With playoff hopes quickly fading away, the Miami Dolphins need to begin clearly charting Chad Henne's good points and his bad points. Against the Tennessee Titans today, for all Henne's grit and yards passed, he was not what the Dolphins need under center, unless you're the type that likes look away from the screen during a crucial play.
No, this was not Henne's day. His career high 349-yard passing yards were marred by three costly interceptions, including the one in overtime that sealed the game for the Titans. In addition, that stat was padded by a game-high 57-yard strike to Brian Hartline that could've and should've been picked off, so perhaps a more telling number is 292-yards. True, it would not have amounted to four picks, because the game would not have gone to overtime, but the facts speak for themselves: Chad Henne has raw talent, but really needs more time to grow.
Several of Henne's passes today were bullets when they needed to be gentle lobs, and other times he threw lobs that resulted in mistakes. The interception by Titan's Safety Chris Hope on a pass intended for Rickey Williams comes to mind as a good example for the latter.
So what were Chad Henne's bright points?
With a paltry 66.3 quarterback rating, not many. And yes, he kept his cool and brought back Miami when they were down by 18 points late in the game. But a big part of the reason they were down was because of him. Two of his interceptions came while they were driving in Titan territory, which would have led to points. The other time they got down deep, Ricky Williams fumbled it on a direct snap.
The most worrying aspect of today's game was Henne's inability to get the Dolphins in the end zone. The logical thing is that after beefing up their line the past few seasons, having two top flight running backs (albeit one is on IR), and one truck-load of a fullback in Lousaka Polite, the only thing they need is a big time wide receiver that can be counted on to make the big play.
But is it?
The Dolphins wide receivers, while young, can make catches at times. So maybe the issue is that there's too much pressure on Henne. After dramatically tying the game today and winning the coin toss in overtime, it seemed that Coach Tony Sparano and company forgot that they already tied the game. Following the opening kickoff of the extra period, they threw three times. Why not run the ball and be the physical team that they are?
True, we know Henne likes the pressure. After beating the New England Patriots at home, Henne said, "If you want to, we can throw all day. I love it. Put it in my hands. Put the pressure situations upon me. I really thrive on that." However, maybe the issue is that Dolphin fans—including myself—are expecting too much out of the kid from Michigan and, even worse, the coaching staff is putting too much faith in him for now.
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