Posted by Ryan Wilson
Chad Henne has started 27 games in two seasons for the Dolphins. He completed more than 60 percent of his throws during that time, but had more interceptions (33) than touchdowns (27), a passer rating of 75.3, and Miami twice went 7-9 and didn't sniff the playoffs.
Henne's inconsistency led the Dolphins to look outside the organization for a starting quarterback, and shortly after the lockout ended, they appeared to have Denver's Kyle Orton in their sites although a deal never materialized. (According to the Denver Post, the Broncos failing to convince Orton to redo his current deal was one of the reasons a trade with Miami fell through.) Instead, Miami traded for Reggie Bush and decided to stick with Henne.
In the weeks since, he has faced the wrath of fans and heard rumors of Brett Favre (they're everywhere, it seems), all while trying remain focused on the task at hand. We asked Dolphins great, Hall of Famer and CBS NFL analyst Dan Marino about the Orton rumors, the Bush trade and if Henne can win in Miami.
"As a team, your responsibility is to look and see if you can improve your team in all areas," Marino told CBSSports.com. "I guess [the Dolphins] felt at the time that Kyle Orton -- if they could trade for him at the right number -- might be an improvement [over Henne]. …
"Chad Henne did not have a good year last year but I still think he has the talent to be a good NFL quarterback. It's just a matter of time as far as continuing to put people around him. I think Reggie Bush is going to be a great addition because he's got that big-play ability. One thing it looked like the Dolphins didn't have last year was that quick-strike where they're getting 20 or 30-yard chunks. That's one of the things they've been missing and so far, [Bush] has looked pretty good. And if he stays healthy he can add a lot."
This came up on a recent Pick-6 podcast, although we though Orton would improve the Dolphins' offense more than both Henne and Bush (but as we found out above, the Broncos weren't moving Orton given his current contract).
|Henne, Bush and the '11 Fins|
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco writes that it's not all on Henne, though. Miami's offense should be more dynamic because offensive coordinator Dan Henning retired. "I think we will take a lot more chances down the field," quarterback Henne told Prisco earlier this week. "The opportunities for big plays will be there."
They're going to have to be for head coach Tony Sparano to keep his job. The team strung him along early this offseason before eventually signing him to a new contract, but that doesn't mean he's escaped hot seat. As far back as January, team owner Stephen Ross made it clear that the offense the Dolphins put on the field in 2010 wouldn't fly in 2011.
"I've told Tony that to me, I want an aggressive, creative [offense] not playing just to keep it close, where people really are a little more unpredictable," Ross said at the time.
Sparano got the message. Earlier this week, he admitted to Yahoo.com's Jason Cole that conservative play-calling is a thing of the past.
“The people that I worked for before, [low-risk play-calling is] how they approached it,” Sparano said, in a clear reference to Sparano’s former boss in Miami and Dallas, Bill Parcells. “Nevertheless, this game has really changed and it has really changed in our division. If you don’t score points in our division, you’re going to have a hard time winning football games. So we have to do a better job of generating big plays, generating more scores and even though we feel like we have one of the best defenses in the league, we’d like them to play a little less.”
And that's where Bush comes in. "If he gets a little space, he's dangerous," Sparano told Prisco. "As far as doubles, you have to pick your poison with us right now."
Now it's up to Henne to take advantage of his new weapon.
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