There is Hope for Chad Henne

Why can some QBs get the ball in the endzone while others cannot? Many folks have been saying coaching is Chad Henne’s issue. I don't agree, but there is a small chance Henne could fix his redzone issues. Many times QBs sit behind a guy who has already learned the secrets, Aaron Rodgers is a good example, but Henne must figure it out on his own.

It is critically important for football teams, at any level, to keep the QB pipeline full. QBs learn more from watching the guy in front of them because coaching cannot prepare them for live bullets. Keeping the pipeline full is the reason Don Shula drafted a QB every year. Since Shula, the Miami Dolphins have not followed this mantra and the results are indicative of their struggles at QB.

The hardest thing for QBs to learn is to slow down in critical situations. Many times phantom pressure is a product of wanting to make too much happen or a mandate to run the exact play. I see this with Chad Henne, while being stoic off the field; he plays with rigid emotion on it. He locks on to play calls and does not allow the game to dictate his options. I believe Dan Henning stunted his growth by eliminating audibles as part of the offense. Henne is far behind this critical learning curve.

QBs who understand every aspect of the play know, sometimes the primary guy is not going to be there and they have to improvise. This does not necessarily mean running around and creating chaos, it means creating time in the framework of the play. Near the endzone it means finding a guy who is close to an open space and throwing him open. To do that, a QB must abandon the exact play, not force the ball to a spot, but rather throw the ball to an opening near a receiver.

Chad Henne must make this leap… I personally don’t think Henne is stupid, but I do believe he has problems controlling his emotions at critical times. A coach has a hard time instilling this “cool hand Luke” into the player, but watching and learning from a guy who has been there, does. Chad Pennington didn’t get that done with Henne and I think it was because Pennington didn’t want to teach as much as he wanted to play.

In my opinion, to resurrect the Dolphins this season, Chad Henne has to start looking outside the play call and start looking to throw his receivers open. He has to gain control of the emotions that lead him to throw uncatchable passes when a nice little flip would do the trick.

If Henne understands this issue and looks at open spaces instead of rigid play calling, he could turn the Dolphins’ season around. To get there comes from learning and consistency, not just on Henne’s part but also on the offense as a whole. Coaches like McCarthy, Reid and Belichick have established systems and their QBs along with the rest of the offense had the opportunity to grow and know their assignments. Ocho-Cinco is an example of new players not fitting in when they do not understand the nuances of the offense.

The Dolphins have not had the consistency and success that comes from longevity in a system. If Henne and the offense are still learning, it is hard to get to the next level. Henne must throw to an open spot as the field shortens and demands improvisation. This is what they mean when they say, “the game slows down.” When a single step in the pocket buys time, or leads to a sack.

Can Henne do it? I have serious doubts, but if he understands his weakness, he has the opportunity to fix it.