the 80's Redskins) makes him bulletproof. It can't be him (plus he was asked to come out of retirement, so why would he give a flying f***?).

If you can't get 1 first down in an entire quarter (rain or snow or shine), then there's something horribly wrong (with the personnel, play calling AND coaching). You can't be that bad without a failure on multiple fronts. Next question for Henning should be: in the last 3 years, when was YOUR offense EVER explosive? When have they stunned ANYONE? When have them completed dismantled ANY team?

Henning's silence on all those questions are why the best thing that will happen in 3 weeks will be his 3rd retirement party!

Dear Mr. Salguero

Henning also went on to say.......Hey buddy I don't need any shi t from you !

I've been calling plays since Sporano was crapping in his hands and rubbing it on his head.

Dam sure not gonna take no crap from the likes of you.

Soiled :)

Ithaca, predictable for sure. It's predictable because it looks like Miami is running about 4-5 pass plays & 4-5 run plays a game. Defenses know exactly what to expect when they play Miami.

An opposing defender even commented after a game(don't remember which one) that based on the formation, they knew what routes were being run most of the time. I can TOTALLY believe this.

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