There, I've said it. Agree or disagree with me all you want, but Chad Henne took much more blame than he deserved this past season.
I have watched every pass Chad Henne threw this year, and yes, he absolutely has a lot to work on, BUT, he has made a lot of progress that we don't give him credit for because we want wins right now and we don't want to see any mistakes in the process.
I have been on the anti-Chad Henne bandwagon following the Miami Dolphins loss to Cleveland, and it sure didn't help that they ended up losing three out of the next four after that.
What I didn't take into account, and what I really didn't study during the season was how much he had improved. My impression was that he regressed as the season went on, but I was wrong. He improved in a lot of important categories. Here is a little list of some of those:
-He got A LOT better at checking down from his primary receiver and finding another receiver, and he also didn't stare his receivers down nearly as much.
-He went from scrambling as soon as he saw a defender within five feet of him to staying poised in the pocket and looking to deliver the ball instead (for the most part). A lot of times he would scramble way too soon and end up being sacked any way.
-Most importantly, he learned to throw the ball away instead of trying to force it in there. That is something that I know was very important to Bill Parcells and Henne finally seemed to realize it. He still forced it later in the season, but not nearly as much.
Chad Henne has a drive to win. He is an extremely hard worker, and I feel like that is taken for granted. If he didn't work so hard, he would have never been able to improve so much.
Henne had more pressure on his shoulders than any second year starter should have to worry about. His running game was inadequate, the man calling his plays was inadequate, and his owner put unnecessarily high expectations on him. It was too much to ask from such a young and inexperienced quarterback.
Yes, Henne does have a bunch of things he needs to work on. Things like throwing the ball ahead of his receiver instead of behind, throwing better deep balls with better touch, learning to anticipate better instead of waiting to throw until he actually sees a receiver open for a second or two, and just plain playing better once he gets into enemy territory.
He will improve on those things, though. He was able to progress a lot last season, so he will be able to next season as well. I am confident that he will be much better next season, and that goes for the entire Miami Dolphins offense.
When the Dolphins had a terrible defense in the 2008-2009 season they were able to go in the draft and free agency and completely turn it around. Why can't they do the same thing again this year with the offense? We joke around a lot about Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano's incompetence, and while they do make some pretty boneheaded mistakes they have shown that they can turn things around and they do know football really well.
Back to Henne, though. I believe that he deserves at least two games next season to show us what he's got, UNLESS Kyle Orton comes in. Of all the quarterbacks available to the Dolphins, Orton is the only one that I would want to start over Henne immediately. Anyone else, and I would like Henne to get at least two games to show us that he is still improving.
Thank you guys for reading, and I would like to end this with some random notes and things that I noticed while watching the game. They are mostly about Henne, but not all about him. They are in no particular order. I just wrote them down as I thought of them.
-Chad Henne and Anthony Fasano have a surprisingly good connection. I always thought that Henne's inaccuracy was the reason that Fasano's numbers have dropped, but it is actually because he doesn't target Fasano enough. If Henne learns to really use Fasano, we could see Fasano return to top TE status like three seasons ago with Chad Pennington.
-Brian Hartline had a surprising number of mistakes. Many more than I had originally thought. He almost always followed a mistake of his with a great play, though.
-I also think that Hartline likes Chad Henne the least of all of the Dolphins receivers. Don't go quoting me on this because I cannot be positive, but I just don't see any connection between the two and I feel like Hartline would get the angriest at Henne. He didn't express his anger like Marshall, but I think it is there. ONCE AGAIN, I can't be positive about this. It is just a feeling I got while watching him. I don't even want you guys to believe me on this one until you hear it somewhere else because it is simply a hunch.
-The wildcat is an absolute momentum killer. We talked about this during the season, and I have to bring it up again. Dan Henning just didn't know when to call it. Henne would be on a roll getting a few first downs, and then all of the sudden the wildcat would come in and stall the drive. Hopefully Brian Daboll will know when to call it if the Dolphins try it at all next season.
-Jake Long really is a beast at LT. There has been a lot of talk about him recently because he was the highest ranked LT in a NFL Network players poll, and he really deserves that honor. I truly hope he stays a Dolphin for life.
-Ronnie Brown did a lot better than we give him credit for. Defenses put a target on him, and they made sure he didn't get anywhere with the ball. It's too bad we probably won't see him here again next year.
-I think that the Dolphins need to keep Richie Incognito at the guard spot and put Mike Pouncey at center. He wasn't as good of a center as I thought, especially when it came to snapping the ball from shotgun.
-Tyler Thigpen isn't as good as I had thought. I still think he deserves a chance to compete for the starting job, but I highly doubt he would ever win it.