Many of you that believe in Chad Henne have often drawn a favorable comparison between him and Drew Brees.
Brees, you often point out, was not a good quarterback his first three years in the NFL. The turth of the matter is if you look at Brees the first three years of his career and you look at Henne his first three years, and the similarities are obvious.
Brees didn't play much his rookie season. Brees didn't play much his rookie season. Both started as second-year players and suffered the typical struggles young quarterbacks often encounter. And then both seemed to regress their second seasons as the starter.
When you compare their two years starting, Brees had 28 TD passes and 31 interceptions. Henne has had 27 TD passes and 33 interceptions. And Henne's completion percentage is higher and he's thrown for more yards.
So, some of you have argued, it is entirely possible Henne follows the same path Brees followed.
And I hope you are correct.
You cannot write a warranty for that idea. So I suggest we carry the comparison further.
If you want to compare the quarterbacks as possible twins, I suggest the Dolphins follow the road the Chargers followed.
After those first three years with Brees, the Chargers had no idea he could be their QB. But they knew they had to guard themselves against the idea Brees wouldn't ever be much good. So in April of 2004, with Brees on the roster, the Chargers did what the Dolphins should do in this coming draft.
They drafted a quarterback.
The Chargers took Phillip Rivers with their first overall pick. It was brilliant. Rivers was not able to beat out Brees as the starter in 2004. The fact is Brees finally started coming into his own. But the insurance policy was nonetheless in place. (Actually, the Chargers picked Eli Manning and then traded him for a chance to land Rivers, but you get the drift. They got Phillip Rivers.)
It was a great piece of personnel work by A.J. Smith.
He didn't need Rivers right away because Brees finally started producing. But no one looked at him crossways and questioned why he protected the franchise's best interest by adding a highly touted rookie QB.
Brees went on to play well in 2004 and 2005 but he injured his shoulder at the end of 2005. Smith, as uncertain about the injury just as the Dolphins were, opted to give Brees a carefully crafted contract offer that protected the team against that injury being serious. Brees declined it and went on the market and eventually signed with New Orleans.
And the Chargers handed the reins of their offense to a QB who had been sitting and learning for two years. Rivers was an instant hit and has been among the NFL's best QBs ever since.
What's the moral of the story?
Yes, maybe the Dolphins need to have patience with Henne because he could blossom into a latter-day Brees. But, absolutely, they also need to have the wisdom to guard against that not happening.
Just like the San Diego Chargers did.