NEW ORLEANS -- My question to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was simple and direct: "You would be comfortable if in the season-opener at home, Chad Henne would be your quarterback in 2011?"
"We're going to have the best team we can put on the field," Ross said. "I don't know what's going to happen but he'll be competing with someone. You know that. So if he's the best guy we can find to put in that position and he's demonstrated that, then I have no problem with that."
So what does that mean? It's not exactly a strong endorsement of Henne but it is more an endorsement of competition. Ross seems fine with the idea that if Henne survives a strong competition, then he should start for Miami.
I'd agree with that -- as long as the Dolphins bring in a player that truly has a legitimate chance to beat out Henne. And now, Tyler Thigpen is not that guy. He would not be given a great chance to beat out Henne. A quarterback with NFL experience as a starter, a guy whose won and been to the playoffs would be that guy.
I remind you what I reported about Miami's potential interest in Carson Palmer should he become available this offseason.
It is clear Ross loves Henne as a guy. The owner is a Michigan man. Henne is a Michigan man. But I remind you what Ross is saying about Henne now is much different, indeed, staggered from a confidence standpoint, from what he said a year ago.
A year ago, Ross was saying he had hopes Henne could become the next Dan Marino. Now?
"Chad Henne, you talk to people that really look at him, he has a lot of great skills. He has to continue to improve. He made some improvement in other areas. People are unhappy with some of the others. But I think he has the skills. It's unfortunate that a lockout like this doesn't help in working with him. But I'm optimistic that he'll have the capability to really take us."
Take them where?
Ross never finished the sentence ....
Ross has a much more clear vision for what he wants from the Miami offense.
"What we want to do is be improved over what we were last year. I think everybody wants to see improvement. And you have to look at every position. We have to be improved. The player improves or we bring somebody else in. It's about competition. And certainly you have to put more points on the board."