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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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When we look at his (Henne's) career in hindsight, it will be a vision of that of a back up. He may end up being a serviceable starter at times but his value will be to a team with championship aspirations and the need for a quality back up. That's it. He isn't a top half or top ten to fifteen type qb. Great qb's can have a bad 3 quarters and rise to the occasion in the fourth quarter and lead his team to victory. Henne shrinks in those situations. Parcels had a saying that if they don't bite as pups they never will. I'm afraid Henne has no fangs folks. Next year will be year one of a new era. Thank God!!

Posted by: jrljr2 | October 01, 2011 at 12:06 PM


Not to be a Homer, but seriously you have no way of knowing any of this. You can have your opinions and that's all fine and dandy. But mostly and mainly, you're just blowing off Phin Fan frustrations. It's understandable, all things considered.

As far as Parcell's, please don't put any stock in anything he has to say as far as player evalutions go. In doing so, you make yourself look bad by proxy. Parcells as a talent evaluator? Please, the guy is a wanna be theif. He couldn't "BUILD" a team to save his life! Great game day Coach(about a hundred and fifty years ago), but THAT'S IT!

According to yours and Parcells philosophy of Pups not biting, Brees never makes it in the NFL, let alone wins a Super Bowl. Also it's kind of ironic that you quote Parcell's in regards to Henne, ah, after all, he used his second overall pick here on him. Validates my point on him beautifully one way or the other.

On the other side of the coin, how many here, possibly and probably you too, were POSITIVE Brady Quinn was the ULTIMATE ANSWER to ALL of our problems?

The fact is, all quarterbacks develop at different rates. All subject to teams, circumstances, Coaches, etc, etc, for good or bad. Some faster than others, some more complete than others.

Henne is developing painfully slow, but he is learning his lessons well. And if your honest with yourself and in all fairness, coming into the league under Hennings and the Wildcat didn't help matters whatsoever.

Henne may never be elite, but there's no possible way you can know that at this time. The fact is, he came so far in such a short period under Daboll, that you almost wouldn't recognize him compared to "Hennings" Henne!

Farve was elite and it never got him anything except when he had a supporting cast. The same is blatantly obvious in Brees case. Raplesbeger, Young, Montana, the list goes on. Even elite QB's have to have receivers that can catch the ball, defenses that can pull the arse out of the fire. Every Blue Moon you have an exception like Manning and or Marino. And even in Marino's case, he never did win the big one.

So, while you have no realistic or possible way of knowing if Henne will ever be elite, I do know for a FACT, that with even the slightest bit of a supporting cast, Henne can win in the NFL. Thus far this year is obviously ample proof of this. At least to most of those with any real football knowledge.

You can split hairs, make strawman arguments and use physics to prove elephants can hang over cliffs from dandelions! But, this year our 0-3 isn't as far from 3-0 as it seems.

I'm not talking shoulda's, woulda, coulda's either. If our defense shows up at all week one, 1-0. If Marshall makes the catches that Andre and Calvin Johnson makes on a routine basis or even Carpenter makes some chip shots that EVEN I COULD make, 2-0! The defense doesn't shoot itself in the foot repeatedly in Cleveland or Henne makes ONE MORE play late, 3-0.

I like Henne myself and hopes he takes the next step of his evolution and "CARRIES" this team to some victories, because it looks like that's the ONLY way we get any with this supporting cast.

There is plenty of blame to spread around for 0-3. Still think Henne has a problem with big moments and doesn't inspire supporting cast. Pennington, for example, had similar caliber talent but was able to get that last drive to win and elevate the attitude and performance of his team. We don't get that same spark from Henne, despite his unquestionable talent.

The most popular guy in football is always the number two QB. But reality Henne is doing well, improving, and gives the Dolphins the best chance to win. As for the 'suck for luck' garbage, it's ridiculous on several levels. 1. No QB guarantees from college to NFL. Tottered, Flutie, Plunket, Todd Blackledge, Rex Grossman, Joey Harrington...all top QB prospects out of college, that struggled mightily. Heck, Henne was a four year starter at UM and was high prospect. 2. Favre was unproductive in Atlanta before greatness at GB, Dilfer was ran out of Tampa, before winning a SB in Baltimore, Grossman and Jon Beck were not fantastic with Chicago and Miami before being competitive as Redskin starters, Breese was pushed our of SD being great in NO, Culter pushed out of Denver to become chicagos guy, and lastly Plunket was horrible for SF and NE before he won SB as a Raider. 3. Tom Brady was a sixth round pick, 4. The crazy fans emotionalism won't get better with multiple rebuilding years of the new wonder coach that will surely come. 5. The theory did not work after 2-14 or 1-15......errrr or Waite it did with the greatest single season turn around in league history with Sparano going 11-5.
Perhaps we cheer and be supportive, perhaps they line and RBs keep Henne from getting crushed so often. He is tied with wonder boy Fitzpatrick in yardage, inspire of being hit so much, he has more yards rushing than "dream team" Michael Vick......look for good, the wins will come, Phins Up !

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