This article is a direct response to Tim Graham's article on ESPN.com.
I am completely aware of the hype about Chad Henne this year. I think that he can be the franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. I also believe Miami has a legitimate shot at winning the AFC East this season.
If Henne Is Over-Hyped, So Is Mark Sanchez
In Graham's article about Chad Henne and Stephen Ross having too much hype, he states, "Dolfans seem to be going a little gaga over Henne."
Graham probably won't read this, but I will direct this next comment directly at him.
Wouldn't you be hyped if your quarterback, who had never started an NFL game in his life, went 7-6 in his first year of starting?
Granted, Henne started out 7-3 as a starter, before Miami dropped their final three games of the season. With Henne as a first year starter, he brought Miami back to .500 after an 0-3 start. He had them pushing for a playoff spot in his first season.
After Ronnie Brown was injured, Miami no longer had the Ronnie and Ricky Express. Yes, Ricky Williams filled in brilliantly for Brown, but Brown's ability to catch passes out of the backfield was missed.
Patrick Cobbs was also injured, taking away a player who did everything from gunner on special teams to third down back, even lining up at receiver.
Henne was also throwing to Ted Ginn Jr., Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, Greg Camarillo, Anthony Fasano, and Joey Haynos.
Why do I mention this? Mark Sanchez had Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, David Clowney, and Dustin Keller to throw to, while throwing 20 interceptions.
Uh oh, somebody took a stab at Sanchez. Where is ESPN to hold his hand now?
In 15 games started, Sanchez threw as many touchdown passes as Henne did in 13.
Henne had a 75.2 quarterback rating while Sanchez had a quarterback rating of 63.
Henne also threw for 434 yards more than Sanchez in two fewer games started.
Henne had a completion percentage of 60.8 while Sanchez had a completion percentage of 53.8.
Of Henne's 13 starts, he had four games where he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns, four games where his touchdown total equaled his interception total, and five games where he threw more touchdowns than interceptions.
Of Sanchez's 15 starts, he had six games where he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns, three where his touchdown total equaled his interception total, and six games where he threw for more touchdowns than interceptions.
Sanchez was backed by the first ranked defense, while Miami had the 22nd ranked defense.
Sanchez also had the top rated run game, gaining 172 yards a game. Henne's run game totaled 139 per game. Both were rated in the top five.
In Chad Henne's final three games (0-3), the Dolphins defense gave up an alarming 84 points. That 84 points is nearly a quarter of the points Miami gave up the entire season.
In those three games, Henne threw the ball 121 times, which was 68% of the throws Mark Sanchez made the entire 2009 season.
Fighting back from behind, which Henne did multiple times during 2009, is hard to do with a receiving corps suited for Chad Pennington.
Henne came into an offense that was very vanilla due to the inability of Chad Pennington to stretch the field. In 2010, Henne will get his first shot at the offense geared to his strengths.
In Sanchez's final 2 games he played a Colts team that rested starters after half-time, and a Bengals team that they would face in the first round of the playoffs, so the game didn't matter for Cincinnati.
In those final 2 games Sanchez attempted 35 passes; His team ran for 459 yards; His defense allowed 15 points.
Put any NFL quarterback into the situation Sanchez was put into and the failure rate is extremely minuscule. Henne was let down by his defense during their three game losing streak to end the season.
Graham also posted this in his article: "Henne has a bright future ahead of him, but I don't know if Dolphins supporters are doing him or themselves any favors by ratcheting the expectations for a player with 13 starts, 12 touchdown passes, and 14 interceptions in his career."
Tim, I'll throw this at you as well: How isn't Sanchez affected by everyone and their mother making the Jets paper champions? That is, they are the best team on paper, before any games are played.
On paper the Jets might look like one hell of a team, and I am not doubting they are. However, teams in the past have shown that immense free agent spending do nothing but disappoint.
Miami in the early 2000s was supposed to make a run at the Super Bowl when their team of high caliber free agents flopped.
The Washington Redskins have also learned this the hard way.
I am not crowning Miami over the Jets before any games are played, but Miami is building their team the right way, through the draft, getting guys they need. The Jets are making blockbuster deals, and while it may look superb on paper, history has shown that kind of team will most likely not hoist up the Lombardi Trophy.
I am also not saying that Henne is much better than Sanchez. Henne did better with less, while Sanchez rode his defense and running game into the playoffs.
If you are going to say that Henne is being over-hyped, you also need to say that Sanchez is being over-hyped.
Stephen Ross is not saying that Miami is going to the Super Bowl mainly because of Henne, just like the Jets are not going to the Super Bowl based solely on Sanchez.
Miami has made many solid additions, and have a ton of competition to even get an idea of what their depth chart will look like.
Miami has some of the best depth I have seen them have in years, especially at defensive line and inside linebacker.
With Marshall, Henne's production should increase a lot, as well as the production of the run game.
If Miami doesn't make a push this year, they will next year or the year after.
This young roster is very talented, and mature, despite the inexperience.
Every year that passes for this Dolphins team is another year that they get to gel together, another year they get closer to their imminent Super Bowl.
The first decade of the 2000's is behind them. This is a new decade for football.