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... and the curious case of Chad Henne

Still puzzled. Today, what to make of Chad Henne.

He has improved. No question about that. He is more aggressive. He looks to make the downfield throw a lot more. He moves his team from 20-yard line to 20-yard line like the dickens. He's completing 56.5 percent of his passes, which is lower than last year, but he has four touchdowns and three interceptions which is a better stat than his upside down more-intercepts-than-TDs ratio of the past two seasons.

So that's good.

But there is something missing. Still.

He's still not very good on third down.

His passer rating on third down is 69.6, which is 13 points lower than his overall rating. He completes only 53 percent of his passes on third down. And he's ranked 21st in the NFL on third-down passing. This stat is important because big-time NFL QBs make their money on third down. That's why it's called the money down.

It was eye-opening to see young, unproven Colt McCoy lead his team to a winning TD late last week and Henne not be able to move his team 15 or 20 yards for a responding and winning field goal. That all came in the fourth quarter.

Henne has been bad in the fourth quarter as well this year. He is the 31st-ranked (of 33 players) fourth-quarter passer this season. His fourth-quarter passer rating is atrocious at 48.7. By comparison, the Dolphins defense this weekend faces the top-ranked fourth-quarter passer in Phillip Rivers of San Diego. His fourth-quarter rating is 136.4

Henne so far is completing fewer than half his fourth quarter passes. His completion percentage is 42.9. That is the worst in the NFL.

So while Henne has improved from last year, he has a long way to go yet. And, it should be considered, every statistical category you look at with him, indeed, every stat you study for the Dolphins offense must be done with this in mind:

The Dolphins opened the season against a team whose defense is the worst in the NFL right now. That's right, the Patriots have gotten lit by everyone on defense this year and are ranked No. 32 in that category this year.

Anyway, this is a full text of Henne's meeting with the media this week:

(On Brian Hartline’s progression this season) - “Yeah, I thought Brian (Hartline) stepped up big. In the previous game, he hasn’t got a lot of balls because we had some one-on-one coverages with other guys and they were first in the progression, but now teams are starting to take away some of our receivers away. Brian has done a great job one-on-one and I feel confident going to him if we have that matchup."

(On practicing toe-tapping catches on the sideline and back shoulder throws) - “Yeah, the back shoulder throws has evolved. I think every team works it in practice, one-on-one routes. Quarterbacks are becoming a custom to it and receivers are doing a great job adjusting, but Brian (Hartline), his toe-touch and his way to stay in bounds is just amazing. He does it in practice a lot, goes against our defense one-on-one and it shows in practice he gets it done and carries over."

(On Brian Hartline’s ability to run after the catch) - “Yeah, I think he’s quick in transition when he gets the ball. He tucks it under and looks to get yards up field quick, he’s done a really good job with that."

(On Reggie Bush not receiving many catches lately) - “Well, I mean, sometime they’re bring some pressure where he has to stand and protect and other times, he’s out there, but we’re completing balls down the field. We’re looking to complete balls down field first, not the underneath routes. If it comes a case where we have a matchup out there and I need to come down to Reggie (Bush), I’ll come down to him."

(On Reggie Bush not receiving many catches due to Daniel Thomas catching good as well)- “Well, I mean, we’re switching them in and out. We’re giving them a good mix and whoever is in on that play, we will see who will get the ball, but nobody’s going to tell. We’re trying to look down field and make big plays, if not, we’ll get it down to those guys."

(On not having red zone success psychological or execution) - “It’s all about execution, I mean, we have the plays…whether we need to study more in there or more things down there, but we just got to execute. Execute our game plan. If it’s there, take it, we got to be aggressive down there and make plays and if it’s not, it’s not much we can do. We can run the ball, throw the ball, we just got to go down there, be confident in ourselves, and make the plays."

(On Brandon Marshall being frustrated and getting the better of him) - “No, I think sometimes he gets frustrated because they’re double covering him, he feels they’re holding him, but Brandon (Marshall) has done a great job. It’s his attitude towards our team and on the field so we’re going to keep going to him and give him a shot."

(On Daniel Thomas change from the preseason to the regular season) - “I think it’s confidence and just understanding our offense in the running game. Just understanding where the blocks are going to be, where the holes are going to open up and he’s definitely confident where he’s running, how he is running so he’s done a really good job trying to get the extra yards for us."

(On what stands out regarding Daniel Thomas) - “I mean, he’s a powerful back. He’s slapped together, he’s a pretty muscular guy so he’s going to get the extra yards for us. It’s fun to watch when he runs."

(On what you can do to rally the team after being 0-3) - “I mean, enthusiasm in practice, try to get the guys going, not feeling down on ourselves, try to keep a positive attitude as much as we can, look them in the face and say hey, I’m confident, I’m confident in them. We have the players, we have everybody in the situation, we just got to go out there and do it, all of us, believe it, do it in practice, prepare well in the film room, do the extra things. We got to go, we can’t make excuses, can’t point fingers. We just got to be a team, come together, and play."

(On facing a 0-3 deficit in the past) - “I mean, I think you can, but it’s different faces here so a lot of guys haven’t been through it and some guys have. I think it just comes back as coming as a team, playing well, executing on Sunday when our number is called. If it’s 49 or 45 seconds left in the game and the offense is out there on the field, we need to make the plays and score the touchdown.”

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